If it has always been a dream of yours to register your own small business in Sri Lanka, worry not. For this peaceful island nation always welcomes new entrepreneurs. Whether foreign or local is not an issue. With the current economic climate, small businesses and startups are looking more and more popular. As of 2019, small and medium scale businesses account for 80% of all Sri Lankan businesses!
A small business can be defined as a business that is independently owned and operated. Examples of small businesses would range from a bookstore with a handful of employees to a small manufacturing company employing a 100.
Thankfully, Sri Lankan business registration is a simple and easy process. In fact, it can even be done online on the website for the Registrar of Companies, here. Doing business in Sri Lanka will not be difficult even as a foreign national. This is because Sri Lanka has three official languages- Sinhala, Tamil and English. As such, English is widely spoken across the country. However, you are highly advised to learn the command of the other languages. Especially Sinhala. As even though many Sri Lankans do speak English, they are often more comfortable in communicating in their mother tongue.
In order to register a business as a new entrepreneur, you have to draft a business plan. You will also have to look at pre-existing businesses as an example. Thus, you can follow their stead. By looking at how they have fared in order to flourish. For example, look at their marketing strategies. How do they operate? What is their scale of operation? What is their business location like?
In your own business plan, you will have to make many considerations. Such as for your market, budget and potential profit goal. While you must keep it realistic, you must also push yourself to achieve high goals. In order to find inspiration, below are a list of small businesses in Sri Lanka. These businesses are currently doing very well in terms of profit and popularity.
For ease of reading, they will be separated by which industry they fall under.
Food and Beverages
- Butter Boutique
A cozy café and dessert bar, Butter Boutique is one of Colombo’s most popular cake shops. Through a combination of high-quality products, that is, their handmade cakes as well as through excellent social media marketing, Butter Boutique is now doing extremely well. By focusing on one category of food- that is, sweets, they were able to ensure that they always serve high quality goods. They have since expanded to include catering for events as well.
- Calorie Counter
Calorie Counter falls under the category of a themed café/restaurant. This restaurant is marketed towards those looking for healthy food options. Calorie Counter was established to provide delicious food without compromising health. A unique feature of Calorie Counter is that all menu items are labelled with how many calories they contain. In addition to this, their ingredients are listed as well. As such, customers are happy to be able to see what exactly goes into their food.
- Bakes By Bella
One of Sri Lanka’s most successful small business stories, Bakes By Bella is a self-owned and self-operated bakery and event caterer. They are known for having flamboyant and whimsical cakes. Bakes By Bella gained notoriety through a highly successful social media approach. As such, this business serves as an inspiration that marketing does not have to be expensive. Simply building your brand online and engaging with your audience will bring many loyal customers to your counter.
Yamu is a blog and lifestyle magazine centered around life in Sri Lanka. This magazine works closely with many local attractions and restaurants. As such, they provide unbiased reviews to the everyday resident of Sri Lanka. As of today, the blog is 6 years old and continues to gain popularity for their “relatability”. I.e. the average resident of Sri Lanka is able to empathize with their overview of life in Sri Lanka.
- Chokolaate Magazine
Another magazine in Sri Lanka that had its humble beginnings. Chokolaate is a bit more specialized than Yamu. I.e. they specifically market themselves to a teenage audience. Approaching its 13th year, Chokolaate is aimed at the youth in Sri Lanka. It covers several topics from fashion to food to education. In fact, now Chokolaate has even expanded to host its own event where it holds a talent competition for teens.
- Rehan’s Wedding Photography
Rehan’s Wedding Photography is a wonderful example of how your passion can become your livelihood. They operate as a professional photography studio as well as photography service providers. Rehan’s Wedding Photography is a specialized business. A good example of narrowing down your target market, this photography studio was established in 2013. And now they have several loyal customers. By maximizing customer satisfaction, this business ensures that they will always enjoy both returning customers as well as new customers because of good reviews.