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Small Business Tips

The Best Small Business Ideas for 2019

Nigel Graber
Self publishing is easier than ever

The word on everyone’s lips in the UK is Brexit. It’s meant uncertainty for business. But that hasn’t dented Brits’ enthusiasm for small-business ideas. Little wonder – since over 80% of self-employed people believe life is better that way.Have you been mulling over ditching the boss, improving your work-life balance and working from Costa? Here’s our guide to the best small-business ideas in the UK for 2019.

What are the best small business ideas for 2019?

If ‘best’ means most likely to succeed, ideas that target a huge gap in the market would seem a good place to start.

Inclusive children’s toys and books

Go on: name one children’s book that features a black, Asian or minority-ethnic (BAME) main character. Tricky, isn’t it?A recent report from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education found that only one percent of children’s books published in the UK in 2017 had a BAME central character. The toy market has similar diversity issues.

The media are calling for change. So there could be huge market potential. After all, the UK toy industry is worth around £3.4bn a year, according to data analysts NPD. On top of that, you could be walking around with a well-deserved halo above your head.How about dolls with a range of body sizes or hair textures? Multi-ethnic books? Or playground equipment built for children with different needs?


Microblading has nothing to do with skating. No, we’re talking eyebrows. Microblading is less permanent than eyebrow tattoos.Microblading lasts around two years, and it’s already doing well. It even comes with lucrative spin-offs in the shape of micro feathering and nanoblading.British women spend over £200 a year on their eyebrows, according to the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology. So expect microblading to be a huge business opportunity in the UK in 2019.

Just clear out that spare room and away you go.

American sport

Slightly left-field, but bear with us. American football is a great small-business idea for the UK. It has over four million ‘avid’ followers over here. And a few NFL (National Football League) games are set to be played in London this year, plus top-level baseball and basketball.

You could hit a home run by selling American sports gear from home. Or how about an American sports-themed bar? Or even a website for US sports geared around a British audience?

Remote expertise

You name it, you can probably deliver it online. The UK loves remote, on-demand services that once would have been delivered in person. Can you set up video links and live chat? You could hold court on just about anything from dancing lessons to divorce proceedings.

Surveys for cash

More of a top-up to your existing income, this one. It’s a solid low-risk online business opportunity that could help with UK university fees.These days, marketing is king. So companies are happy to pay for your opinions. Sign up with a site such as i-Say. When your survey alerts pop into your inbox, you can whiz through the questions. Cash will magically appear in your account.


OK, so everyone’s a blogger these days. But not everyone’s good at it. Blog about a specialist subject or hobby and promote it to high heaven on social media. Then start working on your advertising and affiliate income.

Make stuff at home

Yes, we’re talking about crafts. If you’re at all handy, you can probably create things at home. Things like pots, jars, clothes, and ornaments. There’s no shortage of markets to target — try eBay, Amazon or Etsy.

Content writing

British business has an insatiable appetite for web content. Google loves it, too. Regular blogs prove that a website is alive and open for business. But business owners have better things to do than create web content.

That’s where you come in. With a moderate amount of writing ability and a ton of research, you could write about anything.

What are the most interesting online business opportunities in the UK?

A female worker is sampling the alcohol produced from the copper distillery boiler used to produce gin

Gin distillery

Home businesses don’t get much more fun than distilling your own alcohol. You’ll also never be short of Christmas presents for those awkward aunties.The market for craft alcohol has gone crazy over the last few years. So who could blame you for wanting a shot of the action?

If you want to create your own craft gin, you’ll need the right licences and some premises with bottle storage and room to grow. You’ll also need a still and some proven routes to market. Farmers’ markets and country fairs work well. Oh, and make sure you have an engaging back story so you stand out from the crowd.

There’s money to be made. Goosnargh Gin, for example, launched in October 2018 in Lancashire to rave reviews. “It’s going really well. In fact, we’d sold 300 bottles by Christmas,” said Director Richard Trenchard.

