You’ve got entrepreneurial spirit and the passion to build an amazing business. But are you lacking in inspiration to channel your ambition?
You don’t have to invent a groundbreaking, high-tech product to launch a successful start-up; some of the most profitable businesses tap into the services that people need every day and simply put their own spin on it.
Whether you want to work from home or fancy setting up shop, the sheer range of business ideas is limitless, and sometimes just takes a something small to inspire you. The best place to start? Think about local services that you wish were available in your area, or something you’ve had difficulty getting hold of in the past. Thorough market research will help narrow down business ideas into something you can realistically make money from. Lots of these business ideas can be started on a relatively small initial budget, and can all be totally adapted.
Suss out which companies (if any) would be your competition, and see what they’re missing. Offer something they don’t, whether that’s sourcing all ingredients for your catering business organically or promising a quicker turnaround time. If you can’t afford to beat your competition on price then position your business as providing a different service, a friendlier service or just a better one!
So browse through our Startup business ideas and see what inspires you. If you’ve got the passion and drive to start your own business, these ideas should form a solid pool of opportunities to explore at both local and national levels.
Windows, carpets, houses, offices… people are willing to pay for a service that will save them time. Domestic cleaning requires minimal investment – just the equipment you need and so remains a popular start-up for budding business owners. Millie Dark told StartUps that by working part time for a few months and advertising locally, she launched her cleaning company Mrs Muscle and now employs 12 part-timers. Build a customer base with flyers, newspaper ads and a website so you can be found online by people in your area.
2) Dog Walking
A love for animals and the outdoors combined with a business mind-set is enough to form the foundations of a profitable dog walking business. Again, very little financial investment is required; your biggest expenditure will be time spent promoting your business. Leaflets, newspapers and social media are great ways to locally advertise and start acquiring customers.
3) Street food
Gone are the days of greasy burger vans monopolising the British street food market. Artisan street food from around the world is taking the UK by storm. Not only are there food festivals and markets popping up around the country focussing solely on culinary delights, but you can take your stall or van to any event around the country. Music festivals, country shows, or even fairgrounds – taking a van that sells delicious food to an area where thousands of people are concentrated is a profitable business no-brainer.
4) Beer, Wine & Spirits
Home brewing kits are easy and relatively cheap to come by, so if you find you have a flair for distilling this could be a great way to make money. Not everyone always wants their supermarket Pinot, so get creative with fruits and flavours and take your brews to food fairs, beer festivals or sell them online. If you can locally source the ingredients, then that’s a sure way to add a different edge to your product.
Gloucestershire based wine company Field Bar started selling their fruit wine at markets around the area, and founders Alice Barfield and Matt Eaton have since grown a successful online store offering all their favourites from elderflower to strawberry wine.
5) Man (or lady) in a van
A timeless business idea; ‘lightweight delivery’ for moving sofas to treadmills will always be in demand. The best thing? All you need is a van and a little elbow grease. Advertise with flyers in your area, get into your local newspaper and create a website so customers can find you online.
6) Deliver anything at any time
The booming success of food delivery services such as One Delivery and Deliveroo demonstrate that the UK will pay for delivery straight to their door whenever they want it… and the market stretches beyond food. London based company Jinn deliver anything from MAC cosmetics to clothes from Zara if you can’t get to the shops yourself. This phenomenon hasn’t really spread outside of the capital yet, so take advantage of the earning potential by delivering around your local area.
Professional Services Business Ideas
7) If you’ve got the experience but want to leave the corporate setting, consider taking your profession freelance. Even the smallest of businesses need accountants to help keep books in check, or if your business game is on point, consider becoming a business consultant to help others on their entrepreneurial journey. If you find you need some further skills, you can enrol in an online course or take evening classes to gain the qualifications you need.
Turn Your Skill Into A Business
We are lucky enough to live in an age where businesses can be built upon lifestyle interests. If you’re a fitness fanatic, food lover, travel addict or fashion guru there is a huge base of people who want to read your content. Once you’ve built up enough followers, companies can sponsor you to feature their products or services and you can start to develop profitable partnerships.
Hero Brown set up her blog Muddy Stilettos to provide information about the best events, walks and restaurants Buckinghamshire has to offer after moving there from London. She told Forbes her success was down to meeting a need from a specific demographic (women aged 30-55 in the Buckinghamshire area) that was relatively untouched. Just with any business, you’re more likely to make a living if you have something a little different to offer customers.
9) Virtual Assistant
If you’ve got great organisational and time-management skills, consider becoming a virtual assistant. Employers are moving from hiring PA’s to save money through a virtual counterpart, and all you’ll need is a computer. The best part is it can be flexible, part-time and you’ll work from home.
The level you can tutor at will depend on your qualifications but a successful tutoring business can be created whether you have A-Levels or a PHD! You’ll need to brush up on the latest curriculums, teaching techniques and exam styles before starting, however tutoring a subject you love can be rewarding and profitable. Agencies can match tutors to pupils depending on experience, or set up yourself once you have a viable customer base.
Online Business Ideas
11) Ebay & Amazon
Got a product but can’t afford a shop space? Ebay and Amazon both have platforms for you to create an online shop that can be easily found by thousands of people. By paying a fee for the space plus commission for sales you’ll have access to the millions of people that use Ebay and Amazon each day, and is a great way to start selling a product nationwide.
Are you able to craft unique or fun products which you could sell online? Jewellery, soap, candles… anything that you can make to a high standard can be sold through an e-commerce site. The benefits are you don’t have to shell out for shop rent, and depending on your product, can make it from a workspace at home. Sites such as Shopify help beginners set up eCommerce websites themselves.
If you can’t think of anything to make that would make a viable business idea, then consider selling other people’s profits and make a margin! Online retailer Etsy made their fortune doing just this by becoming a marketplace for sellers to platform their products that couldn’t get the same exposure alone. You could be as niche or as broad as you like, but a focused product range such as Wedding Products or Vintage Posters will help you target the right audience.
Seen anything you could realistically turn into a business? From online shops to following your passion for food, there really is more scope than ever to set up a company. If you’re leaning towards a business idea but aren’t 100% sure you can turn it into a profitable company, consider starting to form a business plan. Breaking down your business idea step by step is the best indicator as to its potential. You can learn how to write a business plan here.
Remember, if you don’t think you have the right skill set to set up one of these businesses right now, there’s always time to learn. Evening classes can teach you everything from digital marketing to metal forming, so there’s no excuse not to spruce up your skill set. Consultants from local governing bodies and online courses are also on hand to guide you through the financial and legal details that come from setting up a business, so it’s important to remember there’s always support.