With thoughts of uncertainty and despondency very much in our minds right now, it can be hard to remain focused on our big dreams and ambitions. However, if you dream of starting or expanding your own small business in 2021, then we want to help you to be successful.
A significant part of establishing a successful business is choosing a business which is right for the times. Keeping up with the latest business ideas and trends is always a sensible idea.
We have written this article to help anyone who is determined to make 2021 the year that they start working for themselves. You’ll find the small business ideas which can make that happen.
Key things to consider when you are coming up with a business idea are:
Where is the demand?
What am I knowledgeable about?
What am I good at?
What am I passionate about?
What else would I want to learn how to do?
How much time and money can I invest in it straight away?
How much income do I need it to generate?
How quickly will I need my business to be up and running?
Where is there most/ least competition?
Where can I stand out?
Due to the COVID-19 and global warming crises, unlike previous years, we have further factors to consider nowadays. This brings up many questions for those who are hoping to start their own small businesses, such as:
Will I need to be able to work remotely?
Will this business be essential?
Will this business be relevant?
Will this business help people?
Will this business be sustainable?
While we can’t predict the future, we can make suggestions based on our knowledge and experience, about which business ideas are likely to be successful over the coming years.
20 great small business ideas
If you are ready to become a small business owner, but don’t yet know what you want to do, here are the 20 top small business trends that we expect to see booming in 2021.
For people who have built up a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience in a particular industry or about a particular topic, then becoming an independent consultant can be both satisfying and lucrative. As a consultant, you will get to work for yourself and teach people about something you are passionate about. Whether it’s in the field of sustainability, marketing, human resources, social media, leadership or personal development, there are plenty of opportunities out there for skilled individuals who wish to share their secrets to success with others. One key area right now is in providing businesses with Brexit support to adjust to the new post-transition rules.
Read more: 6 opportunities for British business post-Brexit
2. Online reseller
The online reseller business is thriving, particularly amongst the younger demographic. Thanks to the resurgence of vintage fashion and sustainable thinking, reselling clothes (regardless of the time era they are from) has become an easy way for many people to make a bit of extra money on the side or to start their own small businesses. You can even use pre-existing apps like Depop and Vinted to make your resales, meaning that you will have extremely low start-up costs.
Read more: How to start a business on eBay and Amazon
Read more: Buy cheap, sell cheap: easy items to flip for cash
3. Online teaching
With our current global crisis having created an increased demand for online resources, online education has a larger-than-ever audience. If you have in-depth knowledge, excellent inter-personal skills and bags of confidence, then turning your hand at online tutoring for students or hosting your own online training course on a topic you are knowledgeable on could be a great business move in 2021.
4. Online bookkeeping
Since bookkeeping already relies on technology and isn’t really something which usually necessitates person to person contact, it is easily translatable to the remote digital sphere. Thus, if you are a qualified accountant or bookkeeper, why not make the break to work for yourself from home?
Read more: How to become an accountant
5. Medical courier service
Since the healthcare industry is currently expanding, setting up a medical courier service business could help you to assist people in your local community who need to receive prescriptions and equipment, but who aren’t leaving the house. If you’re a responsible driver with a clean record and your own suitable vehicle then becoming any kind of courier is always an option.
6. App developer
Even if you have only dabbled in app development before, if you are knowledgeable about the technology, then why not consider setting up your own small business as an app developer? We can’t imagine that smartphones will be going anywhere soon, so app development is still a strongly viable career. You could create your own apps, or market yourself to people who have the ideas, but not the skills.
Read more: How to develop a successful mobile app
7. Transcription service
If you have excellent typing skills and a good ear, then starting your own transcription businesses could be for you. Offering your services as a transcriber will allow you to work from home with the flexibility to work at times that suit you. If you do decide to take this on as a small business idea, then we do recommend getting yourself some sort of online qualification and choosing a field to specialise in, as this will help to improve your business prospects.
8. Professional organizer
Since Marie Kondo first emerged on the popular media scene, minimalism and hyper-organization have become increasingly popular home trends. If you love keeping your own home clean and organized, it might sound strange that someone could be willing to pay you to do it; however many people really struggle to declutter their own spaces, finding it hard to let go of possessions. If you are a someone who is highly organized, personable and fanatic abut folding, then you might just find your niche as a professional organizer.
9. Cleaning service
If you enjoy cleaning, you could easily turn this into a viable business in 2021. Depending on your ambitions, you might find that you get enough work to start with just through word of mouth in your local community. Alternatively, you might choose to invest in a few of your own cleaning supplies, a little bit of advertising, and even an employee or two, to take this business idea to the next level. To be competitive and stand out from other companies, consider offering additional specialist cleaning services such as exterior power washing.
10. Freelance copywriter
If you are a confident and flexible writer with some knowledge of marketing strategies, then you could find work as a freelance copywriter. As long as you have a good internet connection, and loquacious leanings, you will have the flexibility to work from anywhere – at home on your sofa or in a café in Barbados. In order to up-skill, you might even consider leaning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This would help you to increase your value in the digital marketing sphere.
Read more: How to become a freelance copywriter
Loving words and writing is not enough. You need to be switched on and consciously/subconsciously learning about yourself and the world at all times. And of course, you need to have to at least an initial understanding of the business world you’re entering. Different platforms, above and below the line, SEO, styles of copywriting. There’s a lot to embrace, more than simply writing.
11. Home care service
If you are caring, patient and resilient, then becoming a carer could be a satisfying career path for you. With the upper age range of our population expanding, there is likely to be much more work in this field over the next few years. By setting up your own home care service, you could create a business which is not only rewarding for you, but also helps to bring happiness and ease to others. Even if you have never been a healthcare professional, there are still many ways in which you can provide care for elderly people at home: you could provide them with companionship, deliver their groceries and medications, or even clean the house.
