Last Updated on July 6, 2020

List of small business ideas in Malaysia

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According to the World Bank, Malaysia’s economy is looking forward to bouncing back to come in 2021. This is despite the previous year’s economic decline and this year’s global pandemic. In fact, in the first quarter of this year, Malaysia beat its expectations when it comes to growth. Thus, if you’re wondering if it’s a good thing to put up a business ideas now in Malaysia – well…it is. Despite the global pandemic, Malaysia expects to see better economic growth than the past years.

Putting up a profitable business in Malaysia isn’t as simple as finding a product to sell.

It might be one of the earliest steps, but it’s just a tip on the iceberg.

When setting up a business, lots of factors come into play like capital, location, etc.

Consider all these things before opening your business.

Now, if you have no clue what business to start, here are some of the most profitable business ideas in Malaysia.

What business should I start in Malaysia?

A starting business should always require thoughtful planning and research.

Never go into a venture just because you have the money and want to start right away.

That is setting you up for a big financial disaster.

Take care of your hard-earned money by making yourself informed and educated.

For a starting business, you need to make sure you’re not going all out with your capital.

The general rule is to start small.

That way, if you lose, you won’t lose big.

Risk is always there when you open up your business.

Thus, you need to do all you can to minimize it as much as possible.

Small investment business in Malaysia

A small investment business requires the least amount of capital.

The good thing about small businesses is you can expand it once you’ve become established and generated regular income.


Starting small is just a strategy most entrepreneurs use if they lack funding but want to begin as soon as possible.

If you’re looking for a profitable business idea, take a look at some of these small business ideas in Malaysia.

Examples of small business in Malaysia:

Flower shop business

A floral shop is one of the best small business ideas in Malaysia.

They typically don’t require huge capital at the beginning.

Furthermore, they’re relatively easier to set up compared to other small businesses.

If you know a thing or two about the floral arrangement, the better, if you don’t, you can always learn it or ask someone else’s help.

On another note, you can hire a professional florist if you want to.

To boost your sales and get your shop’s name out there, you can go online.

Lots of flower shop businesses have turned to social media to promote their products.

Moreover, they also accept online orders and delivery.

This strategy has helped plenty of floral shop businesses to come out strong despite competition.

Cleaning business

The demand for cleaning businesses has increased throughout the years, good business ideas in Malaysia.

As people get busier, they lose time for performing mundane tasks such as cleaning.

Nowadays, people in Malaysia are seeking convenience.

Thus, a cleaning business that will do all the dirty work for them is just a dream.

As a starting business, you could do the job yourself.

Eventually, you could hire other people to do the job, and just act as the employer.

It all depends on your skills and preferences.

There are apps where you can enlist yourself as a cleaner.

However, if you want to build your business, you can do so.

Your cleaning business doesn’t have to big during its early days.

Furthermore, people in Malaysia are willing to pay a lot for professional cleaners.

Thus, it may not take a while before you get your return on investment or ROI.

Car wash business

Conducted research back in 2014 states that Malaysia is the third highest in the world when it comes to car ownership.

There is no doubt that many people in Malaysia own cars.

It has become quite a necessity for most people.

Thus, businesses that do service for cars are considered profitable.

Despite the high number of car ownership in Malaysia, not a lot of people have tapped this business opportunity.

This might be your advantage.

Laundry shop

Starting a laundry business in Malaysia is especially suitable nowadays.

Houses in Malaysia, especially ones in the busy cities, are becoming smaller and smaller.

Not many people prioritize having a washer and dryer in their homes.

Their resort is to bring their clothes to the laundromat instead.

In a laundry shop, you won’t have to do much.

A self-service laundry shop is ideal if you don’t want to hire many employees, if at all.

Because it’s the customers who will load their laundry, all you have to manage is the cashier.

On top of that, you have to make sure everything’s functioning well before and after operating hours.

However, in terms of conducting the services themselves, the washing machines and driers will do that for you.

Payment solutions business

People in Malaysia still use cash for their transactions all the time.

Although credit cards have become popular in the past years, most people in Malaysia still prefer using cash.

Thus, you could use this to your advantage.

