The small business is big news for the British economy. Where once the prospect of owning a small business seemed a venture only the brave dared to take on, now anyone can have a go at turning their dreams into business realities. In fact, in 2016, Britain reached a new record in the number of entrepreneurs starting their own businesses: 5.5 million. And the enterprising spirit of Brits has meant good things for far more than just self-made CEOs - small and medium-sized businesses have driven more than 70% of employment in the private sector since 2011.
So, if you’re thinking of trying your hand at being an entrepreneur, there’s no better time! When it comes to precisely how to set up a business, don’t be overwhelmed - your initial idea doesn’t have to be grand, or even all that serious – Dart’s Club, anyone? – the most successful business ideas aren’t always the most obvious. So long as it can generate interest and make people want to spend some money, you might just be onto a winner. But don’t worry if you’re not about running a club location in London’s most lively neighbourhood. There are plenty home based business ideas you can try, letting you make money from your own spare room.
Here’s our rundown of some of the best small business ideas:
Rather than run a small business from home, how about making your home your small business? In the age of Airbnb, anyone can rent out their home, or just a room, to anyone who’s willing to pay. But you don’t need to rely on other businesses to get your own venture off the ground. B&Bs are a £2 billion industry and while owning a B&B is no easy task, the rewards are all there in the form of paying guests.
Offering a boutique yet homely feel that hotels can’t quite match, the modern B&B has truly upped its game when it comes to high standards of accommodation. All you need to do is make sure you’re offering something guests will want to experience over a generic hotel room. If you have a property to play with, then you need to give it a real sense of identity and style. Many B&Bs design each room individually, even letting guests pick precisely which room they want. Themed rooms, quirky rooms and bathtubs in the bedrooms are all little touches of novelty or luxury that guests are willing to pay for – just make sure you’re all set up to take their payments, too! Get the word out on social media to your local area and on your own website with Wix or Weebly.
Read our guide on opening a B&B for some tips.
Sell Your Creations
Harness the power of the internet, rent a stall at the hundreds of craft markets hosted every week, start your own online store with BigCommerce.
If you make something you think people will be happy to pay for, then you can start a small business. If you’re a baker, see if you can sell your handmade creations to local cafes, if you’re an artist see if any local bars, coffee shops or libraries are offering space for you to show your work. ‘Indie shopping’ is seriously in-fashion, so whether it’s t-shirts, jewellery or printed phone cases, you’re bound to find new fans once you get the word out.
Be a PA from the comfort of your very own home. Gone are the days of a personal assistant having to follow his or her boss around like a shadow, virtual assistants are increasingly popular alternatives to having staff in-office. Who knows, you could be serving as a vital helping hand to multiple other small businesses, all while building up your own as a virtual assistant.
A popular choice among more eloquent types, freelance writing has always been near the top of the list when it comes to winning working from home ideas. Offering you flexible hours and the ability to work as much or as little as you want, freelance writers enjoy freedom from the 9-5. You’ll require a bit of self-discipline to keep on top of your deadlines and manage your workload, but being a self-employed freelance writer is one of the easiest businesses to start from home - all you need to bring is yourself!