Selling car parts online

Niche is nearly always good, and an online parts business for obscure vehicles could be a winner. Focus on, say, 1960s Land Rovers, and you’ll have enthusiasts the world over bookmarking your site like crazy.

Sell through eBay, Amazon or on your own website. Best of all, you can do this from just about anywhere with a warehouse going spare. Dordogne or the Med, anyone?

Plant-based eating

You can be sure the trend for plant-based eating won’t stop at Veganuary. Foodies are becoming more aware of how meat is farmed and are opting for vegan diets.

Even Mintel, the world’s leading marketing-intelligence agency, has said that ‘evergreen consumption’ is a key food trend. Make no mistake, veganism is becoming mainstream.

What kind of small business could capitalise on the UK’s love for lentils, nuts and chickpeas? Well, how about a vegan restaurant, café or food truck? A subscription-box business? Maybe even an online vegan clothing store?

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Plastic not-so-fantastic

We all know the oceans are full of plastic. It’s hurting the wildlife and destroying our Earthly paradise. The good news is that the UK is starting to make a dent in the plastic mountain. Recyclable alternatives to plastic products, such as Ooho’s edible water bottle are on the rise. So how could you cash in?

If you’re already set to launch a small business in the UK, you could simply ensure your packaging is recyclable or biodegradable. You could set up a consultancy helping companies to reduce their plastic waste. Or you could create an app to help consumers cut back on plastic waste.


We live in an increasingly caring, sharing society. Think of Airbnb. People are keen to borrow, share and generally live with fewer possessions and less baggage.

A survey from the Warwick Business School found that over 60% of the UK’s population take part in the sharing economy. That’s a considerable increase of 60% since its first research 18 months earlier.

One business that’s taken the sharing economy to extremes is London-based Fat Llama. You can rent just about anything on there, from electric scooters to drones, campervans, pushchairs and pogo sticks. On a more niche level, Spinlister helps people find bikes, surfboards and snowboards.What niche product could you rent out, or encourage people to rent?


You might have heard of Hygge and Lagom – lifestyle trends from Scandinavia. Well, the new philosophy on the block is Kintsugi. It’s a 15th-century Japanese art form based around making broken things beautiful.Kintsugi began with pottery but has extended to furniture through the recent fashion for upcycling.

You could apply Kintsugi to necklaces, crockery, textiles or glassware. Or you could get all metaphorical and start a cosmetics business highlighting rather than covering up physical scars. Or maybe a website where people can share stories and help each other.

What are the most profitable work-from-home business opportunities in the UK?

If you’re more driven by profit, you have several proven small-business options to consider.

Day trading

Got some capital? You can put it to good use generating a passive income through investing. Experts say you should diversify (but not too much), invest in high-quality, growth companies, and never borrow to invest.

golden retriever with ball laying bed in hotel

Luxury pet care

More and more people are working from home. So they can keep cats and dogs. In the UK, 45% of households now own a pet. Between them, they’re spending over £4.5bn on their animals.Those owners are becoming ever more conscious of the level of care their pets enjoy when they’re not around. For many, luxury is the only acceptable standard.If you can match the owners’ high standards, you could start a business walking dogs in stunning locations or offering high-end pet care.


Freelance copywriting is distinct from content writing. It’s far more creative, and its job is to sell. If you’ve got a way with words and can sell your creative ideas to top ad agencies, you could be earning several hundred pounds a day.

Business coaching and consultancy

With the advent of the Internet, there’s now no need to meet clients face to face. If you have plenty of business expertise backed by theoretical knowledge (maybe an MBA?), you could offer expert coaching and support for business professionals at key points in their careers.

Get to it

Hopefully, there’s enough food for thought here if you want to start a small business in the UK in 2019. Working online, you can replicate just about any real-world business — usually far more cost-effectively and efficiently.

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