If you have no idea what product to sell, this is the best business you can put up.

A payment solutions business receives payment for various companies.

This includes utilities such as electricity, water, internet connection, etc.

Moreover, it also includes other cash transfers or payments.

Most of these businesses also do money exchange.

That could be something to consider, as well.

Cellphone and gadget repair shop

Virtually everyone in Malaysia has a cellphone or some sort of gadget.

Thus, your target market is everyone if you open a repair shop.

Although the fast-paced technology culture’s norm is to replace gadgets when they get broken, most people in Malaysia still prefer saving money by going for repairs.

Apart from a repair shop, you can also expand your business in Malaysia to selling gadgets and accessories.

If you plan on renting a place for your business, it’s a good way to generate more income.

You can sell cellphones, tablets, smartwatches, and other gadgets.

Furthermore, you can also sell phone cases, Wi-Fi routers, phone screen protectors, etc.

The possibility is endless because technology is constantly evolving.

This is an excellent business idea in Malaysia if you have the knowledge and skills in cellphone repair.

However, you can still certainly open the business if you don’t.

You can hire a repairer to work for you.

Pet store or vet clinic

If you’re a pet lover, pet stores are indeed fun to put up in Malaysia.

Nowadays, pet parents spend a lot of money on their pets.

This ranges from pet food, treats, shampoo, brush, lotions, medicines, etc.

Pet products manufacturing generates billions of income annually worldwide.

You don’t have to be an animal doctor to put up a pet store.

You can focus on selling animal care products.

Meanwhile, if you’re already a veterinarian or know someone who is, it could be an excellent business venture in Malaysia.

On another note, you can start a pet sitting or dog walking business.

This shouldn’t take much of your time.

You can even do it as a side-hustle.

Furthermore, it doesn’t require any capital money.

Lots of pet parents in Malaysia are looking for people to watch over their pets while they are away.

Fashion store

Fashion stores are a good starting business in Malaysia if you’re just a newbie.

The list of products you can sell is virtually endless.

You can begin by selling clothes and shoes and maybe later expand to accessories as you grow your business.

You also have the option to expand your business online to reach more customers.

Plenty of entrepreneurs in Malaysia are turning to social media sites to sell their fashion items.

T-shirt printing business

A T-shirt printing business is a common starting business for young people in Malaysia.

It’s also a favorite amongst those who haven’t tried had any business opportunities in the past.

An advantage of a T-shirt printing business in Malaysia is it’s made-to-order.

Thus, you won’t have to create the product if there is no demand for it.

However, most businesses sell their line of shirts.

It’s great if you are good at creating designs.

You could print them on shirts and sell them for a profit.

If you can’t make your designs, you can hire a third-party designer to create styles and designs.

T-shirt printing businesses in Malaysia could certainly expand later on.

Most businesses dive into printing on other items such as mugs, hats, caps, towels, etc.

Thus, if you think that T-shirt printing is too boring or restricted, you’re unfortunately incorrect.

Once you have all the equipment for printing and labeling, it’s easier to expand your business.

Specialty food store

A specialty food business is one of the small business ideas in Malaysia that don’t require much money.

Do you have a special recipe for a gourmet food product?

Are you good at making sauces and dips?

If there’s a particular food product you’re perfect at cooking, consider this business.

Furthermore, you can sell these food products to much bigger companies like restaurants, hotels, and malls.

On another note, you don’t have to create your products.

Lots of specialty food creators in Malaysia are looking for distributors and resellers.

Many people in Malaysia are looking for authentic and unique food products.

Water station business

Everyone drinks water.

It’s one of the necessities of everyone, not just people in Malaysia.

Thus, it’s a universally good venture to get into.

However, you might be looking at a lot of competitors.

Therefore, the key is to upgrade your game.

Improve the services that other water stations are already offering their customers.

This will give them a reason to switch to your products and services.

Depending on your budget, you could set up a water station small-scale or large-scale.

Large investment business in Malaysia

If, for some reason, you have tons of money lying around, you should take a look at some large investments in Malaysia.

Your money shouldn’t be stuck in the bank.

