20 best small business ideas to start at home or online with low investment

Fraser McCulloch - Thursday, October 05, 2017
20 small business ideas

The 20 best small business ideas to start with minimal investment based upon the keyword research I’ve done.

These ideas are online based as opposed to physical retail businesses that have higher running costs.

These businesses are suitable as a part time business for a student, graduate, stay at home mum or someone looking for a side business to work on at the evenings or weekends.

For each unique business idea we have summarised who the business suitable for, what’s involved in starting up, the opportunity analysis, a business forecast, the risks, a start up strategy and likely costs involved.

Links to these 20 business ideas

Start a design business selling Google Slides Themes

start security business

Back in the late 90’s I recall being pitched by design agencies trying to sell me PowerPoint designs for company presentation.

If you want me to rewind the clock back even further I recall getting photo studios to produce slides for carousel and projector presentations.

As the world has moved towards ‘in the cloud’ Google launched their suite of business tools to compete against Microsoft Office.

Google Slides, part of Google Drive, is their competitor to PowerPoint and I find myself using Slides more than PowerPoint now.

There are some nice free Slide templates than are stored in the template section of Google Slides by default and they are good.

But there are also designers selling paid for Slide Themes in a few online marketplaces.

I would look at Qwilr and create themes for sales proposal, seo proposals, website proposal, branding proposals, copywriting proposals, business proposals, design and photography proposals etc.

Graphic or web designers are suited to selling Google Slide Themes

Obviously the opportunity is suited to a designer and someone with some technical knowledge on how to install themes.

Starting a graphic design theme business

You are going to have to produce a series of free themes; creative, simple, start up, social and business related themes.

You promote these themes to offer as an incentive for users to opt-in to your mailing list.

Then off the back of your mailing list you promote and sell your paid for themes.

Additionally, you a offer custom and bespoke theme design for brand owners.

Country: USA
Keyword phrase: Google Slides Themes
Organic searches per month: 40000
Keyword Difficulty : 16
Backlinks to rank in top 10: 18
Domain Rating of weakest site in top 10: 49
Competition: Graphic Rover, TutsPlus
Organic Traffic Per Month: 64000

What does this research tell you?

With over 40,000 searches a month and a low keyword difficulty score, this is a very attractive business opportunity for a savvy designer.

Yes you are up against some strength competitors but all the websites in the top 10 search results are earning a good volume of organic search traffic to make this a good business opportunity.

The biggest threat to designing and selling Google Slide Themes

Google could up their free template section would probably be the biggest threat.

Business Forecast and Projections

Let’s take the website with the lowest number of links to their page in the top 10; 5 backlinks.

That website is getting 2063 organic visits per month.

A 10% opt-in rate to download your free themes would equate to 200 subscribers per month; or 2400 per year.

Selling your paid for themes at $15 and getting a 10% buy rate is $300 a month.

But the real money is designing custom themes for brands.

You could easily charge $200 to $300 per client.

2 or 3 sales per month is another $400 to $900 per month.

So anywhere between $700 to $1200 a month.

Now that projection completely changes when you rank in position 1 or 2; those websites are getting 40,000 and 60,000 organic visits a month.

That’s could be some serious revenue potential.

Low start up costs

  • Register a domain name: $20
  • WordPress theme from DryThemes: $59
  • GoDaddy monthly hosting; $8 per month
  • Email Marketing Automation from GetDrip for $49
  • Use GetDrip for capturing subscribers
  • Gumroad to accept payments: zero
  • Time to create high quality content costs in time and money
  • Time to earn high quality links.
  • Your time: your time to design free themes and paid for themes

One of the difficulties you may have is ranking a new website and earning domain authority; you will be competing against 49-72 rated domains.

So perhaps consider this opportunity as an add on to your existing website that has good authority.

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How to start a home security business on the side

start security business

This is a business start up opportunity that arose from some personal experience.

My parents had a company install CCTV a number of years ago and it cost them over £2000.

The installation occurred after an incident happened and not before.

Think about that.

A few years ago CCTV was exclusively for retail stores, businesses, company offices and warehouses.

But today, home-owners have CCTV installed for home security purposes.

Who is suited to starting in home security?

Ideally someone with IT experience such as an IT manager or someone running an IT related business; even a computer retail shop.

What’s involved in starting up

Start up costs for this business are low and you should start by getting friends and family interested in you installing domestic CCTV systems for them.

There are no data protection requirements for domestic use and the cameras can only be pointed at the home owners’ property; so no peering into the neighbour’s garden or driveway.

You would charge an installation fee or perhaps add a mark up on top of the equipment prices.

I know my parents have a monthly plan that covers so many call outs should there be a problem with the equipment.

The other start up opportunity is to sell CCTV equipment on a drop shipping basis.

That means you set up a website that sells cctv kits and the supplier delivers the goods to the home owners address.

You make less profit but you don’t need to purchase and hold stock hoping a customer will purchase.

Opportunity and Competition Analysis

Our method of finding opportunities is to do keyword research and identify highly searched keywords with low competition.

The search phrase ‘cctv kits’ is the ideal search phrase someone starting in home security or selling home security equipment wants to rank in Google for.

Country: UK
Keyword phrase: cctv kits
Organic searches per month: 6600
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10: 3
Position in top 10 results: 7
Competition: Maplins, Amazon, Screwfix, Currys
Site to outrank: cctvkits.co.uk
Organic Traffic Per Month: 1600

What does this research tell you?

