17 business ideas you can get started with today
Running your own business can be incredibly rewarding. But with so many great business ideas to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start.
The opportunity is there, but it’s not as simple as ready, set, launch.
The most successful business people thoroughly understand what their business will do, who they are selling to and how they will stand out from the competition. And they know this before they launch.
In this article, we’ll run through 17 different business ideas in detail and discuss how to successfully launch your small business.
Table of contents:
- Online small businesses
- In-person small businesses
- Business ideas you can do in person and virtually
- What makes a good business idea?
- How to successfully start a small business
- Masterclass: How to create an innovative business idea
- Wrapping up
Online small businesses
Online small businesses are usually the fastest type of business to launch, as you don’t need many resources or tools to get started.
Here are six online business ideas for your consideration:
1. Freelance copywriter
If you enjoy writing or editing, there are plenty of options for freelancers.
Many companies hire freelance writers or contractors on a part-time basis. This is often a cheaper option for businesses as they don’t need to provide employee benefits to freelancers and can still get quality deliverables.
Whether you’re experienced or just starting out, there’s a market for freelance writers of all varieties online.
A great place to start freelance writing is with a site like Upwork.
Create a profile that highlights your skills, expertise and experience (if applicable).
Once that’s set up, you can scroll through the jobs newsfeed and apply to the ones you’re interested in. If you hear back, you negotiate a price, sign a virtual contract, and begin work.
But sites like Upwork, Fiverr, ProBlogger, etc., often take a fee. If you aren’t interested in going down that path, you can try creating a website with the help of a website builder like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace and displaying a portfolio. From there, promote yourself on platforms like LinkedIn to generate interest.
To showcase your talent, you can create owned content and post it on your social media accounts or website (if you choose to start one). This is key, as the best way to attract potential clients is to show them what you can do.
2. Freelance developer
Developers are in high demand, but working as a freelance developer is slightly different to an office environment.
Clients don’t necessarily care how long something will take; they care that it will work. This means you must understand how to monetise the value you create.
You can either choose a niche and launch your own business that serves clients in that market or go the route of third-party sites like Toptal.
Toptal connects companies with vetted freelance developers that have gone through a rigorous interview process. The developers that work for Toptal have a variety of skill sets, ranging from web development to web design to mobile app development.
No matter what route you choose, make sure it aligns with your interests. Consider scalability and ideally pick a service in which you can write and then reuse your code.
3. Freelance graphic designer
There’s a never-ending need for graphic designers. As the world continues to move online, people need their business assets to be visually appealing, professional and on-brand.
The most popular third-party site for freelance graphic designers is Dribbble.
Dribbble is an online marketplace for designers to showcase their work, boost their portfolios and ultimately get hired. It’s essentially a social network for designers that also lists job postings.
Like other freelance types, designers should create robust portfolios and share them widely across the internet to gain an audience and connect with clients.
It’s also imperative that you use modern software. If you are still using outdated software, it may not be compatible with the platforms that clients are using today. Additionally, it’s not a bad idea to learn several design programs to broaden your skill set.
For example, many designers are experienced with Adobe Photoshop. But, today’s clientele is often looking for graphics made in Illustrator. If you know how to use both, you’ll be able to remain competitive.
Also, make sure you are staying up to date on the latest trends. There are always new innovations and emerging directions in the design world. The best practices of yesterday may not apply today
4. E-commerce store
E-commerce is skyrocketing. Global e-commerce sales reached over $4.9 trillion USD in 2021 and are projected to grow to $7.4 trillion by 2025. The UK’s e-commerce sales in 2019 grew by nearly 15% from the previous year.
But starting an e-commerce business isn’t easy. Unlike freelancing, there are many steps you must take before you can launch an online store.
Next, you’ll need to buy a domain name and create a logo. A freelance graphic designer comes in handy here. Finally, you can build your store. You’ll need captivating descriptions, an SEO-optimised site structure and beautiful photographs.
