I intend to say 'a small / a very small' business (of supplying a product to shops with the possibility to generate very small profits). Kindly advise. Any other suggestions or idioms are welcome.
I am actually at my wit's end translating a vernacular book to English. Kindly bear with me, as I may have many more questions. Your help is very valuable to me.
  1. small-time business (Is this collocation popular? I have only heard small-time actors, small-time criminal, etc.)
  2. petty business (Is this a general collocation? This appears alright to me, but I am unsure if it sounds somewhat condescending.)
I think small business says it all. Use 'very small' if it's important to make the distinction.

'Petty and small-time business' sound terrible.

Thanks Rover. I absolutely agree with you that both collocations sound artificial and awful.

I have settled for 'He made a small beginning by selling...' or 'He made a humble beginning by selling...'. How does that sound? If correct, I would like to settle for the latter, but I am unsure if 'humble beginning' is restricted to the meaning of 'humble origin'.