There are 6600 searches a month in the UK for cctv kits.

The weakest site in the top 10 search results is at position number 7 called cctvkits.co.uk and it has only 3 other websites pointing to it.

Therefore, it is easy to outrank with good website content and high quality links pointing to it.

Therefore, the best business model is drop shipping; you make a margin for ranking good page content and selling other manufacturers products.

The biggest threat to starting a home security business

You will be reliant upon suppliers working with you, an unknown entity, on a drop shipping basis.

Business Forecast and Projections

Assuming you could create a website that will outrank the weakest website in the top 10 search results; assume 1600 visitors a month.

Assume the average order value is £300 and you strike a deal with suppliers to take 20% of the revenue; that’s £60 per order.

A 2% website visitor to conversion rate is 32 orders per month.

Estimated monthly revenue projection would be £1920 per month.

This appears a good return on investment.

But it may take you 3-6 months to design, create content and build a good backlink profile before you start to see this type of organic traffic coming from Google.

Low start up costs

  • Register a domain name: £20
  • E-commerce website template: £150 use a Shopify template
  • Website customisation: £500-£1000
  • Shopify monthly hosting; £50 per month
  • Get a Stripe account to accept payments: zero
  • Create great content: creating valuable high quality content costs in time and money
  • Get high quality links: the average cost of link is around $150
  • Your time: your time is required to manage orders, email marketing, create content
  • Facebook advertising: you may need to invest in some Facebook advertising to target likely audience

Estimated cost to start a drop ship security website

Between £600 and £1200

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Start these small businesses from home

The following 3 business ideas can be started by any one with a computer at home for very little upfront investment.

However, you should have some experience with websites; design, development or content management experience.

You can start up these businesses on a part time or side basis.

The business model you will be using is drop shipping or affiliate marketing.

What you do is find product manufacturers willing to work with you.

They supply you with product information and images and you build a review and e-commerce website.

With drop shipping you take the customer order and payment and the supplier delivers to their address.

With affiliate marketing, you send people to another website such as the suppliers website or Amazon and you are paid a commission per sale.

Your only overheads are content creation, web design and website hosting.

You will need to pay for a web design that matches the user expectations but for the following 3 products that should not be a large investment.

Why dropping shipping and affiliate marketing are successful and profitable business ideas.

In truth, you don’t have to make a financial commitment stocking products to sell like a retailer would.

Whilst you make a lesser margin than traditional retailing you can start small and make a profit by marketing and selling some one else’s products.

The key to success is finding product keywords during your research that you are confident enough to promote and write about.

And finding a supplier willing to work with you on a drop ship basis.

Here are 3 business ideas I’ve found during my keyword research.

Without identifying easy to rank keywords you won’t get any traffic.

No traffic equals no customers.

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Start selling bathroom mirrors online

start bathroom business online

Country : UK
Keyword phrase : bathroom mirrors
Organic searches per month : 27,100
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10 : 11
Position in top 10 results : 9
Competition : Homebase, Ikea, Argos, Amazon, Tesco
Site to outrank : illuminated-mirrors.co.uk
Organic Traffic Per Month : 26,200

Getting to number 9 is probably the best you are going to do such is the backlink strength of the other top 10 results.

But don’t let that put you off.

There are plenty of manufacturers of steam-free, LED, illuminated, him and her, shaving mirrors that would willing work with you and their premium mirrors to get traffic and sales for their products.

I looked at the Bathstore page for LED Mirrors, sale price £239 and I looked at Victoria Plum’s page.

There’s definitely opportunities to create product images that do a better job of selling these premium mirrors.

If you’ve ever seen the Nivea advert using Liverpool FC footballers, that’s how you convey mirrors.

There’s a saying in fashion “a fashion photography is never a picture of a dress - it’s a picture of the woman who wears it”.

I recommend putting a photography of a man shaving at the mirror or a couple putting the finishing touches to their hair or makeup before they go out for the night.

Then you have a better chance of persuading the consumer to purchase mirrors.

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Online business kitchen doors

start online kitchen door business

Country : UK
Keyword phrase : replacement kitchen doors
Organic searches per month : 9900
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10 : 12
Position in top 10 results : 5
Competition : Ikea, Wicks
Site to outrank : hotdoors.co.uk
Organic Traffic Per Month : 3200

The website you would be trying to oust, hotdoors.co.uk, is a very attractive, well merchandised website.

The hotdoors.co.uk website was developed on the Magento platform; that's a large investment in their web presence.

Whilst these guys are merchandising replacement kitchen doors, I believe the bigger opportunity for you lies with replacement or new kitchens.

You are absolutely going to need a sample delivered to ensure the replacement matches what the old kitchen door the user currently has.

So I believe the consumers conversation in their head is “I’ll get replacement doors but I know deep down that I’m going to have to replace my entire kitchen in the near future”.

I call this the scratch in the car marketing problem; you don’t replace your car if there’s a scratch but when things stop working or you need replacement parts you are close to purchasing a new one.

12 referring domains isn’t hard for you to earn if this keyword opportunity interests you.

There are plenty of home improvement bloggers you can cultivate relationships with.

You can see hotdoors.co.uk gets 3200 organic search results from 608 different keywords; of which this keyword position probably generates them about 20% of that.

So whilst the revenue and margin from replacement doors will not be huge; putting together a fantastic website to showcase replacement kitchens is the way you’ll make margin; provided you can find a good supplier or manufacturer to fulfil the customers order.

