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The most profitable industries in the UK are usually serviced by huge corporations, such as utility companies, banks, insurance firms, supermarkets, and pension funds. But there are also many profitable sectors that are more accessible to entrepreneurs setting up a business.
In this blog, we will consider the most profitable industries suited to startups.
The technology sector is one of the most profitable industries at the moment, and also one of the most varied. There is a steady stream of innovative tech products and services being launched, with many startups in this area seeing incredible levels of growth and high returns. Examples of lucrative technology business are listed below.
The proliferation of smartphones means that millions of people are now using apps to go about their daily lives. Apps are used for countless tasks, from ordering a pizza to checking the bus timetable, and playing games while you wait.
It is estimated that in 2023 mobile apps will generate in excess of $935 billion. All that is needed to develop a successful app is an understanding of coding and the ability to gauge consumer interest.
Homeworking is becoming part of the ‘new normal’ for most office workers.
One of the consequences of this increase in remote working and cloud computing is that a robust IT infrastructure has become critical for many businesses. This, in turn, has led to a huge call for IT professionals who can maintain a company’s networks and systems.
Although platforms such as WordPress have made website creation far more accessible, most businesses will still want to get a professional web designer to build their website.
Although web design is not as lucrative as it used to be in the early years of the internet, there are still healthy profits to be made for minimal outlay. Most website designers need a basic knowledge of HTML, an eye for design, and the ability to realise the vision of a client.
Legal services are one of the most profitable industries in the UK, worth in the region of £60 billion to the UK economy. Although law firms were traditionally very hierarchical and seen as more academic than entrepreneurial, this image has changed considerably over the past decade or so.
The introduction of Alternative Business Structures by the Legal Services Act 2007 allowed non-lawyers to have a financial stake in a law firm, opening up the legal sector to the wider business community.
The culture of lawyers has also shifted quite dramatically. Instead of viewing their career as one of steady progression through the hierarchy of an established firm, many solicitors now decide to set up their own boutique practices after getting a few years of experience under their belt. This trend has led to the rise of the entrepreneurial lawyer, with an eye on business as well as the latest legislation.
Although many chartered accountants work in The Big Four or other major accountancy firms, there are over 35,000 accountancy firms in the UK.
Accountancy is one of the most profitable industries, contributing almost £60 billion to UK GDP in 2017. And there is very little capital outlay required when starting up an accountancy firm, especially if working from home.
Bookkeeping can also be a highly rewarding business startup, with fewer barriers to entry compared to accountancy. Bookkeepers keep an accurate record of the money coming into and out of a business. Tasks include managing the day-to-day cash flow, preparing for year-end tax returns, and helping to keep finances running smoothly.
When people think of the medical profession, their first thought is of the NHS. But although the National Health Service is one of the largest employers in the world, there are thousands of doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals who are in private practice in the UK.
It may not project an entrepreneurial image, but healthcare is actually one of the most profitable industries; the private healthcare market in the UK has been forecast to be worth $13.8 billion by the end of 2023.
Harley Street is perhaps most closely associated with private medical care, but private GP practices are dotted all over the UK, albeit generally in more affluent areas.
Certain services, such as plastic surgery for non-medical purposes or cosmetic dentistry, are only available privately. But many individuals will choose private healthcare even if the same treatment is available on the NHS for free, for a variety of reasons.
Healthcare professionals who decide to set up a private medical practice will often group together and form an LLP. They will sometimes continue working for the NHS as well as doing private work – particularly in the case of senior consultants.
The property market in the UK has been going from strength to strength, with house prices climbing 7.5% in 2020. There are a multitude of different trades which rely on the property industry, and many of the people working in this sector run their own businesses. This includes:
- Estate agents
- Skilled tradespeople (e.g. bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers, plasterers, tilers, roofers, etc)
- Chartered surveyors
- Civil and structural engineers
The marketing sector is extremely varied and encompasses a wide range of professions. Many people choose to set up a marketing business, not only because it is one of the most profitable industries, but also due to the low overheads.
A very high proportion of marketing professionals are either freelance or provide their services through their own company. Some of the specialisms in this sector which are particularly well suited to startups include:
Whilst some marketers offer more general services, an increasing number now specialise in managing the social media accounts of businesses, building their following, and optimising user engagement.
The old adage ‘content is king’ is still true today. Marketing departments often rely on a steady stream of blogs, longer articles, and other forms of well-written content. However, very few businesses employ dedicated copywriters, relying instead on external content specialists.
Most websites and marketing materials require some form of visual design. Many graphic designers are freelancers who work on a contract-to-contract basis, often through their own limited company.
Other design professionals include illustrators, photographers, animators, user experience designers, and video content specialists.
Large organisations often require a dedicated public relations (PR) officer. They are responsible for relaying the messaging of a company to the wider public, often liaising with the press in order to ensure good publicity.
Although huge corporations will generally employ their own PR specialist, smaller outfits will often use the services of an external PR firm, contracting them for a couple of days each month.
Search engine marketing
The Google ranking of an e-commerce website can make or break a business. Even for companies that only use their online presence as a ‘shop window’, the enquiries which are generated through online traffic can be critical.
Specialist search engine marketers can help to move websites into the all-important ‘top ten’ search results for key search terms.
Delivery and transportation
Home delivery has mushroomed over the past few years as a result of the wider adoption of e-commerce by consumers. The food delivery market alone is worth £8.5 billion, making delivery one of the most profitable industries in the UK.
A vast proportion of delivery drivers either work through the gig economy in a self-employed capacity, or else they provide delivery services via their own limited company. They will often be subcontracted by companies that, in turn, have the primary contracts with large e-commerce outfits like Amazon.
Aside from home delivery, many transportation professionals work through their own businesses. Removals companies are never short of work due to the strong property market which results in a constant stream of people moving home. Most of these companies sub-contract work to smaller-scale entrepreneurs who sometimes describe themselves simply as ‘man and van’.
Influencing and blogging
A newcomer to the list of most profitable industries, influencing cannot be easily defined.
The rise of celebrity culture over the past couple of decades was boosted by the growth of social media, coupled with a transition to online targeted advertising. Many celebrities now make eye-watering sums by influencing their followers to purchase specific products, e.g. Kylie Jenner is reportedly paid almost £1 million for a single post on Instagram.
But you don’t need to be a well-known celebrity to make significant revenues from influencing social media followers or even merely placing adverts on your website.
Many individuals with a large enough following in their niche area can make a steady income through influencing and advertising. These include gamers on Twitch, YouTubers who review products, dancers on TikTok, interior design Instagrammers, and a whole smorgasbord of bloggers.
Fitness and wellbeing
As levels of obesity and stress have increased over the recent decades, many services have sprung up to help improve people’s physical and mental health. The fitness sector, in general, is one of the most profitable industries in the UK.
There are minimal overheads for personal trainers (PTs), particularly those who run their courses outdoors in parks. But a Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification is required to work as a self-employed personal trainer in the UK, and a first aid qualification is vital.
Moving towards the personal wellness side of the equation, yoga teachers combine physical activity with meditation, with the aim of improving body and soul. And in the realm of non-clinical mental health, therapists and counselors of all disciplines abound.
Some of the more popular wellness businesses include:
- Careers trainer – helping people to decide their calling in life and how to find a job
- Business coach – providing tips and tricks to set up a successful business
- Life coach – anything from dating advice to managing financial affairs, or simply finding more meaning in life
So there you have it!
I hope you found this blog of interest and it provides some direction for your business startup. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below and I will get straight back to you.