What business to start in 2012: Entrepreneurs’ picks

Startups asked 10 of the UK’s top entrepreneurs what sort of company they would start if they had to do it all over again tomorrow. Here’s what they had to say…

Zef Eisenberg, founder of international sports nutrition brand Maximuscle:

“Firstly, I’d look at top-end luxury goods and brands. The emerging economies, such as China and India, are producing so many wealthy people that this has become a whole new growth market. These people want to celebrate their wealth and success, and what better way than luxury watches, bags, cars and prime London hotel holidays.”

Laura Tenison, founder of maternity and baby clothing company JoJo Maman Bébé:

“I would suggest budding entrepreneurs look to service industries, rather than ideas which require high levels of capital expenditure. This sort of business can be run from home and revenue can be reinvested without taking risk on stock.”

Jennie Johnson, founder of national children’s club chain Kids Allowed:

“I would stick to something I find interesting, ideally something that’s not discretionary spend and something in the service sector. There are still very few examples of companies doing customer service well, which leaves opportunities for companies to go into established sectors and shake things up a bit – as we did with childcare.”

Lucian Tarnowski, founder of social recruitment network BraveNewTalent:

“Am I allowed to say exactly what I’m doing today? That is my true answer. We are seeing the convergence of talent and technology. The impact of digital on the human capital industry will be vast in the next three years. 2012 will be a great year for BraveNewTalent!”

Rob Small, founder of browser-based game developer Miniclip:

“There is no question that it would have to be in the games industry again. The market is hotter than it has ever been, with Zynga’s recent IPO [initial public offering, or stock market flotation] in the US valued at $8bn. If I were to start a business tomorrow, it would probably be in educational games, an area that is widely overlooked.”

Charles Delingpole, co-founder of invoice marketplace Marketinvoice:

“I’d be looking at a business which transposed western models into emerging markets. There’s still a great deal of money to be made from transferring established western services and products into emerging economies. This ranges from the lack of estate agencies in Rio, to the absence of free range eggs in Singapore, to the quality of ice cream in Sao Paolo.”

Brent Hoberman, co-founder of late deals site lastminute.com and online designer furniture retailer mydeco.com:

“I’d be looking at one of three things: revolutionising manufacturing using 3D printer technologies; online education; or remote diagnostic apps for health.”

Adam Baker, founder of citizen journalism site Blottr:

“I am passionate about helping people discover and connect better, which is something we are looking at with Blottr. Like every entrepreneur I have tons of business ideas; most are currently centring around mobile, location and social.”

Luke Lang, co-founder of crowdfunding platform Crowdcube:

“If I were starting another business tomorrow it would again be in the crowdfunding space.  Crowdfunding as a phenomenon is still in its infancy, and I see opportunities every day about how to evolve and develop solutions to meet niches, markets and communities.”

Warren Bennett, co-founder of bespoke tailoring company A Suit That Fits:

“I would start a business providing brilliant customer service solutions for other businesses – through outsourcing, IT, training and consultancy. In these tough times, customers research their purchases thoroughly to ensure that they get real value for their money, and the businesses that listen and respond to the needs of their customers will do well.”


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