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cheap business to start
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25 low-risk business ideas | Cheap businesses to start

Are you keen to start your own business but struggling to come up with an idea? Or are you desperate to be your own boss but can’t quite get over the level of risk that’s involved with the startup costs and leaving the security of your current job? Do you want to be an entrepreneur but need a cheap business to start you off? This article explores the idea of fail-safe businesses and includes 25 ideas for your new business.

Is there such a thing as a fail-safe business?

In a nutshell, no there isn’t a fail-safe formula or a guarantee of success for any business. So many factors are involved, but while we can’t control some of them (for example, the economy, weather, technological advances), we can choose businesses that are less sensitive to, or take advantage of, changes in external factors. We can also put plans in place to minimise the risk of business failure.

Checklist: Five ways to minimise the risk of business failure

When coming up with an idea for your business, first consider the demand for your product/service, how much time and money it will take to set up, how profitable it is and the perceived level of risk.

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Businesses that are always in demand

You can use Google Trends to see the number of searches for your product/service by location and if the numbers are growing. Study trends that are growing in society and research jobs that have always been around and are unlikely to be replaced by technology. 


1. Hairdressers

People will always need their hair cutting. Create a high-end or differentiated experience for customers to what they would normally be used to so that they talk about it to others and become loyal to you. 

Example: The Wacky Barber Soho has created a one of a kind atmosphere in their shops with retro marketing materials, walls plastered with posters, free beer and snacks for customers, and a reputation for awesome haircuts. A pretty unforgettable experience and one you’ll probably be telling your friends about.


2. Tradespeople 

Plumbers, electricians and builders will always be in demand, particularly reliable ones that come via recommendations. Female trades and handywomen are particularly sought after by other women who would rather have a female come to their house to help than a man. 


3. Vegan foods and supplies

Britain’s vegan population has more than tripled from 150,000 to 540,000 in the past decade and vegetarianism is hugely on the rise too. In a lot of areas the number of places providing decent vegan food and product options, and even vegan jobs, are not keeping up with the call for them.  


4. Funeral services

Funeral services are another type of business that will never die out (pardon the pun). 


5. IT Support 

One thing there is no doubt about is that the presence of technology will always be around and progressing – often at a fast pace. This means there will always be people who need help with using it, setting up, troubleshooting and having things fixed.

Cheap businesses to start

Ask yourself what you are already qualified in or knowledgeable about that you could teach or consult other people of businesses on. Think about business startup ideas that don’t require you to spend lots of money on premises or equipment or where you can use things you already own. 


6. Social media trainer 

If you’re a dab hand at social media then could you also train businesses how to use social channels, grow their following and create engaging content.


7. Gardener 

Depending on your experience you could offer gardening help at any level – from digging a hole or having a tidy up to design and landscape gardening. 


8. Personal trainer 

Inspire others to be fit and healthy by training them at your local gym (if you’re allowed) or outdoors. You can set up exercise classes or boot camps in your local park without having to pay for space to rent and you needn’t buy any expensive equipment. 


9. Event planning

People pay good money to ensure that their corporate or personal events are organised well on their behalf. If you’ve got experience in planning events, listening to client requirements and great attention to detail then this could be for you. 


10. Chef 

If you’re a great cook then you could host a pop-up event, cook privately for people in their own homes or start a catering company.

Quick businesses to set up

There’s no time like the present and these businesses could all be set up in a day. 


11. Photographer 

If you’re already doing photography for a hobby and have some kit then why not try and get some paid work for it. 


12. Cleaner 

There are many different types of cleaner – household, accommodation, oven, offices, car – and people will often provide the equipment and the products that they prefer you to use at the location, making it even easier to start up fast. 


13. Consultant 

If you’re good at your job then could you share that information with other businesses and help them put processes and strategies in place to improve, for example, for their HR, operations, sales or marketing.


14. Personal shopper 

Imagine being paid to shop. It’s possible if you’re up to date with the latest trends, you have a keen eye for fashion and a passion for helping others to look their best whatever the occasion. 


15. Airbnb manager 

You don’t have to own a property to start an Airbnb business. One way is to help people manage their Airbnb rentals. You could write their listings, take photos, manage the cleaning and changeovers, or provide a full hosting service. 

Most profitable businesses

Always work out what the profit margins will be and how much you will be making per hour for your time. 


16. Accountants 

Accounting is one of the most profitable industries to work in because it’s highly valued, will always be in demand and has few outgoings. 


17. Legal

Similarly to accounting, legal services will always be required and valued and therefore very profitable if you provide a good service. 


18. Storage 

Customers will pay about £150 per 50 square feet per month for space and it doesn’t need many employees or much maintenance. Revenue can be increased by charging late fees, for after-hours access and for higher-end offerings like climate control. 


19. Equipment rental 

Hiring things out two or three times will often cover the cost of buying it new, therefore all rentals on top of that (aside from the other business costs to cover) will be making you a profit. 


20. Childcare

Nannying, childminding and babysitting can pay good money and can also fit in with your own parenting.  

Businesses with the least amount of risk

Although there’s no such thing as a no-risk business, these businesses will be cheap to set up and are possible to do in your spare time while you keep your existing job and earn a bit extra on the side. If you like it and it’s successful then you can look at making it full-time. 


21. Tutoring 

Education will always be important and you will always know more about something than someone else, so why not teach them? 


22. Virtual assistant 

You can be a VA from anywhere and will do time-saving tasks for busy business people like email management, booking appointments, research, marketing, bookings, and personal errands. 


23. Dog walking

Spend time playing with dogs and get plenty of exercise as a dog walker. You can look at offering extension services like grooming, pet sitting and training.


24. Housesitting

You could get paid but also save money on your own rent by housesitting for other people. 


25. Copywriting

Copywriting (or writing words for businesses) can be started in your spare time while you hone your style and build a client base.

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