Start-up inspiration: ten new business ideas


Start-up inspiration: ten new business ideasMore people than ever are taking the plunge and setting up their own enterprise. Rachel Miller investigates ten new business opportunities with the potential to succeed

1. Food business

The dream of running a café or restaurant is incredibly popular but only a few manage to make it work in the long term. However, consumer interest in food and eating out is showing no signs of abating. Food businesses that are doing really well at the moment include vegan and vegetarian (there are now over half a million vegans in the UK), pop-up cafes and street food stalls. Another key trend is small plates where diners choose a selection of dishes and share. In addition, food writers - such as Deliciously Ella, Olivia Wollenberg, Elly Pear and The Curry Guy - have built impressive social media followings and created profitable online and book businesses out of their passion.

Find out more about food businesses.

2. Microbrewery

There's been a steady rise in the popularity of craft beer and the good news is that drinkers are prepared to pay a premium price for it. Analysts say that microbreweries are becoming increasingly profitable and this is making them a target for acquisition - always a good sign. James Simmonds, of UHY Hacker Young, said: "Craft beer is leading the way in the surging popularity of artisan products … [its] increasing popularity has transformed many microbreweries into highly profitable businesses for entrepreneurs looking for a niche position in the food and drinks market."

Read our case study on microbrewery, the Melwood Beer Company.

3. Video and photography business

Even though we're all documenting our lives using cameras on our smartphones, demand for professional photographers and video production companies is rising because of the need for high quality images and footage that stand out on social media and websites. Video, in particular, has become a crucial format for business content. There's also a growing market for stock shots so photographers can sell images (as well as video footage) to the likes of Getty Images and Shutterstock.

Find out more about becoming a photographer.

4. Selling via eBay and Amazon

Ecommerce continues to grow and becoming a trader on the big online marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon is a relatively easy way in. You just have to open an account and load images and descriptions of the products you want to sell. However there is a world of difference between those that are making a living out of online trading and those that are just making a few quid on the side. If you've got lots of one product to sell, you only need to input the information once and the orders should keep coming in. Selling one-off items, including second-hand goods, is far more labour-intensive.

Find out more about ecommerce businesses.

5. E-learning

If you sell your expertise on a consultancy basis, you'll know just how hard it is to expand your business. There are only so many hours in the day. Many consultants are discovering that they can monetise their skills by selling e-learning courses online – from PowerPoint-based courses to online videos and seminars.

Find out more about business services.

6. Bookkeeping

The digitisation of tax reporting (Making Tax Digital) could open up new opportunities for bookkeepers. Although taxpayers will soon have to start inputting their accounts information into an online app themselves, they may need a professional to verify what they have done. As quarterly reporting is being introduced, bookkeepers may well find that clients need them more than ever. Malcolm Trotter, chief executive of the International Association of Bookkeepers, said he expects bookkeepers' work to "actually increase, as more businesses look to them to ensure everything is correct in real-time".

Find out more about bookkeeping.

7. Courier

Online shopping continues to grow; and that is fuelling a demand for couriers. Of course, big firms tend to use national courier firms but there is still plenty of demand for reliable independent couriers to deliver items across the UK – especially anything that is sold on eBay.

Find out more about becoming a courier.

8. Tattoos and piercing

Body art has gone mainstream and the demand for professional and talented tattoo artists is growing. There's also more awareness of the relevant health and safety issues so consumers are looking for well-trained and experienced practitioners that abide by all the necessary regulations.

Find out more about becoming a tattoo artist.

9. Personal training

The demand for personal trainers often rises and falls depending on consumer confidence but overall this sector continues to grow. Personal training is no longer only for the rich and famous – trainers are in demand because they provide an extra motivation for those that find it hard to stick to an exercise programme. Virtual coaching has also become popular, allowing a personal trainer to make a diet and fitness plan for their clients and offering support and feedback by phone, email, text or even webcam.

Find out more about personal training.

10. Bike business

Keen cyclists (a fast-growing group) often have more than one bike and they want to keep them in tip-top condition. That means independent bike repair shops are booming. Many of these outfits also offer bike building and customisation workshops. Some, like Bristol Bicycles, even have their own bike ranges. There are also business opportunities in organising cycling events as well.

Find out more about cycle event businesses.

More information and inspiration

  • Start Up Donut has information on everything from coming up with a business idea to all aspects of a setting up and starting a business.
  • Law Donut has expert guidance on start-up regulations and business law.
  • Sectors Donut has in-depth guides on over 200 different types of business.
  • Springwise tracks and analyses the latest new business ideas from around the world.