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In-Demand Local Business: How to Start Your Own in 2024

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Want to be your own boss and make a difference in your community? Starting an in-demand local business in the UK could be your calling. Not only do you boost the economy and create jobs, but you also get flexibility and freedom that many traditional jobs can’t offer.

Did you know that in 2023, there were an estimated 5.5 million private-sector businesses in the UK? A staggering 99% of these businesses are small to medium-sized enterprises (or SMEs). Right now, the UK market is ripe for growth in areas like skilled trades (think electricians and handymen), health and wellness services, pet care, e-commerce, tech, and eco-friendly businesses. 

We’ve already covered how to start a small business or online retail store. However, this post dives deeper into in-demand local services you could tap into. Plus, we’ve slipped in a few quick wins to start from the comfort of your home.

How to make an in-demand local business happen

There are many reasons why you might decide to start your own business. Maybe you don’t feel satisfied at work, or you’ve been laid off unexpectedly. The truth is that starting a business is hard, but there are a few shortcuts you can take. Plus, there’s every chance you have the skills required in the UK, so why not get out there and share them?

First up, do your research 

The first logical step for starting a local business or venture is researching your area. Exploring what the people around you need is how you create the demand! Put yourself in their shoes and think about any potential areas you could fill.

For example, is the area becoming popular with young families? There may be a spike in childcare requirements, which is something that can be done from home. Then, in the next 10-15 years, there’s bound to be a massive demand for driving instructors. Let your brain run wild, as thinking ahead can pay off in the long run!

If you’re stuck, then we’ve done a little bit of research for you. So, keep reading to explore some of the best in-demand businesses you can start from home or locally, plus some of the most coveted sectors you could consider.

Some business ideas with local potential in the UK

Live out in the sticks, have responsibilities at home or need flexibility? This is where running your own business can come in handy. Being a social media influencer might be out of reach these days, but similarly, deciding how to use your skills effectively to get noticed can be a tall order. 

The truth is, there are a lot of fresh businesses out there that need help from contractors and casual staff. The same goes for local people who need a little extra helping hand around the house. There’s never been a better time to start a business in the UK, with many sectors perfect for tapping into local demand. Let’s get a little more insight with this handy list…

  • Look after people’s pets: With a nation of animal lovers, services like pet walking, dog grooming, and pet sitting are consistently sought-after.
  • Champion eco-friendly products: Offer sustainable alternatives, upcycled goods, or eco-conscious services to align with the UK’s increasing environmental awareness.
  • Use your existing experience: Share your local knowledge and passions by organising guided tours, host skills-based workshops, or plan special community events.
  • Offer specialised cleaning: Consider in-demand services like oven cleaning, window cleaning, or gutter cleaning, often overlooked by larger cleaning companies.

The cheapest businesses to start from home

Fancy going it alone but don’t have any money to invest upfront? These home-based business ideas keep the start-up costs super low, so you can focus on building your empire on a shoestring budget.

  • Admin or marketing skills? You could support companies remotely with tasks like administration, email management, or social media management. Create sparkly graphics with Canva and use free scheduling tools like Hootsuite to manage accounts and watch your client list grow.
  • Expert in a field? Online courses and workshops may be your key to success. Sites like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning can let you cash in on language, art, and marketing skills, to name just a few.
  • Can you rank on the first page? Businesses are competing for online space and ranking. If you can provide high-quality content creation or proofreading services, you might be on a winning streak.
  • Get blogging: Share your passion for whatever you like in a WordPress blog. Build a following, then connect with affiliate programs like Awin or CJ Affiliate to recommend products and earn commission.
  • Got ‘the eye’? Try selling physical or digital products through a Shopify store website, social media or online marketplaces. If you want to do it without stock, then explore starting a dropshipping business.

Many of these tools offer free plans with basic features. As your business grows, you might consider upgrading to paid plans with more advanced capabilities.

Most successful small business ideas in the UK

Sometimes, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Tried, tested, and working – these businesses are crushing it across the UK. Maybe one’s got your name on it?

  • Home improvement services: People are fixing up, not moving out. Can you build, mend, or make things beautiful?
  • Food-related businesses: We’re a nation of foodies, but there’s more than restaurants to run. Push the boat out with speciality baking, vegan meal prep, or a coffee van in your local park. 
  • Personal care and support: Providing support for the elderly is in demand. Companionship, errands, and just being a friendly face can make a massive difference.
  • Wellness and fitness: Gyms aren’t for everyone. Could you get people moving in new ways? Online classes, jogging groups, or teaching something super niche.

The 10 most profitable businesses to start in the UK

  1. The fixer-upper: Got a knack for repairs? Become the go-to handyman (or handywoman!) in your area. From leaky taps to wonky shelves, people always need something fixed.
  2. The wellness warrior: Help people get fit and healthy by offering personal training and fitness classes or creating a healthy local meal prep service.
  3. The petsitter: Turn your love for furry friends into a business. The pet care market is big news, so harness dog walking skills, pet sitting, and even gourmet dog treats.
  4. The tech wizard: Do you have coding skills or know how to design websites? Businesses of all sizes need help with their tech glitches and online presence.
  5. The sage: Share your expertise! Create online courses, offer tutoring services, or become a consultant in your specialist area.
  6. The planet protector: Start an eco-friendly cleaning service, sell sustainable products, or become an upcycling advocate.
  7. The brand builder: Graphic designers, copywriters, and photographers – if you’ve got the creative skills, businesses will pay for them. Create a profile on Upwork and get ready to create.
  8. The social media growth hacker: Know how to make Instagram and TikTok posts go viral? Help businesses beat the algorithm to get noticed on social media.
  9. The click and seller: Set up an online store on Etsy, Shopify or eBay and let your creativity (or peachy product finds) do the selling.
  10. The home chef: If you love cooking up a storm but are a bit scared of a high-octane kitchen, why not do it on your terms? This could range from being a private chef to supper clubs at your own home or rented venue.

FAQs

Do I need a license to start a business in the UK?

Not always. Most businesses in the UK don’t require a general business license. However, certain activities like selling food, playing music, or offering personal care services may need licenses or permits. It’s best to check the GOV.UK license finder tool or contact your local council to find out whether you need to apply for anything.

How can I find customers for my local business?

Start by focusing on your immediate community. Attend local events, network with other businesses, and use social media platforms popular in your area, like Facebook groups. Offer excellent service and encourage word-of-mouth referrals. Consider local advertising options like flyers or targeted online ads.

What resources are available to help me start a business in the UK?

The UK offers solid support for new businesses. Start by researching the UK government website, then consult local councils, which often have business support programs. Organisations like the Prince’s Trust offer mentorship and potential funding for young entrepreneurs. Don’t hesitate to seek out free or low-cost workshops and webinars to build your business development skills.

The takeaway

Of course, every budding entrepreneur faces challenges. You’ll need to stand out from the crowd, put effort into getting your business noticed, and even arm wrestle for startup funding. Work-life balance can also get blurry when you’re running the show.

But here’s the good news: the potential of having an in-demand local business outweighs any drawbacks. The UK has a strong economy and loves a good idea. UK government and local communities offer support programs for small businesses. The winning formula is simple: pair a unique business idea that satisfies a genuine need and with your dedication, clever marketing, and adaptability, and you’ve got a recipe for a thriving local business.

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