This is an opportunity to enlist the help of various other freelancers if you don’t have these skills in your own wheelhouse.
Next, you need to decide where you’ll promote your product. How will you drive traffic to your site? Will you sell on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Shopify or various other e-commerce sites? Or, will you promote your product on social channels and use paid advertising to drive traffic?
Make sure you follow the laws dictated by the country you’re operating in. In the UK, you must adhere to the legal rules laid out in the Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002.
If you’re unsure of exactly what you need to do, consult with a lawyer to guarantee your business is above board and compliant with the latest rules and regulations.
Top Tip: Picking the right platform is key to starting your e-commerce business on the right foot. Learn about some of the top viable platforms to choose from in our guide on how to start an e-commerce business ⚡️
5. Virtual assistant
People who run a business are busy and juggling multiple tasks at once. A virtual assistant can ease the stress, help to streamline operations and free up valuable time.
Virtual assistants help entrepreneurs or business owners with activities such as invoicing, data entry, copywriting and copy editing, proofreading, social media management, research, email management, customer service, basic graphic design and layout work, bookkeeping, lead generation and more.
VA’s are often more dynamic than executive assistants, as they are usually involved in the decision-making process and key players in strategic optimisation.
Similar to the freelance positions mentioned above, virtual assistants can use a third-party website to apply for jobs and/or build their own website and network.
VANetworking.com is a comprehensive resource for virtual assistants, new and seasoned, looking for the latest tips and tricks.
It’s important that you choose which services you’ll offer your clients as well as your business and fee structure.
6. Affiliate marketer
Affiliate marketing is a way to get paid by other businesses for promoting and selling their products. You earn money every time you bring in a new customer or order.
This business model involves using your online and social platforms to market products to your followers. You can talk about products on your social media, blog, or website and get a commission every time someone clicks through from your platform to the sponsoring business.
Affiliate marketing requires you to have a decent following or good SEO skills before you can start to turn a profit. For the latter, SEO is useful because if you have an affiliate site but lack a strong social presence, you can reach your audience via search instead. Therefore, it’s worth putting in time and planning upfront.
Here are a few simple steps to get you started:
- Choose your niche. Start by finding a field to specialise in. Is there something you’re passionate about and would find it easy to talk about? Is there an ongoing demand for your area of expertise? Choose something you can focus on long–term and that has a promising future.
- Find an affiliate marketing program. These are third-party platforms that help affiliates and brands find each other and work together. Some top programs for beginners include Amazon Associates, Commission Junction (CJ) and ClickBank.
- Promote affiliate links on your channels. Your affiliate program will provide you with links to the products and services you promote, your job is to get them in front of people and persuade them to click.
In-person small businesses
While COVID sped up the need for more remote ways of operating a business, there’s no replacement for in-person service in some industries. Here are six business ideas to consider if you’re a people person.
7. Personal trainer
If you love helping people get healthier and feel great, then personal training is for you.
People often struggle to stick with a fitness routine. They may try the latest fad, like buying a Fitbit and tracking their steps, but these motivations are often short-lived.
Additionally, even highly motivated exercisers need help to develop effective, safe and powerful fitness programs.
Personal trainers provide physical and psychological support for people looking to get healthy and stay fit. They get to know your health history and lifestyle factors and create a tailored plan that will help you reach your goals.
To start a personal training business in the UK, you need to register with CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity).
You’ll also need public liability insurance as you may be working in clients’ homes. Of course, you should also invest in any essential equipment. After that, you’ll have little ongoing expenses, minus travel costs to and from your appointments.
The best part is that you can have a very diverse clientele. You don’t necessarily need to niche yourself into one target market or another. If you do a good job, you will amass loyal clients that refer you to their friends.
8. Gardener or landscaper
Many people don’t have the time or energy to maintain a garden themselves.