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Start online fuel business

start online fuel business

Country : UK
Keyword phrase : wood burners
Organic searches per month : 9900
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10 : 27
Position in top 10 results : 3
Competition : non of note
Site to outrank : glowing-embers.co.uk
Organic Traffic Per Month : 13600

The number one site in Google has 91 referring domains and 49,500 organic visits a month.

A wood burner is a stove used to heat a home with fire wood.

Very popular with people who don’t have access to gas as an energy source or like the aesthetics of a flame lit room.

Burning fire wood is the lowest energy method and thousands of homes a year in the UK are switching to wood burning stoves.

Look at Glowing Embers page and you will see the content they have.

Don’t be fooled by the page content; there are 2050 words on this page with expert knowledge and great content.

You better know your stuff if you want to rank for this keyword and devise content that’s even more helpful.

Start up costs for a drop ship business

  • Domain : £20
  • Logo : £100-£200
  • Hosting: £50 a month
  • e-Commerce template : £200
  • Web design and development customisation : £1000 to £3000
  • Content Creation : between £100 and £500 per page
  • Backlinks : prices vary

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How to start a copywriting business

how to start copywriting business

Copywriters are people who write the text you read on brochures, websites, product guides, instruction manuals, blog posts and advertisements.

In my opinion copywriting has evolved into search engine optimisation as great content written around keyword research is a major key in generating visibility and traffic from Google.

Who is a copywriting business suited to?

Ideally suited to anyone with a flair for research and persuasive writing.

I would recommend you have some kind of industry knowledge that you can leverage so that you can sell your services back to companies in that industry.

If you have a medical background; then target doctors, dentists, pharmaceutical companies and websites.

Starting as a copywriter would be a good part time opportunity for a stay at home mum or even a student.

You can register with websites such as iwriter.com and textbroker.com and bid for work people request; so to start you don’t even need to find clients.

Although the rates are very low.

There’s a company called Fatjoe.co and they generate around 23,000 visits a month to their website and charge around £60 for a 2,000-word article.

I’m under-selling this business opportunity here.

When ever I’ve used a copywriting service it is for copy for a new website.

Typically, I’ll order 10 to 15 articles.

What’s involved in starting a copywriting business?

All you need is a laptop, a phone and the ‘gift of persuasive writing’.

I would recommend that you invest in Brian Dean’s SEO That Works course.

The training course will teach you the higher value service businesses are looking for; people don’t want a copywriter they want traffic from Google.

Brian has some proven copywriting frameworks and a tremendous Facebook community group.

I believe you need to gain an understanding of the value of organic traffic to a business.

I know graduates of Brian’s course are charging between £500 and £1500 for one page of in-depth copy; although this is an exception not a rule.

Opportunity and Competition Analysis

Here’s the keyword research we’ve done.

Country: UK
Keyword phrase: copywriting
Organic searches per month: 3600
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10: 45
Position in top 10 results: 8
Competition: non of note
Site to outrank: splashcopywriters.com
Organic Traffic Per Month: not applicable.

Business Forecast and Projections

A website at position 8 with 3600 searches a month will probably get around 7% of the total traffic; around 300 visits per month.

But if you do some more in depth research you should be able to find more easy to rank keywords and create content to drive more organic traffic.

Look for phrases such as content marketing, guest blogging, article writing and copy for specific industries that you specialise in.

Or use a keyword research tool to reverse engineer a copywriter’s website to see the pages and keywords they rank for.

  • So let’s say you can generate around 1000 organic visits per month.
  • It’s going to take time to build up to that level of traffic.
  • Assume you get 2% of the visitors making an enquiry.
  • 20 enquiries a month
  • Assume 10 of those people decide to use your services.
  • Let’s say you get to commission 2 articles at £100 each.
  • That’s £2000 a month income.


One of the main risks is that most companies think they can write copy themselves and many don’t value the investment in professional copywriting.

Time is an issue.

It has taken me one working day to write the drafts of ten 600 word articles.

To write a 2000-word article on a specific topic can take 4 or 5 days’ research, writing, edit and client approval.

That’s why I recommend starting and positioning a copywriting business as a higher value SEO service and taking Brian’s training.

Start up strategy

Get a nice looking website template and write your own copy around the keywords you’ve identified as fairly easy to rank for.

Start up costs

  • Training course: £1200
  • Logo design and stationery: £100 - £200
  • WordPress template: £100
  • WordPress hosting from GoDaddy : £10 per month
  • Enquiry form and CRM: Mailchimp at £10 a month or GetDrip at £40 a month
  • Backlink work is required to outrank the weakest site in the top 10

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How to start a recruitment consultancy business

How to start a recruitment consultancy business

According to Deloitte research there were 24,000 recruitment companies in the UK in 2015.

That’s a rise of 20%.

5000 new recruitment agencies were set up in 2015.

There is strong demand in the South of England and London for companies requiring talent employees; particular in the creative, advertising, marketing, IT, games and computer industries.

Recruitment is a cut throat, competitive, sales driven industry but don’t let that put off the right type of consultants and entrepreneurs.

When you consider recruitment consultancies are paid thousands of £££ by employers to recruit the right candidate for a position, then this is a good opportunity for you to start a successful recruitment business.

Who is suited to starting a recruitment agency?

Those who set up a recruitment business generally have industry experience.

They recognise an opportunity to earn more by starting their own agency or the intensity of working for another is too much.

Pre-requisites to starting a recruitment business?

