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22 best business ideas for 2022

The pandemic has served two years of great uncertainty to businesses, but many have successfully adapted. With the UK economy showing signs of recovery throughout 2021, and despite the Omicron variant, a new wave of optimism rings in the new year. 

So what are the new small business trends and opportunities for 2022?

 

The side business

2022 is a big year for the ‘side hustle’ business, which shows no signs of slowing down. More than one third of people in the UK run their own side business to make money from home, with many expecting to make more than £5,000 each in additional income in the next year. Side hustles became popular during the pandemic, with 23% of people being prompted to reconsider long term plans, 28% had more time and energy and 20% were motivated to make up for lost income. 31% are considering a side business but are yet to get started, so we should expect to see even more side businesses appear in 2022.

Top tip: Starting your small business as a ‘side hustle’ is a great way to validate your business idea before pouring resources into it. This approach can save you a lot of time and money. You can gauge what your customers want and establish a client base before leaving your job and committing full time.

Sustainability

Climate change and sustainability are only going to continue momentum in 2022, as ethically minded consumers look to play their part towards carbon neutrality. In eCommerce, the concept of sustainability can range from business models, to reviewing your supply chain, to recycling your packaging. Its role will become increasingly important in the coming years, with nearly two-thirds of people already prepared to pay a premium for environmentally-friendly products and services. Keep sustainability in mind when writing your business plan.

Ethical consumption

There was renewed boom in consumer demand for Fairtrade products in 2020 following the coronavirus pandemic, which sparked an increased global consciousness. Waitrose’s ‘How Britain Shops Online’ report claims 27% of shoppers actively seek out the Fairtrade logo when shopping online in 2020, particularly within the 18-24 bracket.

This rise in ethical consumption comes at a crucial time for farmers, according to the Fairtrade Foundation. The economic impact of COVID-19 on low income communities overseas, as well as the significant challenges created by climate change, has shown why farmers need to be valued and fairly paid. This consumer awareness and demand shows no sign of stopping – keep this in mind when planning new ventures in 2022.

Working from home

Consider starting a business that specialises in products and services to help home-based employees work securely, efficiently and successfully. Cloud computing, event hosting, display screen equipment (DSE) assessments, online yoga classes for mental wellbeing, the list goes on!

Ecommerce store

At the height of the pandemic, eCommerce experienced 10 years of growth in just 90 days. While this increase in demand has attracted stronger competition, Shopify’s Future of Commerce Report claimed 150 million people made purchases online for the first time during the pandemic and eCommerce as a percentage of global retail sales is expected to grow over the next five years. Team this with minimal start up costs and you’ve got an exciting business opportunity to explore in 2022.

 

Dropshipping

Inject efficiency and affordability into your eCommerce store by considering a dropshipping fulfilment model. Sell your products and serve your customers, but let a supplier fulfil your orders. It’s low overhead, hands-off and scalable. Ensure your marketing and customer service skills are up to scratch to encourage sales, positive reviews and growth.

Social media management

Many businesses that weren’t digitised before COVID-19, quickly felt the impact of not having an online presence to connect and communicate with customers, promote their services and make sales. Many marketers have adopted a ‘digital-first’ approach while offline interactions dwindled during the pandemic. Social media management plays a crucial role in future-proofing a business’s marketing strategy.

Video marketing

Video marketing is an eye-catching and engaging way for businesses to stand out from the neverending stream of content online. 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. Video can also help brands rank in search engines. If you have the skills and experience, could you freelance or start your own production or consulting business that focuses on this growing marketing channel?

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

While automation has been around for a number of years across industries such as manufacturing and agriculture, it’s now injecting significant efficiencies into a broad range of sectors. AI can save companies valuable time on repetitive tasks, from data analysis to email marketing. Only 37% of businesses currently employ AI – this is set to increase significantly.

Could you collaborate with people skilled in this area and set up your own AI business that solves efficiency pain points for businesses?

Or could you get trained in the best AI technology available and position yourself as a trouble-shooting consultant?