That’s where gardeners and landscapers come in. If you enjoy lawn work, getting your hands dirty in fresh soil and working outside, running your own gardening or landscaping business may be the perfect fit.
Before you invest in tools, consider investing in your skillset by getting a qualification through the Royal Horticultural Society. This is not a requirement, but may help clients feel more comfortable hiring you. You can also pursue an apprenticeship.
When you’re ready to start, you’ll need to buy tools. These include spades, forks, rakes, lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, gloves, etc., and a vehicle. Also, consider where you’ll store the equipment between jobs.
Next, invest in public liability insurance. This way, if an accident happens on the job, or you damage a client’s property, you can pay for a claim and remain operable.
If you have employees, even just one, it’s a legal requirement to have employers’ liability insurance. Without it, you can be fined £2,500 per day. That said, it is not required to cover direct family members or spouses that work for you.
It’s also a good idea to invest in commercial van insurance if you aren’t using a personal vehicle to transport your equipment.
Use social media and marketing tactics to promote your new business. Spread the word far and wide via word-of-mouth networking. Choose a fee structure comparable to what your competitors are charging.
If you choose to branch out into landscaping, you may need to work as an assistant landscaper to gain experience before starting your own business. You can apply for membership with the British Association of Landscape Industries (BAMI) for training support and a list of job vacancies.
If you want to work with commercial clients, you’ll need to apply for a LISS/CSCS Skills Card (Land-based Industry Skills Scheme & Construction Skills Certification Scheme) through BALI.
As for equipment, landscaping requires power tools such as blowers, chain saws, pressure washers, etc. Given the sheer size of the equipment, you’ll need a bigger van to get from job to job.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can rent equipment instead of buying it.
Are you always taking pictures? Do you have a semi-expensive camera that you carry with you everywhere you go in case the perfect shot emerges?
You can turn this hobby into a successful photography business. Consider: do you want to shoot for businesses like magazines or get involved with product photography, or with non-business clientele at weddings or graduations?
If you don’t already have expensive equipment, you will most likely need to buy a professional camera if you want to charge high prices.
You can get away with using less expensive equipment if you value your work at a lower price. But, the market is saturated and the competition is fierce. If you’re good and believe your pictures are valuable, it’s time to invest in decent equipment.
Photographers also need to be adept at editing their photos. Similar to graphic designers, there are tons of tools out there. Many photographers are skilled in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, but it’s worth learning as many programs as you can in case a client has a preference. If you want to bring your editing skills up to par, you can brush up with an online course or certification.
Many photographers book gigs on the weekend, so remain aware of how that will affect your personal life. If you prefer weekends for family time at home, then shooting a wedding on a Saturday may not align with your interests.
10. Personal chef
Do you love food? Do people talk about your dinner parties year-round? Perhaps it’s time to make some money from this gift.
Personal chefs prepare meals for families, parties, corporate events, special events, and more. They often specialise in a food group, whether it be a cuisine type or speciality diet, so consider choosing a niche.
Starting a business as a personal chef is a low-cost endeavour. All you need are kitchen supplies, which you most likely already have. Anything else that you buy for the client, like food or cutlery for events, is often reimbursed.
You should, however, consider investing in public liability insurance. This will help protect you in the case of a compensation claim brought forth for a food safety mishap or equipment damage. Additionally, you, and anyone who works with you, must have proper training in food hygiene and comply with the rules and guidelines under the Food Standards Agency.
It’s best practice to build a website to advertise your services. However, most personal chefs get their clients from word-of-mouth recommendations.
11. Massage therapist
Massage therapists relieve tension, aches and stress. Some people see a massage therapist to relax, while others need help alleviating pain.
There are several massage therapy specialities to choose from including:
- Aromatherapy massage
- Deep tissue massage
- Hot stone massage
- Pregnancy and post-natal massage
- Sports massage
- Sports therapy
- Thai massage
It’s a good idea to start with a general massage specialism and then branch out as you grow. Many therapists become specialised in more than one area to serve a broader client base. Similar to personal chefs, a niche can help you gain a competitive advantage.