You can start up working for home with a telephone line, broadband connection and home office but at some point you’ll need to meet clients and candidates.

There are many low cost hot desks and offices to rent in most cities.

Opportunity and Competition Analysis

Ideally you want to stick to the market you know.

If I were to start a recruitment business I would go into marketing, advertising, design and development as that’s my area of expertise.

I would require training and accreditation; industry bodies such as APSCO and Rec UK can help you.



Such accreditation would also bolster your credibility too.

Researching the recruitment industry

The search term ‘graduate jobs” is an easy to rank keyword that can drive a lot of candidate enquiries provided you have employers seeking to fill positions.

Country: UK
Keyword phrase: graduate jobs
Organic searches per month: 40500
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10: 22
Position in top 10 results: 7
Competition: Guardian, Reed
Site to outrank: www.grb.uk.com
Organic Traffic Per Month: 9300

The internet is going to be at the centre of your employer and candidate acquisition strategy.

It’s an investment you need to make in terms of design, research, content, a candidate database, email marketing and linking strategy.

We’ve worked with 3 recruitment agencies and we know what they invest and what does and does not work.

In addition, many job boards offer free trials so you can advertise to attract potential candidates

The other side of the recruitment business equation is finding employers with vacancies to fill.

Employers hire recruitment consultants for 2 reasons; speed and ability to offer high calibre talent suited to the roles they offer.

Starting a recruitment business is ideally suited to someone who has strong relationship with many employers.

The biggest threats to starting a recruitment business

You will need to dip into your savings to begin with because you will have many start up costs and must wait a period of time until clients pay their bills.

Most recruitment agencies use invoice factoring; you get paid with 3-5 days of invoicing an employer for recruitment fees and they take a share of doing your invoicing and credit control.

A recruitment consultant is dependent on companies outsourcing the recruitment process and there are plenty of SAAS solutions being marketed for employers to cut out agencies and hire direct.

Business Forecast and Projections

Additionally, you will work excessively long hours but achieving a £150,000 turnover and a £90,000 gross profit in the first year is achievable.

Doing some basic business maths; if the average candidate salary you place is £40,000 and you charge 15% of the salary then you need to place 25 candidates per year or around 2 per month.

Recruitment business start up costs

  • Company registration: £200
  • Logo and stationery - £200-£400
  • Telephone, mobile, broadband - £100-£200 per month
  • Domain name - £20
  • Website - from £3000
  • Content - assume £500 per page
  • Candidate Database - part of website
  • Job Board advertising costs - ad-hoc costs
  • Industry association membership fees - £1000

Estimated start up costs for a recruitment agency

Around £5000

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Start a part time wedding planner business

Start a part time wedding planner business

Background to a wedding planning business idea

I read on the BBC news a few months ago about an America lady who was earning $200k a year as a wedding planner and bridesmaid.

The opportunity arose because some brides did not fully trust their bridesmaid to make all the necessary wedding plans so they rent one.

It appears she is charging £700 to £2000 depending on the level of service.

Who is this suited to?

Definitely suited to an organiser, female, mum.

You are dealing with the most important day in a woman’s life.

You probably have corporate events experience or you’ve worked in the hotel or hospitality industry where organising is second nature to you.

What’s involved in starting up

So long as you have a phone, car, laptop and notebook, there are few barriers to starting up as a wedding planner.

There is an industry body called UKAWP; the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners.

This training and accreditation will give credibility.

You’ll need public indemnity insurance and possible wedding insurance; to protect yourself if things go wrong.

Opportunity and Competition Analysis

I’ve identified this as a good business opportunity from the keyword research I’ve done; high search volume with a weak competitor in the top 10 search results.

Country : UK
Keyword phrase : Wedding Planner
Organic searches per month : 12100
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10 : 24
Position in top 10 results :10
Competition : Debenham
Site to outrank : lindydowling.co.uk
 Organic Traffic Per Month : 1200

What does this research tell you?

The weakest website is in position 10 with 24 referring domains pointing to it.

The weakest site appears to get 1200 organic visits.

If owner of that website converts 3% of visits into enquiries that’s 36 enquiries a month.

With London being more prosperous, someone with great people and planning skills could make a very good living from this opportunity and idea.

She will have the pick of the weddings she plans or she’s going to need more staff.

How ever unless you are London based Google will show local listing depending on your location.

Business Forecast and Projections

Let’s look at a competitor pricing; £750 for on the day coordination.

Most weddings are on a Saturday so as a business you only have 4 billable days per month.

So it would appear this is more a part time opportunity unless you can position yourself as a wedding and events planner.

However, there’s a more glamorous side to wedding planning.

I’ve been to weddings overseas and friends who have married abroad.


Other than start up costs you really have no financial outlay; you are being paid for your time and skills.

As I discussed in the event company start up, there’s a lot of adrenalin associated with this career choice.

The competitive risks are friends offering to plan their friends wedding or the hotel venue having an organiser.

You’re a middle man, a conduit between an event venue and the event hosts.

So you have to have a really strong proposition for people picking you.

Start up marketing for wedding planner business

With all these ideas I’ve identified were based on finding easy to rank keywords.

But to outrank weak websites you need to create relevant content that is better than anything else out there.

That takes time and money.

After that, you still need others linking to your website.

Another approach to marketing the business is to use Facebook advertising.

You can target people who have changed their status to engaged.

