We’re living in economically turbulent times. Staring down the barrel of a recession, and with businesses and households alike beset by a cost of living crisis, it’s easy to feel as though your spark of entrepreneurship is doomed to be snuffed out by the nation’s current financial malaise.
You can’t help feeling that surge of enthusiasm and excitement whenever you think about running your own business. You yearn to free yourself from the precarious rungs of your career ladder and smash through the glass ceiling by going into business for yourself. Is there a risk? Sure. But entrepreneurship carries an element of risk whatever the economic climate. What’s more, the government has recently widened the eligibility criteria for startup loans making it easier for nascent businesses to secure funding.
The UK needs small businesses to innovate, diversify and grow the economy now more than ever. But is 2023 the right time for you to start down the path of entrepreneurship? And what are the best low-cost business ideas of 2023 that you can pursue without burdening yourself with overheads? Your success or failure will depend at least in part on your small business idea.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best business ideas for 2023.
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Want to run your own online store, but don’t know where to start? Don’t want to bear the logistics and warehousing costs? Hate the idea of surrendering every spare inch of floor space in your home to inventory?
Sounds like dropshipping could be ideal for you.
With dropshipping, a third-party supplier fulfils the order on your behalf, and you act as an intermediary who facilitates the sale and pockets the profits.
The UK e-commerce market is expected to grow by 12.63% between 2022 and 2025. This means that there has never been more opportunity to engage your audience. Try to focus on niche fast-moving products that appeal to a specific audience for the best results.
Online learning and courses
Straining to think of the right product to bring to a busy market? Perhaps the most marketable commodity you have is your knowledge and insight. Sharing that knowledge in the form of an online course could be extremely lucrative, with very low startup costs.
The online learning market is expected to be worth an estimated $350 billion by 2025. Now’s the time to get on the ground floor. Start building your website, garnering a following, showing off your knowledge with your online content, and start enrolling students.
Online dating apps
Today many of us navigate the world of dating in the same way that we order a pizza– through our mobile phones. As well as the big trinity of Tinder, Hinge and Bumble, a growing number of dating apps have arisen to cater to more specialist niches. For instance, people can now find potential matches based on their religious faith, political persuasion, or even their fandoms.
If you’re creative, have a flair for coding, and want to help people find romance, this could be an excellent opportunity in 2023.
Print on demand
Want to combine the convenience of drop shipping with an opportunity to monetise your creativity? Print-on-demand services offer an excellent way for the artistically inclined to make money selling printed products.
From greeting cards to calendars to wall art, you may find that your digital artwork, paintings, or photography can become a potentially lucrative revenue stream with virtually no overhead costs.
Specialist car detailing
In economically tough times, many turns to the luxury market to find opportunity. Providing services to high-value individuals can provide a rich stream of opportunity even in difficult times. If you have a passion for luxury vehicles and know how to make their bodywork gleam, a specialist car detailing service is a great business idea for you.
Overhead costs are minimal, and you don’t even need premises. You can detail people’s vehicles on their own driveways or front gardens.
Climate change and sustainability are only going to continue to gain momentum as ethically-minded consumers try to do their bit for carbon neutrality. Similarly, the popularity of online shopping has been on [an upward trend]https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/retailindustry/timeseries/j4mc/drsi) for years as the internet has taken on such a central part in our lives. Combine the two and you’re in a growth area for business in 2023 and beyond.
Vintage and second-hand fashion is huge right now. Many people hand-curate apparel collections and sell them online as-is, or as unique altered pieces. Thrifted home decor is also a continuing trend of 2023 as households around the country tighten their belts.
The high street has changed a great deal in recent years with many previously ubiquitous gift-giving chains drastically scaling back their market presence. Now may be the best time to refine your craft and stand out as a professional independent business, as support for smaller, more ethically-focused businesses continues to rise.
With many still continuing to wear facemasks, this sector has permanently set up shop in the eCommerce sphere. Masks made from recycled material continue to trend for small businesses.
