If you’ve ever fantasised about being your own boss (and really, who hasn’t?), 2017 could be the year that you make that dream a reality.
With 2,000 new businesses set to launch every month, and funding for startups continuing to soar, there has never been a better time to turn that grand idea into a profitable company.
In case you need a little inspiration, online business resource Startups.co.uk has released a list of the 17 best business ideas for 2017, featuring everything from launching a co-living space to getting in on the trend for all things hygge.
Here, Stylist.co.uk has taken a closer look at how you can get started in the top five industry areas...
What is it? Hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-gu’) is the Danish concept of cosiness. Think candles, cashmere blankets and a roaring open fire.
Why is it a good business option? Hygge was one of the biggest wellbeing and lifestyle trends of 2016, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. It was named one of the top words of the year by Collins Dictionary, while searches for hygge have skyrocketed on both Google (up 163%) and Pinterest (up 285%).
In a 2017 trends report, market researchers at Mintel said: “The importance of hygge in Denmark is probably connected with the Danish weather; the cold, dark and wet months call for togetherness inside. As winter descends, the opportunities for brands and retailers to offer hygge experiences for consumers grows.”
What opportunities are there? When it comes to hygge, the options are pretty limitless. Launching a product or service that promises to enhance wellbeing through the hygge philosophy would have a good chance of succeeding.
Some of the areas for opportunity include: beauty, fragrance (particularly scented candles), subscription boxes, handmade clothing and gourmet food and drinks (anything delicious and comforting would fit the bill). Those considering opening a food or drink business might want to start out with a pop-up (you can read a success story here).
Who’s doing it already? Plenty of people: there are hygge books, hygge candles, hygge kits and hygge subscription boxes, and stores such as John Lewis and White Company have started marketing products under the hygge philosophy. But don’t let this put you off – there is still a huge appetite for hygge both in the UK and internationally.
How can I do it? You need to spot a gap in the market and have a keen sense of how to market a product.
What resources are available? Retailers such as Etsy are a good place for selling unique, handmade goods – there is a useful guide to getting started here.
What is it? Insurtech refers to the emerging technology in the world of insurance.
Why is it a good business option? The insurance industry is worth an estimated $4 trillion (£3.2 trillion), so developments in this area are likely to be profitable.
What opportunities are there? Customers have become largely disenchanted by the insurance industry in recent years. Developing technology that can make it appear more transparent, thus connecting customers to companies, could be successful.
Similarly, new concepts such as the sharing economy will require new kinds of insurance, so this is a growing area.
Who’s doing it already? A growing number of insurance apps, that promise quick, short-term insurance for items such as a car, have emerged. Similarly, companies that compare insurance costs, such as Sherpa, are rising in popularity.
What is it? Dubbed the “new style of community living for millennials”, co-living is similar to a hotel, but with the added bonus of shared workspaces and free wi-fi. All sorts of perks, including roof terraces, spas, cinemas and libraries, can be included in the cost.
Why is it a good business option? Co-living is a relatively new – and therefore untapped – trend, having only really taken off in 2015. Plus, the housing crisis means there is always a huge demand for living space.
It can also be extremely lucrative: the founders of New-York based co-living company Common, who originally launched the concept, have opened five co-living spaces in America and secured over $25million (approximately £19.8million) in funding.
What opportunities are there? There are already a growing number of co-living spaces opening in London, so focusing on other fast-growing cities such as Bristol, Oxford and Manchester might be a good start.
Who’s doing it already? London's two main co-living spaces are The Collective (which charges in excess of £1,000 a month for some rooms) and Roam (which charges from £680 per week, below). See their websites for more information.
How can I do it? There are two main ways to launch a co-living space. If you have the funds, you can buy the property directly, and rent it out. If not, you could work with estate agencies to manage a property and become a landlord.
What resources are available? Startup's guide to securing funding to become a property developer, which can be found here, is a good place to start.
What is it? Mezcal is an alcoholic spirit made from Mexican agave plants. It is similar to tequila, which is made from Blue Agave.
Why is it a good business option? Sales of mezcal are booming: last year, global sales rose 23% to hit $110 million (£87.4 million). By 2018, sales of mezcal and tequila are predicted to reach 302 million litres, up from 247 million in 2015.
What opportunities are there? With the popularity of mezcal growing, there are plenty of opportunities to market it in the UK.
Who’s doing it already? Last year, British multinational drinks brand Diageo secured the rights to distribute mezcal brand Union. Tequila company Jose Cuervo also have two mezcal brands in their portfolio.
How can I do it? The agave plant grows best in warm climates, and mezcal is only considered to be authentic if grown in certain areas of Mexico – so producing your own brand of the spirit isn’t really an option. Instead, launching a niche mezcal-focused bar or restaurant could be a winner.
What resources are available? You might want to start by trialling the popularity of a mezcal-themed bar with a pop-up. See here for further information.
What is it? Food waste is currently a huge global concern. Figures from WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) suggest that half the food produced in the world is wasted, while 15 million tonnes of food are thrown away every year in the UK alone. Finding a solution to this problem would not only help the environment, but could also prove extremely lucrative.
Why is it a good business option? Solutions are urgently needed for the problem of food waste, so this is the ideal time to launch a waste-battling enterprise.
What opportunities are there? There are plenty – it all comes down to having the right idea.
Who’s doing it already? Startups in the food waste industry include ChicP (below), which turns leftover fruit and veg into hummus, and FoodCloud, which redistributes surplus food to over 3,000 charities across the UK and Ireland. The Real Junk Food Project is a good example of success in this area: started in 2013, it serves meals made from donated surplus food, and there are now 125 branches across the world.
How can I do it? According to Startups, there is currently a gap in the market when it comes to innovation in food waste – so if you have a bright idea, now is the time to act on it.