There is currently no statutory regulation in the massage industry and you don’t need a certification to become a massage therapist in the UK. However, some clients prefer if you have an accreditation. As massage is a highly personal profession, it may be worth your while.
Options to find deeper qualifications include:
- Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)
- Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)
- British Association of Sport Rehabilitators (BASRaT)
- Sports Massage Association (SMA)
- The Institute for Soft Tissue Therapists (ISRM)
According to the Council for Soft Tissue Therapies (GCMT), to become properly trained and competent, you should take a course that lasts around six months.
Again, no law states you must obtain a qualification to become a massage therapist in the UK. However, each register follows a code of ethics and standards of education that give the public confidence in your abilities.
Like other business types, it’s recommended to obtain public liability insurance to protect yourself against claims.
12. Pet sitter/dog walker
More at ease working with animals than with people? The pet industry has lots of opportunities for starting your own business.
Offer busy pet owners peace of mind by caring for their animals in their own homes. You can offer pet sitting while owners are away, or provide dog walking services during the day.
You don’t need any training to become a dog walker in the UK. However, if you plan to care for dogs (or cats) inside your or another person’s home, you do need a licence.
Specifically, a licence is required by the government if you plan to run a:
- Boarding kennel or cattery
- Dog daycare business
- Dog boarding business in your home
- Business that arranges for boarding other people’s cats or dogs
Visit the Pet Industry Federation’s licensing page to learn more.
As with other professions, it’s important to acquire public liability insurance.
While not required for dog walking, if you want to level up your skills and gain trust with clients, a great place to start is by taking the Level 3 Award in Dog Walking and Pet Sitting for Professionals Ofqual course.
Here’s a list of all of the iPET Network Animal Care and Veterinary Science Qualifications.
Once you decide on your business name and services, you need to get the word out, just as you would with any business. You can rely on word of mouth or promote your business on local sites and social media.
Business ideas you can do in person and virtually
Businesses that you can do both in-person and virtually provide added opportunities. If your in-person client list is dwindling, focus on your online sales, and vice versa.
The more options that are available to you, the better your odds of success.
13. Yoga instructor
People all over the world participate in group or solo yoga practices to centre their bodies and minds.
There are no formal requirements to become a yoga instructor in the UK. However, most employers and clients will require some sort of training or certification. You can take courses through a college or one of the organisations dedicated to self-regulating the industry, like The British Wheel of Yoga.
The courses are not location specific, so you can complete training in your home country or internationally per your preference. You can also complete the course in one fell swoop, which usually takes about a month, or break it up over time.
Generally, the training costs between £1,000-£3,000, depending on the certification level you choose.
Once you’re certified, decide where and how you want to teach. For example, do you want to become a yoga instructor for a company, or do you want to run private classes from your own rented space (or your home)?
Many yoga instructors choose a mix of both. Working with a company provides a more steady income, but working by yourself gives you the freedom to dictate your own schedule and terms.
Alternatively, you can create an online presence by filming and posting yoga instructional videos. People follow along at home either for free or pay a subscription fee.
For example, Adriene Mishler has capitalised on the online yoga market and created a successful business by branding herself.
Aptly titled Yoga with Adrienne, she has a YouTube channel with over 11 million subscribers.
It may be competitive, but the market is there. If you create your own brand and curate interesting and helpful content, you can formulate a successful in-person and online yoga business.
14. Life coach
Life coaches help people achieve their dreams. It can be both a very fulfilling and profitable business venture.
You don’t need a degree to be a life coach in the UK as it’s not a regulated service. However, your clients will most likely feel more comfortable if you have accreditation to reflect your training.
As with most businesses, you need to pick a niche. For example, do you want to work in stress management coaching for business executives, or specialise in soft skills career coaching?
