Whether you feel stymied in your current job or are unemployed and have been unsuccessful in your hunt for a new job, the idea of starting your own small business can be tempting. Most Americans share the entrepreneurial spirit, and with unemployment lingering in the 7.3 percent range, it may be time for you to give it serious consideration.
Small businesses have been hit hard in recent years
According to the Small Business Administration, a small business is one that has fewer than 50 employees, and they represent more than 99 percent of all businesses on our country and about 50 percent of our private-sector economy. Small businesses have been hit hard in recent years, however, and many are holding off on hiring more employees.
But what about new small businesses that require little capital to launch? What are the best fields to consider during this sluggish economy? The answers reflect the changing demographic and consumer trends in America. Here is a list of five areas to consider for your new small business.
Five areas to consider for your new small business
Corporate downsizing has created the opportunity for professionals to serve as consultants in many industries. In fact, according to Sageworks, a financial information company, niche business consulting is expected to increase by 5.9 percent through 2016. While there can be stiff competition in the field, the costs of starting a consulting business are fairly low.
According to the Sageworks study, consultants are particularly in demand in these areas: marketing and public relations, energy management, safety and security and environmental concerns.
The healthcare industry is expanding across a broad spectrum, especially as more and more Baby Boomers enter retirement. Hospitals, labs, therapists’ offices and doctors’ offices are hiring independent consultants to helping them to reduce costs and to improve efficiency.
Another offshoot of the aging Baby Boomer demographic is the need for home fitness consultants. Home fitness consultants are part personal trainer and part health consultant. They make home visits to offer clients fitness and exercise sessions and advice on healthy living habits.
Another growing area for independent consultants is in social media management. Social media consultants help businesses find new customers by increasing and maintaining their social media presence.
Crowdfunding consultant is a new small business for the 21st century. Crowdfunding consultants help companies raise capital in small amounts from a large group of people using the Internet and social media. Consultants develop a campaign, launch it, and coordinate post-funding activities.
2. Computer services
This field is ripe for entrepreneurs. Got a great idea for an app? If you have the idea plus the knowledge of coding and software development, you may have the basis of a good business.
Although software spending is expected to have increased by just 5% through the end of this year, the software-as-a-service niche will have expanded by nearly 20%. Many companies see the benefits of having on-demand, flexible applications, and are looking to independent companies to provide them.
Demand for web design – or the re-design of older sites – is also high. Web designers need an extensive knowledge of coding, graphic design, and Internet marketing techniques. One of those techniques is SEO, search engine optimization. Today’s businesses are clamoring to get their names in the top search engine ranking pages for their niche. Therefore, SEO can be a lucrative small business.
3. Personal Services
For the next 20 years, an average of 10,000 people each day will reach the retirement age of 65. By 2020, roughly seven million people in the United States will be over the age of 85. Those numbers means that services for the elderly will become increasingly in demand.
Here are a few home services that will see growth:
- Lawn care and landscapers
- House cleaning
- Personal shopping
- Pet care and pet walking
- Personal fitness trainer
- Snow removal
4. Professional services
The internet provides the opportunity for many professionals to offer their services from a home office to clients throughout the world. Many online companies provide formats for freelancers and clients to find each other. One area of job growth is translation. As businesses become more global, companies often seek the services of talented linguists to translate their communications with other countries.
Other ideas for professional services on a small business level are photography, writing and editing, appraisal services and credit repair services.
5. Food On-the-Go
One of the newer kids on the block in terms of small businesses is the food truck. From 2007-2012, the food truck industry growth rate averaged 8.4 percent each year and it is expected to see revenue grow from $650 million to $2.7 billion by 2017. While residents of big cities have seen food trucks on their street corners for many years now, the craze has even hit small town America recently.
For the entrepreneur with an interest in cooking, a food truck in a busy location can offer low overhead and high profit.
Another food-related small business that will see growth in coming years is the food home delivery business. The expected demand is to come from aging baby boomers who will not want to compromise their meal standards even if they cannot shop and cook for themselves as much as they used to.
According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, more than 540,000 new businesses are created in the Unite States each month. Many of those businesses are being started by first time entrepreneurs. Technology has created an opportunity for entrepreneurs of all ages – especially those who are tech savvy – to start their own businesses. Maybe it’s time for you to give your dream a try.
Small Business Administration