Every year here at Startups we reveal the top business ideas to start (read our pick of the best business ideas of 2018 here). And this year is no different.
As we start the new year, there are uncertain times ahead for the UK. But while none of us can control – dare we even say the word – Brexit, the UK small business landscape is still flourishing.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re looking for an idea with huge market potential – toy sales alone in the UK were worth £3.4bn last year – but also the chance to start a business that’s helping to create a positive impact on society, look no further.
Read the full article on starting an inclusive children’s products business.
A near-permanent solution to eyebrow woes and a great business opportunity, microblading is a beauty trend with a lot of business mileage.
A similar procedure to tattooing, microblading has been developed specifically for eyebrows, with results that last two years (rather than a lifetime).
With microfeathering and nanoblading looking like lucrative spin-offs from this already flourishing trend, in 2019 brows will mean big business.
And considering market research company NPD’s findings that British women spend £200 on average a year on eyebrow grooming, microblading and related treatments could be an avenue well worth pursuing.
Read the full profile on microblading.
12. Luxury pet care
While we have covered pet-related business opportunities before, in 2019 pets are still big business – huge, in fact. 45% of households in the UK own a pet and, in 2017, a whopping £4.62bn was spent on pets and related products in the UK.
But what’s new for 2019? Well, this will be the year our pets are truly pampered. As owners lead increasingly busy lives, they’re becoming more conscious of the standard of care their pets are kept in while they’re not around – and anything short of luxury is, for many, no longer acceptable.
From dog-walking through beautiful locations to premium pet care businesses, there’s a gap in the market for entrepreneurs who can meet owners’ high standards. Think childcare for pets!
Read the full profile on starting a luxury pet care business.
13. Personal health apps
In 2019, smartphone apps for healthcare are giving people the power to take control of their health, without the need for a trip to the doctor.
As well as saving money and democratising healthcare, these apps are lifting the burden on our overstretched NHS.
Doing everything from helping us manage existing conditions and prevent new ones to enabling remote face-to-face consultations, the mobile medical apps market is predicted to be worth $11.2bn by 2025.
Read the full profile on personal health app opportunities.
Is there an idea you think we’ve missed that’s going to be huge in 2019? Leave a comment or let us know on Twitter @StartupsTowers.
Or, if you’re looking for further inspiration, why not check out last year’s business ideas (including algae and the Muslim lifestyle economy).