You should invest in it.

However, you don’t want to invest in the wrong places and lose all of it.

Always make sure to research your investments well before giving away your hard-earned money.

Here are some ideas to consider if you have a large amount of money to invest.

Examples of a large business in Malaysia:

Fitness and wellness center

People in Malaysia are becoming more conscious about their health and wellness nowadays.

In effect, fitness centers such as gyms are also becoming more popular.

When it comes to opening a gym, location is very important.

Make sure you’ve conducted your research before opening your gym business.

Consider rent costs and traffic when choosing the location.

Furthermore, survey if there are nearby competitors in the area.

It doesn’t mean you can’t put up your gym if there’s already a gym in the area.

Instead, it calls you to evaluate whether your business can compete with the existing gym.

What do you have to offer that the other gym can’t?

What will set you apart?

Can you top the services and price that this current gym already offers?

These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself.

Grocery or supermarket business

Opening a grocery or supermarket isn’t an easy journey.

You need to consider a lot of factors before even attempting to open one.

Everything will depend on your budget – whether your grocery will be a small one in a village or a big one in a busy street.

An advantage of this venture in Malaysia is you already have customers.

People are buying groceries regularly.

It all depends on your grocery or supermarket’s location and the number of competitors in the area.

Car dealer business

This may not be the best business idea for you if you’re not familiar with cars.

However, if you’re a car fanatic, this might be the business of your dreams.

Selling cars is not a joke.

A large amount of money is at stake in this type of investment.

Thus, you need to make sure you’re well equipped and informed before even thinking about starting this venture.

Malaysia is load with cars, especially in the cities.

There are already lots of car dealers out there.

Thus, you need to set yourself apart.

Careful planning and research are required to succeed.

You should also consider the time and money you need for licensing and certifications.

Real estate business

A real estate business is one of the long-term profitable business ideas in Malaysia.

If you have the money, this is the best business for you if you don’t have a particular product.

However, if you’re looking for a starting business, carefully evaluate if real estate is right.

Gas station

Gas stations may require high capital, but it’s indeed profitable to put up in Malaysia.

We’ve discussed before how many people in Malaysia own cars.

Thus, the demand for gas is already there.

This venture is certainly not for everybody.

It might take years before you get your money back in this type of field.

Thus, if you’re looking for a venture where you can instantly get your ROI, this is not.

Events planning business

Are you a pro at organizing events?

Do you have the knack for planning and setting up venues for events?

Are you a good communicator?

These are some of the questions that could determine if you’re suited for this type of venture.

Nowadays, the party business in Malaysia is booming.

From weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, to corporate events and parties – people are looking for other people to hire to get everything set up.

It could be a highly profitable venture if you do it right.

Thus, if you have prior experience in events planning, it might be good for you.

If you’re just a starting business, you can certainly create a small-scale event planning business.

You don’t have to shell out a lot of cash in the beginning if you don’t have the money.

Hair salon business

Women in Malaysia go to hair salons all the time.

Although women don’t get haircuts as often as men, they tend to go to salons for other hair treatments.

This includes hair spa, rebond, perm, hair coloring, styling, and an endless list of other services.

A hair salon business can also offer other services apart from hair services.

It can include massage, manicures and pedicures, spa, and many other services.

Furthermore, you can sell hair and beauty products in your hair salon.

The only caveat of this venture is the high capital required at the beginning.

To open a hair salon, you will need tons of equipment and tools.

From hair cutting tools, blow dryers, brushes, to other fixtures like mirrors, lighting, seating, etc.

If you add up all of these, it could go very high.

However, if you have the money for it, it’s an excellent venture to go into.

Barbershop business

For those who have lower capital to open a hair salon business in Malaysia, a barbershop is a good alternative.

Note that a barbershop is a good business idea in itself.

However, if you’ve been thinking about opening a hair salon but don’t quite have the resources for it, it’s certainly a good alternative.

Think about it.

Men go out to get their haircuts multiple times throughout the year.

Unlike women, men get haircuts a lot more frequently.

Furthermore, opening a barbershop in Malaysia requires a lot less money and time.

