Ok, it’s a little late for this article, but still some great food for thought if you are thinking about starting a business… Starting a business is at the top of many New Year’s Resolutions. Deciding the right business to start is the first hurdle. If you don’t have something you have “always wanted to do”, finding the best idea can be difficult. Obviously, your new business needs to be something that will hold your interest, but it is not necessary for you to already be an expert in the industry. By the time you do the groundwork to develop your idea into a viable business, you will be on your way to becoming an expert!
The 2010 marketplace is a bit different from previous years. The devastation of the economy has changed consumer priorities, closing the door on some opportunities but opening the doors to far more. The changing demographics of the US also present excellent prospects for new niches in the small business realm. Five areas to consider in your search for the right startup idea include:
Everyone has a smart phone — it is the new standard in communication and entertainment. From busy professionals to chatty teenagers to Grandma, using the smart phones to communicate, plan, research, schedule and play is here to stay. If you have some great app ideas, you can always find a freelance IT guy to help you with the programming work.
Healthcare is a major issue in this country, from legislation and insurance problems to the vast shortage of nurses. In addition, the geriatric crowd is growing rapidly and many more of them are looking to stay in their homes as long as possible. Whether you are already in the healthcare field or not, there are plenty of related opportunities for small business to fill in gaps and fill niches.
Food & Booze
Alcohol sales always seem to boom during and after major recessions. Combine that with the growing market of foodies and there is an industry rife with opportunity. In addition, specialty diets are receiving extra attention (diabetic, vegetarian, etc.). Any business idea that can fill a niche within the food and beverage industry (and not necessarily a restaurant) has a good chance of growth.
Youth & Seniors
The two ends of the age spectrum wield an enormous amount of spending power. The youth drive fashion in significant ways and their parents are always looking for ways to broaden the kids’ horizons. With the questionable state of public education, enrichment opportunities are a good bet. From language classes to culinary training to youth athletics (over 7 million high schoolers play sports), there are numerous startup opportunities focused on youth. Seniors are another rich target. The younger seniors are more active and interested in life than ever before. The older generation are desperate for products and services that will allow them to stay in their homes as long as possible.
The New Basics
Great changes in politics and culture (not to mention the economy) bring about new industries for savvy entrepreneurs. “Going green” is on the upswing and provides numerous startup niches from making businesses green to all-natural, environmentally-friendly products. Recessions tend to alter consumer priorities such that home and family become the primary concern for many. Products and services that give people more free time will be in demand, as will handicrafts and home-focused products. Of course, the king of the new basics are tech products, especially those related to smart phone applications and accessories.
Looking for the right business idea is just a matter of seeing what people need. Spend some time talking to people and checking out the existing businesses in your area. Your idea does not have to be entirely original, just be a better twist on what is already available. Look for niches within your area of interest — startups with a clear focus tend to have greater success and you can always expand the scope down the road. Whatever you decide to do, don’t wait! The sooner you get started, the sooner you will achieve independence in your worklife!
About the Author-K. MacKillop, a serial entrepreneur, is founder of LaunchX and authors a small business startup blog. The LaunchX System is designed to help entrepreneurs start a business based on their own idea. It includes step-by-step business startup instructions, key software, business tools, and more — a complete business kit. Visit LaunchX.com to learn more about this revolutionary way to become an entrepreneur.