Therefore you can reach them and get involved with them right at the beginning of their wedding planning process; thus charging the higher value services

Start up costs

  • UKAWP membership - £500
  • Register a domain name: £20
  • Logo and stationery : £100-£300
  • Website customisation: £600-£1000
  • Hosting : £10 a month
  • Photography : £300
  • Invest in content such as guides to different aspects of a wedding or event

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Start a tattoo removal business

Start a tattoo removal business


9.9 million searches a month for tattoo related keywords in the UK.

The reverse of having a tattoo is those who regret it and want it removed.

Plastic surgeons and skin clinics offer tattoo removal.

The business idea is to sell these businesses sales leads you generate for them online.

Medical practitioners are too busy to do their own sales and marketing

Who is this suited to?

Starting a tattoo removal business selling sales leads is ideally suited to someone with some internet experience; web designer, web developer, SEO or copywriter.

Also perfect for a student or someone with a medical background; a stay at home mum with dental or nursing experience.

What’s involved in starting up

Here’s what you should do if you are interested in starting a business of this nature.

You should set up a small website and put together photographs of people before and after the tattoo removal procedure.

Your website is going to need to be very medical and professional looking; I don’t have tattoos but I have considered laser eye surgery to correct a damaged cornea.

Your website should look like a Harley Street surgeon if you want your web presence to look credible.

Do your research and create frequently asked questions about the laser removal process for consumers.

When you consider that the tattoo removal treatment can run into thousands of pounds, you want to create a lead capture form containing the prospects name, location, email and details of the tattoos they have.

Then you should find a bunch of surgeons or clinics who performs this process and sell them the leads.

All you need to do is pull together the top 5 results of surgeons from Google’s local listings or go through the Yell.com website; the data is there.

Opportunity and Competition Analysis

Here’s the research I’ve already done to get your started.

Country : UK
Keyword phrase : tattoo removal
Organic searches per month : 12100
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10 : 102
Position in top 10 results : 9
Competition : non of note
Site to outrank :
Organic Traffic Per Month :

What does this research tell you?

This keyword is just one of thousands I’ve identified that is easy to rank for.

Put tattoo removal into SEMRUSH’s SEO Keyword Magic tool and you’ll find there’s around 39,000 searches a month in total.

Let’s say you get into the top 10 in Google.

  • You get 7% of the 12100 searches a month; 850 visits
  • 5% of people filled in enquiry form.
  • 42 enquiries a month
  • Clinics typically sell tattoo removal at £60 per session but you need 6-10 sessions for the removal to be effective.
  • So at a minimum clinics earn £360 to £600 per client.
  • Sell the lead at 10%
  • If you sold these leads to clinics for £60 that’s £2400 income per month.


This is a very low risk, low cost idea with hardly any overheads; your time and ability to create good website content and build relationships to earn links to your site

Start up costs

  • Domain : £20
  • Logo : £100
  • Hosting: £10 a month
  • WordPress template : £200
  • Web design and development customisation : £500
  • Web Form and CRM: Mailchimp at £10 a month or GetDrip at £40 per month
  • Photography costs : £300
  • Content Creation : between £100 and £500 per page
  • Backlinks : prices vary

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Start a low cost coffee business

Start a low cost coffee business

There is an opportunity to start a coffee business based on the keyword research I’ve done.

Background to starting a coffee business

Last month, before I met my client, I was waiting in their office reception when I was offered a cup of coffee.

The receptionist made the cuppa with a bean to cup coffee machine.

She wasn’t very pleased with the machine.

Do a Google search and you’ll see coffee machines vary in price from £129 to £1699.

A former client sold commercial coffee machines to restaurants and hotels and those Italian coffee machines started at around £5999; from recollection.

They had a relationship with an Italian supplier with sample machines in their showroom but did not hold any other stock; they drop shipped.

Who is a start up coffee business suited to?

I believe there are two different business opportunities here.

One involves face to face selling by someone, perhaps a sales rep who is currently calling on offices, businesses and even hospitality businesses.

Using my keyword research you should set up a website to sell product and invite enquiries.

So for a sales person with an existing portfolio of products this would be a great add on service if you found the right supplier.

Alternatively, a website selling bean to coffee cup machines directly would work.

What’s involved in starting up?

Other than your web site related costs there are very few other costs involved in setting up this business.

This could be done on a part time basis, on the side; ideal for students, stay at home mums or anyone with good digital skills.

Most importantly, this opportunity is suited to someone who is knowledgeable and passionate about coffee.

You will want to have some product knowledge about coffee beans and about alternative machines.

Opportunity and Competition Analysis

This is still a competitive market which is why the research I’ve done is so valuable to someone just starting up.

Country: UK
Keyword phrase: bean to cup coffee machines
Organic searches per month: 9900
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10: 5
Position in top 10 results: 6
Competition: Amazon, John Lewis, Curry’s
Site to outrank: beanstocupcoffeemachines.net
Organic Traffic Per Month: 3700

What does this research tell you?

There are 9900 searches per month for ‘Bean to Cup Coffee Machines’ and the site in position 6, the weakest site, has only 5 referring domains pointing to it.

And the weakest website is getting 3700 organic visits a month from Google.

Even the site in position 7 has only 57 referring domains and gets 5,000 organic visits per month.

So there’s 2 opportunities to rank in the top 10.

Business Forecast and Projections

I would recommend setting up a Shopify e-commerce store.

Source images and product descriptions from a supplier that will work with you on a drop shipping basis.

Then create and write your own unique content.