If you want to work with businesses, you may need to have a background in HR or business. This expectation will vary from client to client.
Next, choose the outcome you want to deliver. What is it that you can help your clients achieve? Is it broad-based like finding happiness or overcoming a challenge? Or more tangible like losing 10lbs or surpassing a revenue goal?
Make sure that your offering is something you can expertly deliver. Then, define your package and promote yourself.
Life coaching works well as an in-person business, via video conferencing, or both.
As brands expand their businesses globally, the need for translation services will continue to rise. While English is the most spoken language in the world, there are roughly 6,500 languages in the world today.
Technology, while growing smarter, can’t translate content or speech with the same accuracy as a human. It often misses the context, thus making the translation difficult to understand.
There are many types of translator positions, e.g.freelancing or performing contract work for a company, working with personal clients, or both.
In-person translators often translate with their voice in real-time, such as at a meeting, whereas online translators translate text, recordings, or videos either synchronously or asynchronously.
Brightline Translation Services is an example of a full-service translation agency located in the UK. They translate professional documents into approximately 50 different languages.
Whether you want to start your own agency or begin as a freelancer, you need to be at the top of your game. The competition is fierce, so you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
16. Travel planner
If you love to travel, you may enjoy helping others have memorable experiences.
According to the UNWTO, 117 million people travelled internationally from January to March of 2022.
Setting up a travel planning business has relatively low startup costs. You don’t need too many tools, as you will be selling your skills and reliability above all.
You can either set up an in-person travel planning business or run consultations online or over the phone. If you are working for yourself out of your home, you’ll most likely operate online.
Pick a niche and decide what kind of travel you’re interested in. Again, you can choose between corporate and personal. If you’re working for yourself, it may be worth teaming up with an agency that can provide you with clients for a kickback.
If you want to start alone and build from the ground up, you’ll need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. This means conducting thorough market research to determine what your community needs.
What gaps are in the market? Are there enough travel planning options for adventurous honeymooning millennials?
What about a mix of adventure and luxury travel that benefits charities? Urbane Nomads saw that as a gap, so they created a luxury adventure travel company to cater to an untapped market.
You don’t have to be this out of the box, but you should get creative. The more interesting, unique and useful your value proposition is, the more business you’ll attract.
A consultant is an expert in their field and advises others in their area of expertise. They are often an invaluable asset to a business and make a lot of money because of their unique proficiency.
Consultants are often hired to fix a problem, ensure everything is running smoothly and help businesses scale. They audit operations, review accounting practices, identify opportunities for growth and implement strategies to improve processes.
Because you need deep industry expertise, starting a consulting business isn’t for everyone. You also need to be highly skilled at communications and possess organisational skills to help businesses thrive.
If you tick these boxes, pick a niche. This should align with your industry expertise.
Then, get business insurance just in case anything goes wrong, like accidentally advising your client to make a decision that results in a negative economic impact. Public liability insurance is also a good idea if you plan to have meetings at your clients’ offices or vice versa.
The best way to land a consulting client is through your existing professional network. Put the word out that you are looking and take all the meetings that come your way.
What makes a good business idea?
Now that you’ve thought through some of your best small business ideas, how do you know which you should pursue? Passion is a fantastic motivator but doesn’t always lead to a winning business idea.
Great ideas usually fall into one of two buckets: 1) they fill a need or 2) they align with your interests and skills. Bonus points for both. Note that the pandemic changed how people consume goods and services, so keep that in mind as you ideate.
If you want to succeed, you must pick a business model that customers will buy into. There are plenty of ways to discover if the market is responsive to your idea before investing too much time or effort.
Here’s a two-pronged approach to help you understand what makes a good business idea.
Step 1: Learn from other people’s successes (and failures)
Study other people’s successes and failures and use them as fuel to make better-informed decisions for your own business.
Ideas transform into a successful business when you validate them without bias. They fail when you are too attached and can’t take a step back to see if there’s a real demand.
