The Best Small Business Ideas for 2021

Looking for some inspiration for your next entrepreneurial breakthrough? We’ve looked at different industries to evaluate business idea trends and help pinpoint ideas for an aspiring business owner. Whether you’re interested in the food industry or the tech scene, here’s a list of small business ideas that can catapult your career in 2021.

Small business ideas for the foodie

Hyperlocal restaurants

Hyperlocal is a growing buzzword which refers to restaurants growing their own produce and making as much of their food as possible – from harvesting to serving – on site. Don’t think you need an endless plot of land for it either, former London restaurants are also getting in on the trend. So, if you’re thinking about starting a restaurant this year as your business idea, consider hyperlocal additions like a restaurant garden, housemade condiments or onsite beer brewing.

Food trucks

Starting a food truck business in 2021 can be appealing for several reasons. If you don’t want to commit to a full-fledged restaurant because of the considerable financial obligations, starting a food truck is a low-cost alternative that can help you get started in the food industry and build up a reputation.

Waitrose predicts the following food trends that can help ignite inspiration for your food truck business:

  • Ethiopian food: You may soon be seeing (and eating) more of injera – a fermented flatbread with a slight spongey texture.

  • Lamingtons: All the way from Down Under, this Australian treat can be bought readymade, or you can prep your own at home. It’s a coconut-covered sponge cake.

  • Cà Ri Gà: Also known as Vietnamese curried chicken, simmer this with potatoes and carrots in a coconut-based lemongrass and garlic broth.

Time to indulge

Speciality Food asked industry experts for the next food trends. They said when times are hard, consumers turn to chocolate and other confectionaries. Although the worst is over, people are still likely to seek comfort foods, especially when luxury purchases such as holidays and cars are less popular.

Entrepreneurs may want to consider joining the growing confectionary online businesses. Receiving a bag of retro sweets or a basket of chocolates with a homemade touch are lovely treats to be savoured in tough times.

Small business ideas for the environmental entrepreneur

Organic juice bar

Organic agriculture has seen a huge spike in interest over the past few years as consumers continue to be exposed to some of the realities of the agricultural industry. A report from IBIS World says that the juice bar industry can expect to grow by another 5% this year in the UK alone. So if you’re interested in all-natural foods and want to capture this opportunity, this may be the way to go in 2021.

Vegan skin care

Consumers continue to take interest in all-natural, organic beauty products. With the demand for cruelty-free, organic skincare ‘spiralling’ and expecting to pass $3 billion in the US this boom can be expected to continue as more and more companies turn to the vegan way of life.

Whether you start a small business making soap, or you open a beauty salon and sell vegan products in your store, this trend indicates a huge revenue opportunity for your new business in 2021. (Given the variety of ready-to-use vegan products, you might also consider opening an online store.)

Dog Clothes

Sales figures for dog clothes have risen for several years and 2020 was the biggest year yet

The trend for canine costumes looks set to continue, perhaps its unsurprising as a fifth of workplaces now welcome four-legged friends, making them similar to office mascots in need of a suitable rota of outfits.

Boutique shops and online businesses like Urban Pup have cropped up devoted to dogs as Brits continue the trend of doting on their pets.

Small business ideas for the tech lover

Virtual reality

Are you an entrepreneur who has a passion for tech? Studies say that virtual reality (VR) is expected to help the UK entertainment industry hit £72 billion by the end of this year.

While creating VR products as a business idea seems like a big investment that would require substantial funding, there are many virtual reality startup ideas you can capitalise on. Whether it be renting virtual reality headsets to other businesses, creating VR content for conferences or consulting on VR implementation, you can utilise this trend and your passion for technology to develop a profitable business.

Social media consulting

Every company, however big or small, needs a social media presence in 2021 and companies like Boost Media Agency agree. If you’re an expert in this area, you could advise businesses on how to harness this essential medium.

By helping companies with likes, shares, retweets and followers, you’d be embarking on a low investment business idea. Startup costs would be minimal and you could work from your own home. Just keep in touch with the latest developments and trends.

Small business ideas in the age of COVID-19

Virtual assistants

Demand for virtual assistants was already rising before the pandemic. A year into the homeworking revolution, they’re here to stay.
Offering a wide array of services to entrepreneurs or businesses from a remote location is a very sound financial strategy for potential employers. According to Outsource Workers, virtual assistants can save up to 78% on operating costs a year.

From admin work to research to managing finances, virtual assistants can either specialise in niche areas or be all-rounders. Play to your strengths and you could have the freedom of working from home for hours that you decide.

Virtual personal trainer

Gyms may now have reopened across the UK but it’s very likely that many will be put off by entering them for the forseeable. Forbes predicts that the online fitness boom of 2020 is likely to continue. Keeping fit by following online plans and routines is relatively safe and cheap.

In a crowded market, is there room for more virtual personal trainers? Is it a sound business idea? OriGym suggest that with the right qualifications, some experience of face-to-face training, and a niche speciality, it’s very doable. You would also need a website and payment service so potential clients can join up.

Subscription-based services

If you have an online business idea, it’s clear that subscription-based models are the way forward. In Zuora’s End of Ownership report, 74% of consumers were reported to believe that people will subscribe to more services and own fewer physical goods.

The Food People have noted that you can apply a subscription model to all kinds of culinary options. Be it international foods, healthy snacks or exotic spices, sample boxes have been a big hit in the past year.

It doesn’t just have to be foods. With people confined to their homes more, craft kits have also risen in popularity. Fresh flowers, beauty samples and even pet toys can all be paid for safely via a subscription and delivered to customers.

Mobile services

Modern life has never been so busy. Why not take advantage of this by offering your skills and services direct to customers? Whether it’s car mechanics, IT support, hairdressing or DIY, people love the idea of paying someone with more time and a better level of skill to help them out.

Whichever service you think you can offer, make sure you let people know how professional you are. Get the right insurance to protect yourself and clients. And look to social media such as Facebook and Twitter to sell your service. Let people know you will keep your social distance and get the job done in a convenient, responsible way.

The business checklist that will make your idea into a reality

While it sounds simple, starting a business on your own can be a tough grind that requires patience. Before you get going, here are a few things that you need to have in order. Adequate industry training: In order to enter any industry successfully, it’s important to have extensive knowledge about the business and master the skills needed to be efficient.

  • A well-thought-out business plan: Your business plan will be the framework of your idea and the more time you put into creating a business plan, the better off you’ll be. Make sure to detail out all components including an executive summary, business description, market analysis, competitive analysis, product plan, business operations, employee and training summary and financial strategy. These will help you create well-defined goals and actionable steps for your business.

  • Entrepreneurial drive: Not every industry expert is suited to be a business owner. The drive and motivation you need to go your own way aren’t often taught. Time management skills, organisation and problem resolution are notable entrepreneurial traits that you should master before starting your own business, and successful entrepreneurs often form habits that help them become successful in their endeavours.

  • Powerful tools and business solutions: Trying many of these business ideas in 2021 can involve relatively low investment. Without bricks and mortar, the main things you need to consider are invoicing software and a card reader for accepting payments. And although you can do very well without a physical store, you will likely need an online store.

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