12. Translation service
Even though the translation industry was hit by the rapid decline of in-person meetings in 2021, the industry is set to rebound this year as business resumes and more companies than ever take their business online. Since there is an expanding global market for online businesses, we anticipate an increased demand for document translation and the translation of website content into multiple languages. If you want to create your own niche in the market, consider taking courses to increase your technical vocabulary in certain fields.
13. Digital marketing
With our growing obsession with the internet, digital marketing is now the number one priority for most businesses. For small and medium sized businesses without a large internal staff, it is a sensible decision to outsource this. If you are experienced in content marketing, SEO and pay-per-click or social media management, then setting up your own digital marketing business could be ideal.
Read more: 22 cheap digital marketing ideas for small business
14. Food truck
If you are an aspiring restauranteur or just a foodie who wants to spend their time creating good food to share, starting your own food truck is the 2021 business trend that could just get you salivating. With property rental prices so high and indoor dining currently so restricted, starting your own food truck is a fantastic way to share your food with the public and make a living doing something you love. No longer just associated with a greasy burger on the side of the motor-way, food trucks have really come into their own over the last few years and this industry is growing and, thanks to its mobility, set to travel far.
Read more: How to start a street food business
15. Lawn care service
As people seem to be increasingly busy with work and personal time becomes more precious, things like lawn care are no longer such a priority. Since, for most people, the prospect of walking up and down the garden with a mower seems monotonous and dull, they are often more than happy to pay someone else to take care of it for them. To start your own lawn-care businesses, all you need is a mower, a way to transport it, a passion for the outdoors and some clients.
16. Rideshare driver
If setting up a formal business seems too daunting right now, but you are still looking for a side-hustle from which you can earn some extra cash, then becoming a rideshare driver could be an ideal solution in 2021. Rideshare businesses such as Uber have made it easy for people to earn money in their free time as informal taxi-drivers. Since the only things you need are a clean licence and a clean vehicle, becoming a rideshare driver is a really simple way of having the benefits of being self-employed without any of the hassle.
17. Real estate agent
People will always need homes, so becoming a real estate agent continues to be a good business move. If you are a skilled communicator with strong personal skills, then real estate can be a very financially rewarding businesses, particularly if you’re working in the right area. If you decide to become a real estate agent and set up your own business, then you will need to ensure that you gain the necessary qualifications first, so don’t expect to be able to jump into this straight away. Being a successful real estate agent relies on having a top-class reputation and being able to inspire trust and confidence. Therefore, if this is the career you wish to pursue then you will want to ensure you have a professional-looking car and wardrobe too.
18. Graphic designer
With digital media marketing allowing businesses to generate far more marketing materials than they ever would have done in print, there is increasing demand for top-quality graphic designers. Every business, from big to small, is now looking for a designer who can provide them with eye-catching, alluring designs tailor-made to signify their brand. Being a graphic designer requires you to have an eye for all aesthetic elements (colour, organisation, texture, size, font) as well as psychology. This is the distinction between being a graphic design and an art; and why you won’t be a successful graphic designer if you think it will allow you to be paid as an artist. While your unique designs and creativity will be central to your success, to be an expert graphic designer, you have to be able to put aside your own personal tastes and prioritise what your clients need.
19. T-shirt printing business
The printed t-shirt remains a staple part of most people’s wardrobes. Whether you want to embrace your creative side and print your own unique designs, or to provide printing services for others, starting your own t-shirt printing business could be a great small business to start in 2021.
Read more: How to minimise the costs of starting a clothing business
Dropshipping is where companies who sell things online don’t actually pre-order the items they are selling and keep them in stock. Instead, they post a listing and then order from the third party to fulfil their own orders, making a profit by charging a higher rate than the original retailer (usually a wholesaler). The benefits of this system for dropshippers are clear: you keep no inventory, so you don’t have to worry about overhead costs, storage space or over-ordering. The only important thing to consider is that you don’t overcharge your customers. The way to avoid this is to only by from wholesalers or suppliers rather than other end retail stores.
What are the most successful small business ideas?
Of the most predominant themes of the top busines ideas and trends for 2021 is that most of these small business ideas involve an online business model. Thus, it seems that online businesses are providing people with the security of knowing that they can work from wherever they are, whenever they want.
Small businesses which offer digital marketing services, particularly website design, currently seem to be among the most successful small businesses (i.e. the ones which can bring in the most profit). This seems to be because there is now so much competition in our global markets that businesses want unique marketing materials to stand out, and also because the internet makes it easier to publish greater quantities of marketing materials. However, this is a business idea which requires particular skills and knowledge, so it will not be accessible to everyone. Other business ideas which are also consistently successful are businesses which provide cleaning services and real estate businesses.
If you want to work for yourself but are concerned about starting your small business in the current times, then choosing a small business which is consistently proven successful is going to be a safe bet.
However, even though it may feel more comfortable to choose a business idea which has been tried and tested, following your passions and embracing emerging trends can sometimes be even more rewarding – both personally and financially.
Therefore, we say that the best small business to start is going to be personal to you. If you are going to make a success of it, your small business has to be built upon something you are passionate about and good at. Even if no one has launched a small business like yours before, that isn’t necessarily a reason not to do it. In fact, it could be the very reason why you become successful in the future.
While we can help you by offering our insights into the top business ideas and trends in 2021, we cannot tell you what avenue you should pursue for your small business. We can only suggest that you choose something which has the potential to bring you happiness