More and more people are becoming their own boss (which isn’t surprising when 82% of self-employed people say “life is better”), so if you’ve been considering starting your own business, why not make 2019 the year you take the plunge?
And if you’re looking for the perfect idea you’re in the right place, as we’ve got all the business inspiration you could need.
From exclusive interviews with start-ups and industry experts to extensive research looking at all current industry trends, we’ve scoured low and high to bring you the most exciting opportunities for the year ahead.
Covering everything from low-cost and potentially part-time businesses like microblading to topical trends like Kintsugi and ‘living with less’ to tap into, there’s something for every would-be entrepreneur.
Below is a quick summary of all 13 ideas. To read the in-depth review of each idea, click the links under each heading.
Startups.co.uk’s 13 best business ideas for 2019 are:
1. Plant-based foods
2019 is going to see veganism (and other plant-based diets) truly go mainstream.
At the top of many news agendas and with Mintel naming ‘evergreen consumption’ as one of its key food trends, the nation is obsessed with everything #plantbased.
And with plant-based protein a growing market and a new shift towards ‘masculine plant power’, there’s plenty of opportunities for new businesses to capitalise on some less-exploited areas of the trend.
Read the full article on plant-based foods.
2. Plastic alternatives
Thanks to that alarming episode of BBC nature documentary Blue Planet II, the UK is finally making some headway in the war against single-use plastic.
So whether it’s developing recyclable alternatives to plastic products (like Ooho’s edible water bottle) or a more tech-savvy, app-based approach to help people reduce their plastic waste, 2019 is the year to rethink plastic.
Read the full profile on plastic alternatives business ideas.
3. Living with less
It’s 10 years since Airbnb was founded, but the global sharing economy has continued to grow and evolve, giving consumers the opportunity to share nearly anything imaginable.
Now, encouraged by an increasing trend for minimalism, people are using the sharing economy to borrow things they would previously have bought.
This growing trend for ‘living with less’ is creating new communities of borrowers and sharers that businesses can capitalise on.
Read the full profile on the sharing economy and the growing trend of living with less.
4. Bespoke beauty
Following last year’s business idea for ‘inclusive beauty’, this year, the trend is going one step further to become even more tailored and customisable for each individual.
From custom shampoo and conditioner for your particular hair type to skincare products with thousands of possible colour, fragrance and base combinations, ‘bespoke beauty’ has been deemed the number one beauty trend for 2019.
And with the UK’s health and beauty industry set to be worth £27bn by 2022, it’s a market well worth start-ups tapping into.
Read the full article on bespoke beauty business ideas.
We know that lifestyle trends are a great place to look for business inspiration (in the past we’ve covered huge trends hygge and lagom).
But this year we’re looking even further afield than Scandinavia for ideas, and have gone all the way to Japan – and specifically the 15th-century art form and philosophy of Kintsugi.
The art of making broken things beautiful, kintsugi’s principles – which originated mainly around pottery initially, but can be applied to all manner of products – should strike a real chord in 2019 when upcycling and the circular economy is becoming increasingly important.
Read the full profile on kintsugi.
6. Digital detox
Let’s face it, we’re all addicted to our smartphones, and it’s not good for us.
Fortunately, the first step to beating addiction is to admit it, and all of a sudden, consumers are very keen to disconnect.
Big corporations such as Apple and Google are getting in on the action with dashboards that help users monitor and manage their screen time, while other companies are creating getaways to help people cut down on screen time.
We predict 2019 will be the year of the digital detox, and there are plenty of opportunities for new start-ups to help people reduce the use of their digital devices.
Read the full profile on the digital detox trend.
7. Macramé and houseplants
If you’re looking for an interior or craft-based business idea, it’s time to look back to the 70s – yes, really.
With houseplants an ever-growing trend (as more and more people, particularly millennials, live without gardens) – macramé plant hangers have become the perfect insta-worthy solution to display city dwellers’ leafy lovelies.
With retailers like Habitat and Ikea already getting in on the action, 2019 is the perfect time for entrepreneurs to create products or services for plant-loving or crafty creatives.
Read the full profile of the 70s-inspired trend of macramé and houseplants.
8. American sports
It’s been over a century since the first game of American football was played on UK soil between two teams from the US Navy.
Though newspaper reports from the time predicted the game would never take off, the sport is now more popular than ever, with several NFL games set to take place in the capital next year. And that’s not all: London will also play host to official games from the MBL and NBA in 2019.
With this in mind, an American sports start-up could be set to knock it out of the park in 2019.
Read the full article on American sports business ideas.
9. Online coaching and consultancy
Recent years have seen UK consumers fall in love with online, on-demand services.
Taking this to the next level, in 2019 consumers will turn to the internet for traditionally face-to-face services they previously wouldn’t have considered accessing online.
Utilising video links and live chats, everything from doctors appointments to divorce proceedings to sports coaching is becoming available from remote experts.
There’s ample opportunity for entrepreneurs here – whether providing freelance expertise or reworking an old-fashioned process online.
Read the full profile on becoming an online coach or consultant.
10. Inclusive children’s products
A Reflecting Realities report published by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education found that only 1% of children’s books in the UK had a BAME main character in 2017, and the toy market continues to be incredibly un-diverse.
With high-profile organisations and media calling for change, 2019 should be the year the children’s market finally starts to more adequately represent the diversity of the real world – which creates a real opportunity.