  • Let’s say you can outrank the weakest site in the top 10 and get 3700 visits a month.
  • A product priced between £129 and £699 is going to have a low sales conversion rate.
  • Let’s assume 1% of visitors purchase.
  • That’s 37 sales per month
  • Let’s assume you can command 20% commission from the supplier to operate on a drop shipping basis.
  • Take the average order value at £300.
  • That’s monthly revenue of £2220.

Cross sell and up-sell opportunities

I believe there’s also an opportunity to sell servicing of the higher priced coffee machines.

You might strike up a relationship with the manufacturer who have a team of field based engineers who can provided the servicing.

When you’ve acquired the customers, then start offering consumables; whilst the order values will be lower, they will be more frequent.

Worst case scenario

Let’s say the business doesn’t work out.

Let’s say you aren’t able to negotiate favourable supplier terms or the supplier decides to stop working with you.

Your investment is not wasted.

There are websites such as Flippa that enables website owners to sell their website and property.

If you’re able to have a well designed website with the traffic I estimated, you will more than get a return on your investment.

Low Start up costs

Compared to a traditional retail business the start up costs for an online coffee machine business are fairly low.

  • Register a domain name: £20
  • E-commerce website template: £200 use a Shopify template
  • Website customisation: £600-£1000
  • Shopify monthly hosting; £50 per month
  • Get a Stripe account to accept payments: zero
  • Create great content: creating valuable high quality content costs in time and money
  • Get high quality links: the average cost of link is around $150
  • Your time: your time is required to manage orders, email marketing, create content
  • Facebook advertising: you may need to invest in some Facebook advertising to target likely audience

Coffee business start-up costs

Between £800 and £1200

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Start a domestic energy business

Start a domestic energy business


An EPC Rating tells you how energy efficient your home is and is required if you buy or sell a house or if you are considering solar panels or heat pumps.

Estate agents, homeowners and home buyers need one.

You can either build a website and sell the enquiries you get to energy related companies.

Or you can take training and become a domestic energy advisor yourself.

Or a hybrid of both; do the EPC’s for local enquiries and sell the non local enquiries.

The key to this idea is knowing who to sell the leads to and how to create a website that can maximise conversions.

You will find the buyers on energy related groups on LinkedIn.

Who is this idea suited to?

This is an ideal opportunity for an energy company or someone who wants to set up a rent and rank website and sell leads to various companies who do EPC surveys.

What’s involved in starting up

If you are going to set up a website and sell the leads, you are going to need some industry and product knowledge.

Most of that can be found online.

If you want to train and become an DEA it will cost you £800 plus vat.

You’ll need a car and you’ll need to find a company who want EPC ratings done.

Opportunity and Competition Analysis

Doing keyword research is essential for any new or start up business.

Country : UK
Keyword phrase : EPC Rating
Organic searches per month : 8100
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10 : 4
Position in top 10 results : 1
Competition : uSwitch, Money Supermarket
Site to outrank : thepositivechoice.co.uk
Organic Traffic Per Month : 5700

What does this research tell you?

There are 8100 searches a month for EPC Rating and whilst this is an informational search it is ideal as a small business idea.

The weakest site is number one in Google with 4 referring domains and yet gets 5700 organic visits a month.

Business Forecast and Projections

The income from a EPC is around £120 to £200.

  • So let’s do some maths.
  • You sell the leads for £20.
  • 5700 organic visits
  • 5 % conversion rate
  • 285 enquiries
  • Even if only 50% take an EPC that monthly income of £2850.
  • Also the website at position 8 is also weak.
  • Let’s say you also become a qualified DEA and 10% of the enquiries you can survey.
  • That’s an extra 28 x £120 = £3360 per month
  • So the potential is £6210 per month.


I’ve a client in the industry and they were dependent on government policy and green deal funding.

I believe the industry is more stable now but you should do your due diligence.

Start up strategy

This is a low risk opportunity.

I would get a low cost website template but with a good design and create some create content.

Good content is key to this website.

After that you need links to your website.

There’s plenty of bloggers and influencers in the home improvement market that would link to the right type of content to boost your backlinks.

Start up costs

  • DEA Training - £800 plus vat
  • WordPress website template - £50-£100
  • GoDaddy hosting - £10 a month
  • Some web development customisation - £500
  • A web form or CRM such as GetDrip or MailChimp - £10 to £40 a month
  • Written content creation - £150 per page

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Start a photography and events company

Start a photography and events company


A photo booth is a unit that companies or groups rent for parties, graduations, wedding events and birthdays that lets people take impulsive group photographs in the style of passport photos.

Think of these photographs like group selfies.

The owner of the photo booth either charges a hire fee or provides the photo booth free of charge to the event organiser and charges people for the photographs they take.

Who is an events business like this suited to?

Starting a photography and events company is ideally to a photographer or entrepreneur who wants to broaden their business wings.

However, my accountant had a bouncy castle and events business during his university years so there’s no hard and fast rule on suitability.

You are going to be working unsociable hours when everyone else is having fun; so the right personality counts.

You better be a good problem solver; I worked corporate hospitality events for 3 years and you have to plan for every eventuality.

And expect your adrenaline levels to go on a rollercoaster ride.

What’s involved in starting an events business like this

Since the start up costs are higher than other ideas I’ve proposed, you will need two things.

Decide your pricing model; hire fee per event or charge for prints.

I’ve looked at a competitor and they charge a hire fee per event.

You are going to have travel costs, staff costs and other variable costs.

I’d recommend working on a spreadsheet with different cost and revenue projections.

