With more of us choosing to become self-employed than ever before, we are always looking out for ideas for profitable small businesses that are not only easy to set up, but are also easy to manage all by yourself.
The reasons why more people are looking at self-employment as a sole trader or solo entrepreneur as a viable option to paid employment are many. It could be that you are facing redundancy at work and this has given you the opportunity to pursue a business idea that you may have had in the back of your mind for a long while. It could be that you are about to retire, but you still think you have a good few working years left in you yet and not ready for your pipe and slippers!
No matter what age you are, starting up your first business can seem like quite a daunting idea. The thought of having to run it single-handed is also a consideration not to be taken lightly. From the simple planning on paper stage it can seem like an impossible dream. However, in reality you may be able to find a niche business idea that is easy to set up and run. This could turn out to be one of the most exciting times of your life.
Sole trader or company formation
How you set yourself up in business on your own can take two forms: as a sole trader or you could form a limited company. The choice to form a limited company is a very good idea because you can run it by yourself as the sole owner and director, plus if you want your business to be taken seriously by others, then forming a limited company is your first step on that path. In fact, you are not alone in your ambitions as the UK has been ranked as the number one country in Europe for entrepreneurs starting their own business.
Every business starts out with an idea. This is where every business ever formed began, so you need to start off with a good idea. If you are not sure exactly about the type of business you want to start, then we can help you. We have taken a look at some small business ideas that have incredible potential for a sole owner to operate by themselves.
Food, Drink and Health Market
Food, drink and well being are hot right now. Sales in these sectors are being fuelled a lot by the convenience of people being able to shop for them online from the comfort of their own homes. The online food and drink market is absolutely huge and is expected to grow even larger over time. Barclays did a survey in 2015 that suggested the convenience food sector will grow by 30% by 2020, and their predictions so far are right on track.
More people are going online to find unique food and drink products, so if you are into producing artisan cheeses using locally sourced ingredients, or make an apple and elder presse from your own orchard of old English apples, then you could attract a huge online audience with your offerings.
You may have a passion for growing your own veg. This can lead onto you creating a veg box scheme for local people who are too busy to shop for healthy food. As you grow you can expand you network to source supplies from fellow growers and allotment holders. You could even take it further to include a range of herbs, spices and cooking sauces options to add to the veg boxes so your customers have everything they need to make complete meals. You could include recipe cards and cooking tips for an extra personalised service.
If you have a talent for cooking, you could take your skills to your customers. People love to eat freshly prepared healthy food, so why not set up a street food stall in your local town to catch the lunchtime workers seeking a quick and healthy fix for lunch. You could go mobile and take your food to out of town industrial trading estates where workers are often a bit more isolated from cafes and high street sandwich shops.
You could set up a smoothie bar in your town that offers fresh and healthy smoothies and juices to make the most of the latest health craze and demands for specific superfood fruits, berries and herbs. Jumping on the healthy food and drink bandwagon is a great idea because there will always be a demand for fresh and healthy food or an artisan product using locally sourced natural ingredients.
Setting up and running your own e-commerce website is easier now that it has ever been. There are so many app and tool developments that make the job of building and maintaining your website so easy. Years ago you would have needed a masters degree in complicated maths and widgets to even be able to put a basic website together. Nowadays things have changed for the better, which makes it easier for an entrepreneur with a great idea to get a business off the ground.
E-commerce is probably one of the easiest types of business for you to run from home. There is no need to rent out office space or manufacturing equipment for a production line. No need to have a vast warehouse to store your products either in most cases.
For your e-commerce website to be successful, you need to do your homework first even before you go about setting up a website. You have to take some time to thoroughly research what you want to sell and who you are going to sell it to. This is your target audience. You will need to know your target audience inside out and have a thorough understanding of their wants, desires and needs and a solid plan about how you are going to deliver them a perfect solution.
Lets say for example that you know a lot of people who are too embarrassed to go to the chemist to buy certain products that they need. You already know what they want to buy, for example haemorrhoid cream. You can spare their blushes or the risk of running into their neighbours while in the chemist by selling embarrassing products online. There is a huge market for all sorts of embarrassing products sold online. I bet you could think of a few that you could sell. You may not even need to have anywhere to store your stock either if you go down the drop-shipping route where you act as the middle man for orders and get your customers deliveries shipped direct from the manufacturer.
Do you have marketable skills?
If you have some specialist training and experience that can be marketed, then you could offer your services on a freelance basis. There are lots of freelancers working on a B2B basis utilising their skills and qualifications, but on their own terms. Bookkeepers and accountants are just two examples of useful freelance services, but there is also a need for financial consultants, web designers, graphic designers, photographers, content writers and video producers too.
LinkedIn is a great place to market your freelance services to other businesses that are in need of your specialist skills. There are many other small business owner and sole traders that need help with lots of things within their business that they may not be too good at, or don’t have the time to manage by themselves. There are many business owners who cannot afford to hire permanent staff, so your freelance skills will come in very handy here. So you could find your niche helping other solo entrepreneurs to get their business off the ground.
No matter what business idea you decide to go with, your success will depend on your determination and drive to make it work. By going it on your own, you need a lot of resilience and the ability not crumble at the first issue or customer complaint you get.
Your willingness to jump in and start from scratch will mean that you are already half way there. Now it the time to get things started. Looking back in three or five years time to see how far you have come will be much better than sitting on an idea and continuing to work to make someone else rich.