UK business ideas for 2024 – top 10 trends to watch

A group of people at a food truck

Looking to start your own business in 2024? At Simply Business, we’ve delved into our customer data to reveal the latest trends among small businesses and the self-employed.

What are the most popular new business ideas, and how has rising cost of running a business impacted these trends? From food stalls to photographers, here’s what we’re predicting for 2024.

10 fastest growing trades for small businesses

We analysed all new Simply Business business insurance policies taken out in 2022 and 2023 to find the fastest growing small business sectors.

Read all about the top 10 trades expected to grow the fastest in 2024:

  1. Food stall
  2. Photography
  3. Market trader
  4. Property managing agent
  5. Garden maintenance
  6. Craft stall
  7. Business management consultant
  8. Handyman
  9. Teachers and tutors
  10. Cleaning
List of the top 10 fastest growing trades with graphics

Top 10 fastest growing trades. Image credit: Simply Business

Creative escapism and practical services

Trades that embrace being outdoors and not stuck at a desk alongside creative vocations of photography and artisan crafts characterise our top 10 list of fast growing trades.

Food stall

Food stall businesses are on the rise, with an impressive 22 per cent growth in 2023 compared to 2022.

While the cost of living crisis is making people vote with their feet, and many are choosing to eat out less, food stalls and street food vendors are the perfect middle ground.

Plus, there’s no end of festivals now too – from music and food to gin and comedy – and each one has countless food vans vying for hungry customers.

Wondering how to start your own food van business? Read our guide to getting started.


From weddings and special events to fashion and journalism, photographers are in demand. And after a quiet few years during the pandemic, we saw a 17 per cent year-on-year rise in 2023.

If you’re planning to start a photography business, consider your niche and how you can stand out in the market. For example, do you have a knack for putting a smile in family portraits or are you interested in working with commercial clients?

Market trader

One of the most traditional small businesses out there, the humble market trader grew 15 per cent year-on-year in 2023.

The familiar sound of fruit and veg sellers calling out offers in UK market towns is showing no sign of fading away. And some business owners are now choosing to take their market trade on the road with a mobile van.

For example, the Sussex Peasant is a mobile fruit and veg seller that collects local farm-grown produce for Brighton residents. And the 2023 Business Boost winner, Fair-Well, is a mobile shop bringing refill stations to the grocery shoppers of Islington. Both these small businesses are embracing the societal movement towards sustainability and shopping local.

Property managing agent

Property managing agents look after repairs and upkeep of rental properties. Coming in fourth in our top growing trades list, property managing agents are on the up.

While many landlords are considering selling up this departure is perhaps more keenly felt among landlords with one property. Portfolio landlords (and therefore those more likely to need the help of a managing agent) are probably going to stay put for the time being.

Interested in joining this growing trend? Read our guide to starting a property management company.

Garden maintenance

Garden maintenance businesses just land within our top five trades for growth, with an 11 per cent increase in 2023.

During winter the idea of working could be a challenging prospect, but when summer rolls around supporting clients to look after their outside spaces could be a welcome career change.

Gardeners need a love of nature and green fingers – our guide to starting a gardening business explains how to get your business off the ground.

Gardener mowing lawn

Photograph: aboutmomentsimages/stock.adobe.com

Craft stall

People are increasingly starting creative side hustles and earning an income alongside their main employment. Think candle making, homemade cards, and jewellery. Craft stalls are one way people are reaching customers with their products.

Beyond just the Christmas craft fair, some towns now have regular pop-ups – and that could be why craft sellers are on the rise in the UK.

If you’ve already got an online business, why not consider how you could reach more customers with a pop-up craft stall too? Or if you’re just starting out, read our guide to starting a craft business.

Business management consultant

Consulting is a popular freelance trade in the professional world. Specifically, business and management consultants are on the up as companies look for support and guidance on strategy.

This is a broad term and you could specialise in anything from finance to marketing to full organisational structure and culture.

For example, our 2021 Business Boost winner was a diversity and inclusion consultancy business and they’ve grown to hire employees and publish a book. Read their story here.


While plenty of people like to try their hand at DIY, a handyman service is something many still rely on for projects at home. From basic electrical jobs to painting and decorating, a handyman is now seeing a rise in popularity.

Simply Business data shows a five per cent rise in handymen between 2022 and 2023. And technology has perhaps aided this growth as it’s so easy to find a handyman on platforms like taskrabbit for a wide range of jobs, from furniture assembly to general maintenance.

Skills in the trades are highly sought after and can be well paid. You’ll just need to navigate the challenges of materials shortages and rising costs, but it can be a lucrative earner for practical people.

Read more on how to set up a handyman business.

Teachers and tutors

The teaching profession is a rewarding but challenging one. Despite this, we’ve seen a rise in teachers and tutors insured in 2023 compared to 2022.

A report in The Times suggests the rise of private tutors stems from parents wanting to fill the gap in education their children lost during the pandemic.

And private tutoring is a popular side hustle as some teachers look for ways to boost their income and find an alternative to classroom teaching. You could specialise in exam preparation or teach a musical instrument or language.

Interested in being a self-employed teacher? Read this step-by-step guide.


The domestic cleaner made our top 10 list for growth as more people are taking a shine to the options and flexibility it can bring.

People are always going to need a reliable cleaning service, so it may be a vocation you want to explore. Word of mouth is often the best marketing approach for cleaners, but make sure you consider other things like a good website and local listings on Google Maps.

Read more on how to start your own cleaning company.

Even the best business ideas need a thought-out plan

The small profitable business ideas in this article are designed to give you inspiration. If you want to explore an idea, make sure you treat it as a business, carrying out the right research and planning – writing a business plan is a great place to start.

Once you’ve decided on the type of business you want to start, it’ll need a name. If you’re looking for small business name ideas, why not use our free Business Name Generator?

What are your favourite self-employed ideas for 2024? Let us know in the comments below.

Methodology: Simply Business analysed policies that were trading less than a year in 2022 (69,535) and 2023 (72,465) to find the fastest growing sectors.

More guides and resources for starting a business

For more general data on business confidence and optimism, read our SME Insights Report and understand the challenges that businesses are facing.

Looking for self-employed insurance?

With Simply Business you can build a single self-employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it’s public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we’ll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we’re a good fit.

Photograph: Jacob Lund/stock.adobe.com

Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.

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