The next thing you need are bookings and enquiries.

And this is where the keyword research I’ve done is vital.

Opportunity and Competition Analysis

There are 12,100 UK searches a month for Photo Booth Hire with the weakest website at position with 24 referring domains.

That website is getting 8,000 visits from Google a month.

In addition, there were weak websites in position 1,3,5,6 and 7.

So the ranking possibilities are strong.

Country: UK
Keyword phrase: Photo Booth Hire
Organic searches per month: 12100
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10: 24
Position in top 10 results: 2
Competition: none of note.
Site to outrank: snaptcha.co.uk
Organic Traffic Per Month: 8000

Business Forecast and Projections

Let’s do an estimate.

  • 8000 website visits (ok let’s undersell this and assume 4000 visits)
  • 2% enquiry rate
  • 80 enquiries per month
  • Let’s assume 1 in 4 people decide to go ahead and book an event.
  • You will have price objections, distance issues and people who aren’t really serious.
  • 20 bookings

Then there will be a time lag the enquiry and money in the bank.

Bear in mind it’s going to take 6 to 12 months to start realising organic traffic from Google.

Worst case scenario

I don’t think this is a business for life opportunity as I believe it’s a young man’s game.

How-ever the business may lead to other opportunities.

I believe the equipment will have a limited life span and new concepts will come onto the market requiring further investment.

Start up costs are relatively high

The downside is that the investment in a photo booth is high and you will need to have a good grasp of digital photography and have great customer service in taking and fulfilling orders.

  • Starting at £3309 plus vat for the frame, skins, screen and electrics
  • You will need to hire staff to support you for large events
  • You will need the right kind of transportation; a 4 x 4 or trailer
  • You need camera and photography equipment
  • You will incur fuel costs
  • Public indemnity insurance is required
  • You should insure your equipment
  • There will be website costs, content creation costs and seo work to earn backlinks
  • You’ll need business stationery

Event business start up costs

You will want to budget at least £10k to start up a photo booth events business.

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Start a guitar lesson business

Start a guitar lesson business


Starting a business to teach guitar caught my interest since my son plays guitar.

We sent him for weekly lessons with a guitar tutor for about two years.

There after he started learning songs from YouTube.

To grasp this idea, you will need to be a great guitarist or you could be a videographer or photography and team up with a guitarist as a joint venture.

Whilst face to face tutoring is hard to beat, I think the flexibility of learning at your own pace, in your time has to exceed the benefit of face to face tuition.

The lessons and content would have to be superb.

Who is this suited to?

Obviously you need to be a great guitarist and teacher to be able to sell training to beginners.

There is a fantastic series called MasterClass.com that sell classes from experts.

People like Kevin Spacey, Deadmau5, Hans Zimmer, Christina Aguilera and Usher to name a few.

Starting a guitar lesson business, what’s involved?

I believe you will need great production and editing skills.

The camera work required to get close to each hand; possibly 2 camera showing the left and right hand simultaneously.

Opportunity and Competition Analysis

We paid £2,000 for my son’s guitar lessons - 50 weeks x £20 per week x 2 years.

You have to sell this as an ongoing structured monthly learning and improvement service.

You must also sell the benefits of your online service versus the free offerings from YouTube and face to face tutoring.

Here’s the keyword research that has identified this opportunity and picked out the weakest competitor.

Country : UK
Keyword phrase : Guitar Lessons & Guitar Lessons for beginners
Organic searches per month : 9500
Site with fewest referring domains in the top 10 : 12
Position in top 10 results : 5
Competition : none of note.
Site to outrank : guitarlessonsforbeginners.com
Organic Traffic Per Month : 2500

What does this research tell you?

The website ranks for both these keywords with a combined monthly search volume of 9500 searches a month.

The site rank at 5 is the weakest with 12 referring domains.

His website is getting 2500 organic visits a month.

In addition, there are 2 other weak sites in the top 10.

Business Forecast and Projections

So let’s say you can outrank the weakest website above.

  • 2500 organic visits
  • You offer a free introduction course
  • 20% sign up
  • 50 people sign up
  • Say you sell a monthly subscription at £20 a month
  • 20% of people go ahead
  • 100 x £20 = £2000 per month

That’s an annual revenue of £78,000 in the first year.

Look at the rule of 78 for subscription income.

Then there are add on products you could sell; plectrums, guitars, song books; anything guitar related.

Risks to starting an online guitar lesson business

As per Google Trends, there is a decline in interest in guitar lessons but don’t let that hinder you.

The right content with the right teacher will work.

I’ve taken a screenshot of the estimated website traffic masterclass.com gets.

1 millions visitors a month.

At a 1% conversion rate that website is estimated to generate $900,000 a month.

I would imagine the revenue is split between the artist and the website.

Start up marketing strategy

You will need to invest fairly heavily compared to the other small business ideas I’ve proposed.

I would start by building up great website content and get links so you start generating organic traffic.

Offer a free lesson in exchange for the users’ email address to build up your prospect list.

Or have a coming soon page with an opt-in form.

This will ensure you don’t have to invest heavily in production and then no one purchases.

Customers first, content second.

Start up costs

  • Video producer and editor - this could range from £1500 to £10,000
  • E-commerce Teaching platform - Teachable is £99 a month
  • Design - you’ll need someone to design course graphics.
  • Written content to generate organic traffic
  • Backlink work

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Start a handyman business or website

Recently IKEA purchased a company called Task Rabbit to enable customers to hire handy people to assemble the furniture they purchased.

