Thinking of starting your own company in 2018? We’ve spotted a few kinds of business enjoying a boom this year, so if you’re in need of some inspiration, look no further…
Products supporting a healthy diet
Thanks to the popularity of figures like Deliciously Ella, and fuelled by sharing healthy eating pictures on Instagram, raw food and ‘clean eating’ diets continue to be all the rage. Getting in on the act are numerous businesses that facilitate these diets, whether by producing superfoods such as kefir or acai berries, or by manufacturing products that go with them, such as storage containers, blenders, juicers and so on. Dust Granola, Nush Foods and Botanic Lab are all great examples in this sector.
Tying in with the popularity of clean eating is the rise in demand for non-alcoholic drinks. Non-alcoholic wines, beers and spirits are growing in popularity, with a wealth of them available, as evidenced by sites such as alcoholfree.co.uk. And it’s not just non-alcoholic versions of our favourite booze that are going from strength to strength; artisan coffee and tea are still big business, too. A backlash against big chains like Starbucks – this example particularly in light of revelations about their tax arrangements – is likely behind a surge in the popularity of independent coffee shops, tea rooms and other companies such as coffee subscriptions (Monsoon Estates and Rave Coffee, for example).
While healthy eating trends continue to gain momentum, that’s not to say that we’re not still mesmerised by less nutritious treats, as the boom in the gin industry testifies. With the spirits duty frozen in November’s Budget, it’s an industry that looks set to continue thriving this year. The number of distilleries here in the UK has already doubled in the past five years to 315, with companies such as Harrogate-based Slingsby Gin tempting the tastebuds with offerings like rhubarb gin made with local spring water. The popularity of artisan products is wider than just gin, of course, but Slingsby is a great example of an independent brand with a good story behind it (and a lovely website, too!).
Mobile food outlets
Mobile catering has become so much more sophisticated than the good old burger vans we’re all used to seeing at fairgrounds and markets. Thanks to the wedding and festival industries, there’s now growing demand for food trucks serving up culinary treats ranging from wood-fired pizzas to gourmet ostrich burgers. A particularly popular example, according to the 2018 Waitrose Food & Drink report, is Indian street food: “Forget heavy sauces and chicken tikka masala, this trend is about smoked, grilled or seared delicacies, such as scallops in pickled ginger. Food trucks selling puris stuffed with zingy vegetables and drizzled in chutney could become a common sight. The cuisine lends itself to hybrids, such as spiced burgers or lamb keema tacos. It’s Indian food like you’ve never seen it.”
With a full beard very much in vogue, and men now spending more time and money on personal grooming, it’s little wonder that the humble Turkish barber shop has made a comeback in recent years. Not only do these barbers specialise in men’s haircuts and offer extras such as a cut-throat shave – with plenty more benefits to boot – but their popularity is likely due to the increasing emphasis we’re putting on good service and supporting local, independent businesses. With nostalgia also at a high right now (for proof, look no further than the sudden re-emergence of shows such as The X Files), the retro Turkish barber shop is one of the business models to benefit.
We’re a nation of dog-lovers, but with most of us stuck in an office for long hours each day, the logistics of owning a dog makes it impractical for many. That’s perhaps behind the rise in dog-walking services and other businesses aimed at busy dog owners. Dog walking, sitting and grooming services have become increasingly popular, as demonstrated by the success of websites such as Borrow My Doggy, which connects dog owners with people who have time to look after dogs during the day or when they’re on holiday.
Whether you’re planning to open your own craft gin distillery or start a dog grooming business, one of the first things you’ll need to do is to set up your own website. Take a look at our guide to getting online to get started.