Maybe it’s time to start creating some unique designs.
Biodegradable and reusable products
Over the past few years, people have become more aware of our planet’s health. Because of this ‘trend’, biodegradable phone cases, personalised tote bags, reusable face wipes, and beeswax food accessories have all shared the recent spotlight. As well as being highly sustainable, they are also cost-saving, making them appealing to those who need to cut household costs.
Your imagination really is the limit here, with the possibilities for sustainable and biodegradable products growing every day, making this one of the best small business ideas for 2023.
Check out our guide for sustainable business ideas you can start in 2023.
Gender-neutral and sustainable beauty
There’s been a huge drive in the popularity of the beauty industry lately, especially surrounding gender-neutral and sustainable products. For example, more men are buying and using beauty products than ever, with the global intimate care market alone set to exceed $400 billion in value by 2030.
Gender-neutral and planet-friendly products are taking the charge, with these positive trends likely to continue as societal awareness evolves.
The beauty industry isn’t all about makeup, though more men are starting to use products such as BB creams and foundations. In fact, men’s skincare is currently worth over £41 billion worldwide. However, the general male self-care market has grown exponentially over the past few years, with grooming and shaving kits and subscriptions taking a top place in the market.
Alongside our new hyper-awareness of environmental health, there has been a big push for the adoption of ‘clean beauty’ in the cosmetics industry. Put simply, ‘clean beauty’ includes non-toxic, sustainable, vegan, and eco-friendly products. Independent businesses have the upper hand here and are able to be flexible and offer sustainable, friendly products in sectors where big brands may not be able to adapt so effectively.
Flexible pop-up kitchens have really come into their own in recent years, and the appetite for them continues to grow among consumers.
Offering a new level of immediacy and convenience, they have even come to surpass conventional restaurants in the eyes of some consumers.
Food trucks are able to cater to events of all types and sizes, indoors and out. Being compact, adaptable, and mobile, means you can bring your products directly to your customers.
Learn more about how to start a food truck business and food truck start up costs.
Ghost kitchens continue to thrive as we reach the mid 2020s. These pop-up kitchens act solely as online takeaways, so you don’t have to worry about the implications of in-house dining. It is a trend that is here to stay, after people began to appreciate the convenience of having their favourite food whenever and wherever they like.
With Square Online Ordering, take orders on your free personalised website, and manage all of them directly from your Kitchen Display System.
Learn more about solutions for running a ghost kitchen with Square.
If your skill set lies in that of the digital world, then why not capitalise on the very movement you’re participating in? With a surge of new businesses entering the ring, these start-ups are going to need a little help, well, starting up. As a B2B business owner, you can provide personalised, tailored services that larger agencies perhaps cannot.
The world of employment is in a continuing state of evolution, with many companies becoming more flexible in terms of working hours, and location. Remote and hybrid working are fast becoming the norm.
As you can run these ventures in your own time and in your own home, they make for great low-cost business ideas in 2023.
Many of these B2B services will work hand in hand with each other when building a brand. However, if someone is looking to launch or relaunch their business, one of the first things they should consider is visuals and aesthetics. Small businesses need to be unique and eye-catching.
Social media management
The presence and power of social media in marketing has grown exponentially. Now is the prime time for businesses of all sizes to take advantage and unlock the power of proper social media management.
Many businesses are now recognising the need to hire either freelance or in-house social media managers to manage their multiple channels – in a sector and role that didn’t exist even a decade ago. In fact, global social media ad spending is expected to show an annual growth rate of 11.24% from 2022 to 2027, with a projected market volume of US $384.90bn by 2027.
As more businesses start to move online, brands need to make sure they have an online presence that is optimised to compete. Web development is a vital tool in any business’s arsenal, as the majority of sales are led and made through online stores. If their site is slow, not very well optimised, and doesn’t harbour a seamless customer journey, sales fall flat, and businesses lose profit.
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 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 2023 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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