Experts have named the 10 areas you should look at most keenly if you’re thinking about starting a business this year.
And while 2020 played out somewhat differently to how anyone expected 12 months ago, it also created a host of new opportunities.
Millions more people are working from home now, moving more of our lives online as restrictions on movement and meeting up endure longer and longer.
That time at home has also seen people make changes to their lives – from new pets to a desire to learn new skills.
And while hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs and seemingly countless businesses have closed, there are places to make money from this new way of living.
So the experts at Startups.co.uk put their heads together and crunched data to come up with the 10 best areas to begin a new business in 2021.
This is what they came up with:
1. Virtual influencers
People stuck indoors are turning to social media to find inspiration from everything to food, to travel to fitness – or just get a window onto other people’s lives.
The sway these accounts have with their followers can be turned into big bucks, but not all influencers are real people any more.
Computer generated influencers are already here with one US account gathering 2.8 million followers and counting.
These realistic, computer-generated people are also taking part in brand campaigns, and making big bucks for their creators.
That means there’s huge potential for people with the technical know-how and resources to enter this strange new market.
2. The feeling economy
In the feeling economy, empathy, emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills are the most highly prized qualities a person can have.
Ideas for businesses in this space are wide-ranging – remote personal assistants that do everything from posting on social media to buying birthday gifts for loved ones, or agencies that connect people with volunteering opportunities or remote mental health and wellness support.
Businesses that marry technology with services that only a person can provide stand to do well in the feeling economy.
3. Electric bikes and e-scooters
Getting about in town has never felt riskier – with buses, Tubes and trains all enclosed spaces crammed with people.
That’s led to a surge in bike sales with demand for electric bikes and e-scooters soaring most of all.
With new legislation on its way governing the use of eScooters on the roads – which are also small enough to pick up and take with you to your office or into a shop – and a 20 mile range increasingly common demand for these city runabouts is set to stay high.
There are also plenty of opportunities in this space in 2021 to businesses: Think electric bike rental, electric bike accessories, mobile charging stations and electric bike conversion.
4. Animal care and training
As 2020 set light to most people’s plans, adopting a new furry family member became a beacon of hope for many.
But many were completely unprepared for the amount of work involved in caring for their pet.
So if you’re an animal lover, or have experience in pet care, you’re in luck – we predict a boom in the animal care and training sector in 2021 – especially if you can work out how to do it remotely.
Think video training schools, one on one pet care tuition, grooming and diet tips and more.
5. On-demand health and wellness
Movies, music, and food have all been available at the click of a button – and now, it’s easier than ever to attend to your own wellbeing with on-demand health and wellness services.
Whether it’s fully-optimised meals in a pouch, online fitness classes, or apps to help you look after your libido, there are now quick fixes for everything.
6. The flexi-office
The office will never be the same again – with businesses keen to stop committing massive portions of their revenue to leasing space that we’ve all just proved doesn’t actually contribute that much to the success of a company.
So, pull up a chair in the flexi-office which is likely to make up 30% of all office space by next year.
7. Diversity and inclusion
Never have diversity and inclusion been more central to the global conversation.
And never has it been more important to ensure they stay at the top of the agenda, and not sink after a few token nods.
Whether you focus your efforts on helping individuals from underrepresented backgrounds or champion diversity and inclusivity initiatives in businesses, there are opportunities for committed entrepreneurs to facilitate progress in 2021.
People have been sounding the death knell of the high street for decades – and with good reason.
But, in the pandemic with delivery slots for big supermarkets in short supply, and lockdown limiting us to shopping in our postcodes, we turned to our local shops. The support these independent businesses provided to their communities in the crisis should translate into loyalty after the vaccine is launched, too.
This presents a plethora of opportunities for 2021, from starting a local business of your own, to actually helping consumers discover, shop at, and support local businesses.
Searches for online learning courses and teaching online increased by 240% and 328% respectively in 2020.
Not a surprise really, as suddenly we all had a lot of free time stuck at home, and were keen to fill it with something constructive.
As with many things that have happened during the pandemic, now people have discovered how convenient online learning can be, they’re keen to continue.
There are almost limitless opportunities here – if you can teach it, you can teach it online.
10. Remote working services
In many ways, the last year has proved that people can work from home just as effectively as they can in the office.
However, there are some benefits of the workplace that just can’t be replicated while working from home.
Remote working services aim, as much as possible, to compensate for these inadequacies by helping people to collaborate better, work more productively, and even host socials to boost team morale.