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Five uncomplicated recession-proof businesses

subway

Starting a business, even at the best of times, is daunting.

Back in what are now known nostalgically as the boom years, start-ups still had their work cut out to make it past the first couple of years.

Apparently, 80% of start-ups failed within their first five years.

That percentage can surely only rise - or can it?

So hard is it to raise finance now that only entrepreneurs with detailed, convincing business plans will get funding, so fewer dubious business ideas will be realised.

And people will be much keener to start businesses in recession-proof sectors.

You still have to put serious hours in, work hard and have a degree of business nous - but do that and you've a great chance of success 

For the newly redundant whose skills pertain to sectors in the doldrums, here are five recession-proof businesses which don't require specialist skills or qualifications.

That's not to say they're easy to run. You'll still need to put serious hours in, work hard and have a degree of financial and business nous - but do that and you've a great chance of success, whatever the economic weather.

Buy a convenience store

People still need to eat during a recession. They don't even necessarily cut back on inessential comfort foods; if anything, they value 'luxuries' like chocolate and biscuits more than ever and they hardly cost a fortune anyway.

Eating out, meanwhile, does add significantly to the budget, so restaurants suffer more than most. Grocery store custom could get a boost from customers popping in more frequently to buy ingredients.

Running a convenience store requires cash-handling ability and a willingness to work long hours and weekends. Retail experience is useful though not essential, so a convenience store is very much open to most people.

Buy a newsagent

Fags, mags and chocolate are all resilient in lean times. Cigarettes because they're so addictive and people who do quite tend to quit for health rather than financial reasons. Cutting newspapers, magazines and confectionery from the budget make a negligible difference to disposable income.

Job requirements are broadly similar to those of running a convenience store, though you also rise very early in the morning.

Buy a bargain store

Everything-for-a-pound stores will not be suffering during the current crisis. Cheap and essential, household items like toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo, toilet roll and cling film are not where people can make savings.

Like newsagents and convenience stores, money-handling ability and a degree of commercial common sense are the main requirements, but working hours are less onerous.

Buy a fast-food franchise

Fast-food businesses offer a low-budget, comfort-food alternative to restaurants which people turn to in droves during austere times. It even compares favourably on price with home-cooked meals.

As the rest of the economy retrenches, McDonalds and KFC have announced the opening of hundreds of new outlets, and the Subway continues expanding at breakneck speed, with sales actually rising in the crisis.

Buying a franchise from such well-known, established brands is about as close as you can get to a Sure Thing. It's hard to fail with the marketing muscle and reputation of a huge brand behind you, what will probably be a prime, high-street location, and a great product with robust demand.

Of course, you'll have to convince them that you've got what it takes first - and this generally involves a certain degree of commercial nous, enthusiasm and a willingness to work hard.

Specialist culinary knowledge is rarely required as the menus are already in place and the food relatively straightforward to prepare.

Buy an e-commerce / eBay business

A global marketplace of thousands of buyers and sellers, eBay is a great shop window for all manner of goods. However obscure the goods you have to sell, you'll find your target market on eBay.

Some people use the site just to make a supplementary part-time income, while others actually make a living out of it.

An added benefit is you can work from home, which means overheads are negligible.

You don't even need to be a technophile to use eBay, unlike if you were making your own website.

The online auction powerhouse is a go-to place for new and second-hand goods.

And for those who search for goods through Google, eBay's hefty web presence ensures it's invariably high among the shopping results.

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