I once assembled a table and chairs purchased from IKEA; it’s not fun.

Looking at the following research and questions people type into Google, you can see that furniture assemble isn’t the only problem people have.

There’s a chap on Facebook starting a business for ex army and military people seeking careers.

If you are a very pragmatic person these keywords could be the fuel to starting a handyman business or website.

how to unblock a toilet - 7100 searches
how to bleed a radiator - 6800 searches
how to bleed radiators - 4400 searches
how to change a tap washer - 1600 searches
how to get rid of mould - 1700 searches
how to get rid of damp - 1100 searches
how to stop condensation - 1100 searches

I would start with a basic WordPress website and get your content written and created to get some traction in the search engines.

Then as traffic builds up you will find out if you get business enquiries or not.

The alternative business model, provided you build up enough website traffic, is to offer other websites guest posts or links in exchange for a fee.

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Start a grass or home improvement business

People pay good money for a new garden, patio or decking to enhance their money.

When I reviewed these search queries, it would appear people are seeking to learn how to do these tasks themselves; perhaps to save money.

how to lay artificial grass - 5200 searches
how to lay turf - 3800 searches
how to lay a patio - 3900 searches
how to lay slabs - 1600 searches
how to lay astroturf - 1100 searches
how to lay decking - 2600 searches

A friend of a friend sells astroturf and that’s a very prosperous business to be in; especially in the south of England.

You have 3 business model choices with these opportunities:

  • Set up a blog with guides and sell other companies backlinks or guest posts
  • Set up website with these guides and offer your services to do this word.
  • Set up an e-commerce website and sell these products; perhaps on a drop shipping basis.

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Curtain business start up

I was approached by a consultant for a curtain company in the summer to re-develop their website.

The website was getting zero organic traffic.

how to measure curtains - 4800 searches
how to measure for curtains - 3300 searches

When you think about the intention behind these 2 searches, you would imagine a person is considering new curtains for their home.

The barrier to entry to the curtain business are low and the key to starting is getting customers.

It’s not difficult to find product suppliers.

So these 2 search queries could be the catalyst to creating content when you start your new curtain website.

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Start a career advice business

There’s been a huge surge in recruitment businesses being set up.I guess the barriers to setting up are low.

Recruitment consultants are under a lot of pressure to deliver results for their company so it’s no surprise consultants go out on their own.

I’ve pulled together some content ideas for anyone starting a recruitment business or starting a career advice business.

how to end a cover letter - 2800 searches
how to hand in your notice - 1100 searches
how to ask for a pay rise - 1300 searches
how to get ahead in advertising - 1100 searches
how to become a childminder - 1400 searches

I know for a fact, having a recruitment business client, this this type of helpful content does generate website traffic and people registering for interested jobs.

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Start an accountancy or legal practice

With thousands of students graduating in accountancy and law each year some times getting your first foot on the ladder can be difficult.

So why not turn your expertise into valuable website content and attract your own clients.

There’s huge scope for opportunity here with these keywords.

Most existing accountancy and legal practices are too busy serving existing clients to create this type of content.

how to register a business - 3100 searches
how to buy shares - 4000 searches
how to work out vat - 1700 searches
how to pay corporation tax - 1700 searches
how to set up a limited company - 1700 searches
how to buy shares uk - 1400 searches
how to avoid inheritance tax - 1100 searches
how to find out who owns land - 1400 searches
how much do I need to retire - 1200 searches

Providing answers to these questions will not result in people bypassing you and doing this work themselves.

They are more likely to use your expertise to ensure the work is doing correctly.

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Start a nail or beauty business

My ex wife start a nail technician business a few years ago.

She got a partial grant to fund her training and I created her logo, website and social channels.

Most of her business comes from Facebook as she lost interest in her website.

However when you look at the search volume of these queries, I believe there’s a great opportunity to still use Google to generate new business.

how to remove acrylic nails - 2400 searches
how to remove gel nails - 2100 searches
how to remove gel nail polish - 1300 searches
how to strengthen nails - 1100 searches
how to do gel nails - 700 searches
how to remove false nails - 600 searches
how to whiten nails - 300 searches

When a woman makes a search like these she’s looking to remove nail polish in order to get her nails re-done.

So that’s why you should create this type of content if you start a beauty or nail business with your services built around the content.

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Start a carpet or flooring business

I mentioned in another business ideas that ex military and army people found it difficult to get civilian careers.

how to lay laminate flooring - 4900 searches
how to fit a carpet - 1300 searches
how to fit laminate flooring - 1000 searches
how to lay vinyl flooring - 1100 searches

The skills required to lay and fit carpet and flooring are crucial to every homeowner and home improvement business.

Creating website content or videos like these would generate a good volume of website traffic.

There are different business models you could pursue.

  • Let the customer purchase the materials, you fit and lay.
  • You could pull together a directory of fitters around the UK and charge them.

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Summarising these 13 business ideas

Unlike other lists of small businesses to start, these ideas are based up with keyword and competitive research.

You need to provide better website content to outrank your competitors and you need to earn highly authoritative links to boost your positions.

The start up costs I've provided are best estimates and the web based costs depend on you know what you are doing; they don't include any consulting costs.

The forecasts and estimates are just that; you won't know until you commit.

I've also compiled a list of 75 website ideas by analysing pages from websites that get a high level of organic traffic; try those ideas to get started.

Best of luck; any questions leave a comment or get in touch.

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