If like many people you’re thinking of starting your own business – read on! I want to give you lots of UK business ideas but I’m not going to only include the good stuff (although there is plenty) as it is important to stress that thoughtful research and preparation is the first step to starting a successful business! (My podcast episode 7 – Five Things You Need To Know Before Starting Your Creative Product Business – will help with that research).
It’s been a year like no other and small businesses have had to ride a storm of challenges. According to the Federation of Small Businesses – round 250,000 small businesses are expected to fold this year, with beauty and tourism ventures suffering badly – arguably having faced the toughest task of adapting to lockdowns and restrictions. Despite government support many businesses haven’t made it through.
However, this is a sector shaped by innovative entrepreneurs – we adapt! There are record numbers of new businesses predicted as the UK comes out of lockdown and if we take a look at figures for 2020 compared with 2019 we can see that this is a continuing trend – there were an extra 84,758 businesses set up in 2020!
This is equivalent to a 12.3 per cent increase year on year, which is the highest percentage growth since 2011 and the highest actual growth on record – this is heartening and exciting for our small independent business sector – if you’d like to read more about this go to this blog post.
Bricks and mortar
Small businesses have had to pivot to online selling over the last year for obvious reasons – physical shops have been unable to welcome customers in for the most part. As we come out of lockdown however I don’t see ‘bricks and mortar’ stores disappearing and especially not for small creative businesses – shopping local was on an upward trend anyway and that has just been bolstered by restrictions – customers want to support their local businesses.
There are many positives about running a physical shop – you get to know your customers and the local community including the local retail community and it might be why you wanted to start your own creative business in the first place – curating your creative space and connecting with people, customers, suppliers etc. If this is an option for you remember you are responsible for driving footfall through your store and to marketing it – people still need to know it’s there and what you offer, even when searching online. In my The State of Retail In 2021 podcast episode I expand my thoughts on this.
The flexibility that running an online store brings may be the deciding factor for you not to mentioned the success ecommerce is having right now. Online sales grew by 46% in 2020, compared to the previous year – the strongest increase since 2008, official figures show today. Within that, online food sales saw the greatest increase, growing by 79.3%, according to the Office for National Statistics. Online shopping is booming and that trend isn’t going to disappear once the UK has come out of lockdown.
An online shop also has much lower start-up costs and the ease and simplicity is very appealing with lots of affordable options for creating your own website. However – if you are not familiar with digital marketing and social media this is an area you need to focus on in order to make your online shop a success – it’s steep learning curve but will be worth it – I talk about this on my blog post How to Start A Successful Online Store and it’s also worth listening to my podcast episode on Driving Traffic To Your Website.
Subscription boxes are a brilliant concept and a wonderful way to launch an online business. They work on a recurring basis – so when someone signs up for your box, payment will be taken from their account each month (or quarterly / another frequency that you choose) until they cancel the subscription. For many businesses this work very well – for example flowers, cakes, beer, candles etc. Moira Fuller, subscription box entrepreneur and Founder of Subscription Box Academy wrote a blog post for me a few weeks ago – you’ll find it here.
Find out more
If you enjoyed this post, why not get my “Start Your Business” FREE toolkit – a collection of resources designed to get your business idea out of your head and into reality. The toolkit contains:
Start your business checklist – a step-by-step guide from idea to reality.
Where can you sell your products? A complete guide to the different selling platforms and marketplaces
Getting your products to your customers – A complete guide to your postage and courier options
Introduction to pricing – a mini-course on the importance of setting your prices correctly
Driving traffic to your website – an e-book on getting eyes on your business
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For more information about all three of my toolkits, click here.