Freelance writing

Whether you have specialist knowledge in a certain area or can put your pen to anything, if you have strong research skills, can adapt your style of writing to suit its context and can work well to a deadline, then a computer and internet connection is all you need to get started.

Digital downloads

Take your writing one step further and write a compelling eBook, guide or course, which people pay to download on platforms such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Apple iBooks Author for eBooks. Most of these publishing platforms are free to submit your content to, but will take a cut (usually around 20 to 30%). 

Creatives can also explore this avenue, as digital downloads can include prints ready for framing, family planners, colouring book pages and more. Etsy is a great place to start, offering 60.27million buyers. No shipping costs are involved so your margins can remain high.

Web development

Web development is a constant demand for businesses looking to thrive online. With more businesses moving online, brands need to have an online presence, which is optimised to compete. Web development is a vital tool in ensuring a business makes it as easy as possible for a customer to find its products/services and make a purchase.

Graphic design

A great side hustle that, with determination, business planning and a solid work ethic can very much become a full time sustainable career. Start building your portfolio, establish your brand and get active online. With the right business plan in place you can begin taking on clients, developing your networks, create a referral network and even consider specialising in a niche market if the demand is there.

Blogging

Love to write? Passionate about a subject or hobby? A blog could be your creative calling. Don’t get us wrong, setting up a successful blog takes a lot of energy, creativity and determination to build, write and market to gain a following. BUT, once you do, there are a number of ways you can generate some passive income from it such as affiliate marketing, sponsorship and advertising – an ongoing gift for all your hard work.

Consulting

As many businesses resume operations post-pandemic, consulting services are expected to experience a jump in demand. This is a great low-cost business idea, as your expertise is the product! You can start with relatively low overheads and not rely on others to deliver your service.

Aerial photography

Demand for aerial photography has hit new heights over the last 10 years. If you’re skilled at flying a drone then it’s worth looking into the training and insurance behind aerial photography. Clients range from real estate developers, TV and movie producers and even couples getting married!

Food trucks

Business is booming in this sector, as hungry consumers look for convenience and quality from these flexible mobile food outlets. The outdoor context also sits well with those who might be avoiding indoor dining during the pandemic. Street food is thought to be eaten by 2.5 billion people across the world every single day and, in the UK, a quarter of consumers tuck into food from mobile businesses at least once a month. Keep in mind the type of vehicle you operate from and the menu you offer, as this has a big impact on your customers and profitability.

Home takeaway business

Are you looking to carve out a culinary career for yourself? But hesitant to commit to a high street premises during these turbulent times? Then starting a takeaway food business from home is a great option for you in 2022. See our full guide on how to start your own home takeaway business – from training to trends, as well as which delivery companies you could use.

Pop-up kitchens

Another flexible catering solution for 2022 and the post-COVID era. Pop-up kitchens are an effective way for young professionals to gain exposure of their skills in the field of hospitality as they seek investors and attention with the view to opening a restaurant or another culinary concept in the future. Similar to a food truck and home takeaway business, it’s a smart way to kickstart a food career.

Plant-based and alternative proteins

Consumer demands for a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle has led to a boom in demand for plant-based products. If you’re considering following your foodie dream in 2022 in any capacity, it’s worth considering this continually growing demand in your menu and marketing.

Sell handcrafted goods

Are you a maker? Whether it’s vegan bath bombs, personalised baking spoons or pottery – your new business idea could quite literally be in your hands. A great place to start is Etsy, where you can build your brand, see which products are popular, and grow your business and customer base. With the right product, marketing and customer service, you could grow it into a full-time small business, using a platform such as Shopify to launch your own online shop.

Online therapy

There’s been a leap in awareness around mental health in recent years – with high profile campaigns including Heads Together (an initiative spearheaded by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), helping shine the spotlight on the importance of achieving good mental health and wellbeing. The pandemic undoubtedly impacted all corners of mental health – anxiety, depression, OCD to name a few. Affordable counselling is available online anytime, anywhere, allowing patients quick access to the therapy they need via apps, text messages and online chats – virtual accessibility to fit in with the patient’s lifestyle and any future lockdowns. Talkspace.com is a good example of an online therapy platform.

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