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24 business ideas to consider for your start-up

Thinking of going it alone over the next year? Let point you in the right direction

At first glance, it may not seem like a great time to start up a business. With the economy going downhill, going it be alone can be a scary prospect.

It has been said, though, that recession is good for business – as long as it's a good business. If you have decided to take the plunge this year, be brave. You might well be on to a winner.

And if you are one of the thousands of employees dreaming of escaping the nine to five grind and becoming your own boss, but you are still unsure of what sort of business you want to start up and how you can ensure the new venture is a success, you're in the right place. has compiled a list of 24 types of business you may want to start up in the next 12 months, with comprehensive advice on how to run your new firm. If you fancy being anything from an estate agent to a personal trainer, we will tell you how to go about making your business profitable.

Our guides describe what each business involves, who's it suited to, how much it costs, rules and regulations, what equipment and premises you need and much, much more.

Here are our 24 for this year

An eBay based business

With millions of potential customers just a couple of clicks away from your products, setting up an eBay store is a cheap, easy and massively appealing way to do business online.


The jobs market is only just starting to tread water after experiencing its toughest period in over a decade but some organisations are still recruiting. If you can come up with a refreshing alternative and play the game more intelligently you could carve out a recruitment niche


Helping other people run their business may seem daunting at first, but many budding entrepreneurs have the skills and experience to become first class consultants. Read our guide to see how you can go it alone.

Clothes shop

With such a wide range of clothes shops out there, you have several options when trying to tap into this huge market. Our guide shows how this business could be tailor-made for you.

Online business

During tough trading periods such as these, there is certainly a lot to be said for online business: low start-up capital and minimal running costs. Find out how to make your new business an online one.

Personal trainer

The media may tell us we are turning into a nation of coach potatoes, but Britain's gyms have experienced a 58% increase in membership over the past six years. Could you gain a very healthy profit margin by giving customers some one-on-one workouts?

Dating agency

Soaring divorce rates and the scarce social time enjoyed by hard-working employees has resulted in a large rise in the number of single people in the UK. However, like some sort of Cilla Black figure, you can match people up while making money at the same time by starting a dating agency. Find out how.


Whether the occasion is jovial or sad, people are rarely unhappy to receive flowers. While opening a florists may be the result of a gardening hobby, you can also make a success of this business if you are new to the sector. Read our guide to see if you could make a blooming good go of it.


Whether it's catering for a major sporting event or a low-key wedding, the need for food and drink at gatherings doesn't doesn't go out of fashion. Find out how to set up your own catering company.

Courier company

If you need a parcel delivered quickly, then Royal Mail simply doesn't do the trick. With many businesses needing a fast, efficient delivery service, why not get on your bike and start a courier company up?


If you have a love of dogs and don't mind tripping over the odd leash, then why not turn your passion into a viable – if quirky – business. Read our guide to find out how to make your new business a walk in the park.

Travel agency

Following a disastrous stretch in the early noughties, the travel industry is getting back on its feet. With travel becoming cheaper and a constant supply of sun-starved British tourists wanting to escape to the beach, becoming a travel agent could prove to be profitable. We explain how.

Wine bar

If you fancy something a bit more upmarket than your local boozer, why not start up your very own wine bar? With the popularity of wine rising sharply in recent years, if you have a thirst for profits as well as red or white, this could be the venture for you.

Gift shop

Boosted by the tourist trade, gift shops can be a very popular business to own. Why not get wrapped up in the idea and start up your own?


Whether you just offer a simple bed and shared bathroom or full en-suite luxury, somewhere for the weary traveller to stay for the night is always in demand. Check out our guide to find out more.

Antique business

Although Lovejoy and his wild mullet added a bit of glamour to the antiques world, most people regard the sector as the preserve of fusty shops with pensionable owners. However, the antiques business, although time consuming, can prove to be very rewarding. Read on to find out more.

Driving school

Whether it took you two attempts or 20 to pass your driving test, you wouldn't have got there without a driving instructor. If you can put up with the exams and novice drivers, this line of work can be rewarding. Read our guide to help you drive your way to success.

Photography business

When your school photo was being taken, you probably gave little thought to the fact that the photographer would soon be off to another job, maybe a wedding, to make ends meet. If you have a passion for photography, get a clear picture of what's involved in setting up your own firm.


Could you cut it as a hairdresser? From rules and regulations to how much your colours and combs will cost, this guide will set you on your way.

Landscape gardeners

If you are reading this while stuck in a stuffy office and dream of working in the great outdoors, this could be the business for you. Gardening programmes have helped raise the industry's profile, with the sector now worth £3 billion a year. Green fingered entrepreneurs read on.

Day nursery

With both parents increasingly keen to return to work after having children, day nurseries are also vital to many families who can't afford to give up a regular income to stay at home. Read on to find out more.


Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or just don't fancy cooking, eating out is big business with a huge variety of restaurants now inhabiting British high streets. From hygiene to humus, this guide will tell you everything about starting and running your own eatery.


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