No matter how passionate you are about your idea, you need to deliver something that people want and are willing to invest in.
Here are three ways to further identify if your idea will work:
Your idea solves an everyday problem
Many businesses are formed as a direct response to a problem. These founders often experienced this problem in their own life and were driven to find a solution. When they couldn’t, they created one themselves.
This is a tried and true method for finding a winning profitable business idea. There’s nothing more compelling than finding a common pain point and addressing it with a solution that works.
Ryan Hudson, the co-founder of Honey, did just that. He went online to order pizza for his kids and was wondering if there was a coupon he could apply. At the time, he was cash-strapped and looking for ways to reduce bills and utilise coupons in every possible way.
When he couldn’t find one, he went online and created a browser extension that automatically finds available coupons for your items while you’re online shopping.
Turns out, lots of people were having the same problem, but Ryan’s browser extension wasn’t an immediate hit. He struggled to get investments at first, but people kept signing up organically and passing it on via word of mouth.
Once he realised that he needed to appeal to retailers as well as consumers, everything changed.
By 2017, his extension had been downloaded over 5 million times, and he’d raised over $40 million in revenue. Honey reached a peak when it was acquired by Paypal for $4 billion cash.
With this approach to finding a business idea, you need to identify something in your life that you are dissatisfied with. Then, think about how to fill the gap.
Once you have your idea, see if others share your pain and frustration. If they do, you’re on the right track.
Your idea expands on your passion in a business-savvy way
It’s risky to pursue a business idea driven by a personal passion. That’s because, in this scenario, you’re least likely to take an unbiased approach.
That said, if you can strategically work your passion into a business-savvy endeavour, there’s no reason why you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
In fact, leveraging your existing skills is one of the fastest ways to start a business. If you already have a robust skill set, why not capitalise on it? The key is narrowing your passion into a specific focus.
For example, writing is a broad category. People who are passionate about writing a book are often quite different from those who are passionate about creating blog posts.
You need to whittle your broad category down into smaller business ideas.
In this case, writing can be broken out into the following categories:
- Technical writer
- Book editor
- Public relations
- Grant writer
- Blog writer
- Research article writer
- Film critic
- Social media specialist
- Greeting card writer
From there, you can begin ideating business ideas. To dip your toe in the water, you can try freelancing part-time or as a side hustle to see what type of writing style suits you best. If you’re already confident in your subcategory, you can look into businesses in your area of expertise.
This is exactly what Chris Englert did when she decided to turn her passion for writing into publishing a book and creating travel hiking blogs. She started EatWalkLearn.com because she was curious about where some local hiking trails in Denver went. She’d already been writing a travel blog as a hobby but decided to invest her time in creating a hiking blog to fulfil a need.
Turns out, there wasn’t a reliable public resource that provided information about these trails. After launching, she realised just how many people were searching for information about hiking in Denver, and created a second blog called DenverByFoot.com.
In this iteration, she optimised for SEO and keywords to appease the search engines and drive more traffic to her site.
“When I first flirted with the idea that I could make money by walking and hiking, people simply didn’t think it was possible,” says Chris. “But I kept digging.”
Think about what you’re passionate about and then break it down into narrow categories. From there, study how you can turn your passion into a successful business opportunity by researching those that have done the same. If there’s a demand, proceed.
Research and analyse market trends
You don’t need to solve a problem or turn a passion project into a booming business. As long as you find a way to utilise your skill set effectively, you can start a business.
Start by checking out the market trends. Analyse the insights and data to see what ideas are flourishing and which are floundering. Use these tools to aid your search:
Google Trends is a free platform that allows you to see what topics and stories are currently the most popular. It’s like taking a sneak peek into the consumer mindset to see what people are talking about. You can filter the trending stories by location, industry type, audience type, and more.
Twitter lists current trends on their homepage. You can filter by country-specific trends or search on a global scale.