Pharmacy business

Pharmacies are a highly profitable business in Malaysia.

It might require a high capital in the beginning.

However, you’re getting a really good business with pharmacies.

Most people in Malaysia rely on medicines daily.

Even healthy people go to pharmacies to get vitamins and other health supplements.

It’s safe to say that pharmacies are difficult to go out of business.

Also, not to say that they are fool-proof businesses.

You still have to do your work to keep your business running.

However, compared to other business ideas in Malaysia, you won’t be brainstorming that much about pharmacies.

Food business ideas in Malaysia:

Selling any type of food is one of the ideal small business ideas in Malaysia.

People consume food every day.

Thus, your market is very wide, and you can pretty much sell your food items to anyone.

However, this type of venture also comes with its risks.

Note that food is a perishable item.

Food expires easily.

Thus, if you don’t sell your product at a certain period, you will lose money.

Dessert and pastries business

If you’re just a starting business in Malaysia in cuisine and food, selling desserts and pastries is the way to do.

You can even do them online so you won’t have to pay rent.

If you have a decent functioning oven at home, you’re all set.

People in Malaysia are always looking to buy sweets and other pastries.

You can sell cupcakes, cookies, bagels, donuts, birthday cakes, etc.

All of these can purchase on a made-to-order basis.

Thus, you don’t have to make products without a sure buyer.

Lots of people in Malaysia are turning to homemade bakers for their events’ cakes and dessert needs.

This is because they are cheaper and more customized and unique.

If you’ve been baking desserts for your family and friends for quite a while, it’s time to make money off of it.

Coffee shop business

Coffee shops are quite popular in Malaysia.

People of all ages go to coffee shops all the time for a variety of reasons.

You can open a coffee shop franchise, but if you’re on a tight budget, you can certainly open your coffee shop.

Milk tea shop

The Boba business is an excellent starting business in Malaysia.

Milk tea is becoming more and more popular today.

Furthermore, it doesn’t require a high capital compared to opening a restaurant or coffee shop.

Milk tea is booming in Malaysia, and you might want to jump into the bandwagon.

Diet meal delivery

This type of business is one of the best small business ideas you should consider.

If you’re a nutritionist or have adequate knowledge when it comes to meal planning, you could certainly try out this idea.

Catering business

Opening a catering business requires a lot of money in the beginning.

However, it’s such a profitable business venture to try out.

If you’re a chef or just generally good at cooking and preparing food, you should go into catering.

Nowadays, people in Malaysia throw parties and events for lots of reasons.

Thus, there is always an opportunity to offer your services.

Home-based business opportunities in Malaysia:


Setting up your eCommerce is the best business ideas that you can do from home in Malaysia.

If you’re considering small business ideas, eCommerce is the way to go.

You can sell anything from gadgets, clothing, food, books, appliances, and furniture.

Sell online courses

Selling online courses is one of the business opportunities that will earn you money in the long-term.

Once you create a fully online course, you can sell it as many times as you want to people.

You also have the freedom to dictate your price to your clients.

Sell your photographs

Selling photographs online is among the small business ideas that don’t require much from you.

If you have an eye for photography and a high-quality camera, you can begin selling photos online.

It’s a good idea if you have a stable job already and just want to find a side-hustle.

Become a social media influencer

You can do this on a lot of platforms in Malaysia.

Youtube is the most popular social media platform to earn big money.

However, you can also become an influencer on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Some of the most popular influencers in Malaysia earn up to six figures! It won’t hurt to try.

Airbnb rentals

Malaysia is a popular tourist spot in Southeast Asia.

Many tourists are looking for nice and cheap places to stay in a while on vacation.


Thus, renting out a room in your house or another property on Airbnb is highly profitable.

Depending on your property, you might need to invest in improving some furniture, fixtures, and plumbing.

You can’t rent out a dilapidated property and expect bookings.

Make sure to take aesthetically-pleasing photographs of your property to attract more guests.

Business opportunities in Malaysia don’t always come.

Thus, if you have the chance to put up one, take an educated risk.

Always remember that not all business opportunities are good ones.

If you’re just starting in Malaysia, consider small business ideas.

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