Social Mention analyses content from over one hundred sites and collates it into an easy-to-navigate list. You can search for general trending topics or by a specific term. It also populates influencer data so that you can see a list of people who regularly post about a specific topic or trend.
If we search for the term “coffee cup”, we can see it was mentioned 1232 times today (206 times on the web and 1026 on social media).
Based on the first several mentions, it seems “reusable coffee cup” and “sustainable coffee cup” are the most popular.
These are only a few of the hundreds of resources available to help you conduct market research.
Once you have ideas locked down, study successful entrepreneurs and read their origin stories. How did they come up with their winning ideas? What steps did they take during their own research process? Take this knowledge and replicate the parts of their stories that lead to success.
Don’t just stop at one idea. You should create a robust list of ideas so that you can whittle them down further in the validation process.
Top Tip: Learn how to make sure your business idea fills a need, solves a problem and is in demand in our guide on how to conduct market research for your business idea 📌
Step 2: Apply what you learned to your own life and skill set
Step one was all about conducting marketing research and curating ideas that could work. Step two is about how to split the best ideas from the rest and ensure that they’ll have a fighting chance.
Identify gaps in the market where there’s an unsolved or emerging need
Look at the competition thoroughly to see if there’s a need for your business idea.
Let’s say one of your ideas from step one is to create a posture-correcting tool. Perhaps you sit at a computer all day for work and have realised you need a solution to combat bad posture. Surely, you can’t be the only one experiencing this.
In step one, you would have analysed the market trends and found that posture-correcting devices are a hot topic. Many companies already produce posture-correcting devices, ranging from portable posture-correcting braces to electronic devices that buzz every time you slouch.
This doesn’t mean you can’t proceed with your idea, but it does mean that the market is highly competitive and you would need to find a unique angle.
To do just that, you’ll need to further analyse the market and join the conversation.
Join the conversation
Use the aforementioned online tools to scour the internet for conversations about your topic.
If we search for “posture correction” in Google Trends, we can see the highest interest in the UK is England and “neck” and “back brace” are the highest trending related topics.
Repeat this process on as many online tools as possible. This will help you chart a detailed analysis of:
- Where there is a strong need for your idea;
- What the specific audience pain points are;
- The related topics, and;
- How the available solutions perform.
Next, join the communities and groups related to your topic. Whether it be LinkedIn, Facebook, Subreddits, or another platform, make sure to join and follow so that you get consistent updates.
This will help you to stay apprised of the latest developments. It will also give you a chance to discover who your target audience is, which will help you build customer personas down the line.
Next, start posting your own pain points and desires to start a conversation. Get involved with the back and forth to uncover even more insights and data about the products and your audience.
The more first-hand information you can obtain, the better positioned you’ll be when creating a unique value proposition (UVP). Nothing is more powerful than truly understanding your target market and their needs.
Now that you’re familiar with your target audience, you can create content that you know will resonate with them.
For example, you could write a blog post that compares the top posture-correcting devices on the market. At the bottom of the post, you could write a section that plainly identifies missed opportunities with these products to see how the audience responds.
If many people are in agreement, that’s a sign that there is a need you can fill.
From there, you can begin building out your UVP based on this feedback. Then, continue to promote through blogging, lead magnets, landing pages, podcast guest spots, social media posts, video content and more.
This content should be centred around UVP to gauge if there is a demand. The idea is to attract an initial audience that will help you iron out your idea and form a more relevant solution.
The best part? It’s free. Before you even spend a penny creating your product, you are validating it with content. By the time you’re ready to go to market, you’ll already have an audience ready to buy.
Top Tip: Using social media in your marketing is crucial in today’s digital world. Learn best practices by reading our guide on how to build a social media marketing strategy 💻
Who better to ask about your target market than the experts who share your industry space?
Interview them to find out more about their process for launching their own business. What pain points did they attempt to solve? What would they have done differently?
If you’ve been a consistent blogger and have a decent following, ask them if they would consider giving you a quote. This way, they can be featured in front of your audience and you can boost your brand authority. It’s a win-win.
This is a great way to network with industry leaders in your target market and build initial brand awareness.
Top Tip: A strong brand helps you attract customers and create advocates. Learn how to keep customers happy with our guide on how to build a brand customers love 💯
How to successfully start a small business
The best way to start a small business is by taking one step at a time. Start small, test the market and see if there is a growing demand for your product or service.
If you’re successful, create a detailed business plan that outlines who your target market is and how you will reach your targets. From there, curate a go-to-market strategy (GTM) to attract your ideal customers.
This includes determining your target market, mapping your customer journey, defining your positioning, generating interest and using data.
Top Tip: A business plan can help you stay focused during the ups and downs of starting a business. Learn everything you need to know in our complete guide on how to write a business plan 💡
Supplement your GTM with a comprehensive content marketing strategy to build brand awareness and drive traffic to your value proposition.
By creating a detailed business plan, GTM and content marketing strategy, you give yourself the best chance for a successful launch and ongoing growth.
Then, register your business so that you can market yourself as a legitimate, professional venture. This step involves choosing your company formation type and deciding how you want to structure your business.
Top Tip: Choosing your ideal business structure involves deciding things like how much control you want within your business formation, your liability preferences, and how you want to pay taxes. Learn everything you need to know about your options in our guide on how to register your business in the UK 🌟
You’ll also want to get a business bank account which will help you separate your personal and business finances and keep you organised.
As you launch, also consider familiarising yourself with small business accounting tips. This will help to ensure you identify, record, measure and interpret the financial health of your business accurately. If you don’t feel confident in teaching this to yourself, talk with a small business accountant or bookkeeper to guarantee you don’t miss a beat.
Finally, make sure you look after your mental health and your physical health. Working for yourself can lead to loneliness, especially as a freelancer or a business owner who works remotely. As this is quite common, there are plenty of tools you can turn to for support.
It’s important to create a lifestyle where social connections are present and part of your routine. Social connections elicit positivity and contribute to your overall well-being.
Also, make sure you take a break and go on a short walk several times a day. This is a healthy exercise for both your body and your mind.
Top Tip: Learn more about how to build success by staying productive, active and healthy in our complete guide to working for yourself 🎨
Masterclass: How to create an innovative business idea
Building a successful business starts with a solid idea. How do you make sure your idea is right for you and for your potential customers?
In this Masterclass, you’ll hear from our panel who have many years’ experience launching and supporting new businesses. They’re keen to help you convert your ideas into a real and successful business.
Our Events Manager Cuan Hawker chairs this webinar. He’s joined by our speakers:
- Andy Mindel
- Debbie Clarke
Founder and Happy Business Strategist at debbiedooodah
You’ll learn How to research your market, assess the competition and figure out your startup costs.
When starting a business, avoid rushing to market with an idea that may not work. Instead, take your time to identify a need, ideate a solution to a common problem and/or transfer your passion into a profit.
Once you pick a worthwhile industry or trend, conduct thorough market research. Familiarise yourself with your target market, join the conversation and uncover common threads. Decide where you can gain a competitive edge and then create content to validate your UVP.
After you choose a valid idea in the profession of your choice, register your business, obtain the appropriate licences, create a business plan and go-to-market strategy and promote yourself creatively.
Don’t forget to look after your financial, mental and physical health. Stay social, active and engaged. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the ride.
Read more from our business startup series:
1.1 How to start a business in the UK: 10 steps to build from scratch
1.2 How to find the perfect name for your small business
1.3 How to register a business? A simple guide
1.4 How to start a business without capital
1.5 10 ways to fund your business
1.6 How to create a business plan: 9 things to consider when starting
Photo by Vlada Karpovich, published on Pexels