Recycling pickup: Most homeowners have pick-up bins for standard recyclables like paper, glass and plastic, but they often don't make the effort to properly recycle electronics and batteries, which can be extremely harmful to the environment when left in landfills. Offer to pick up all the e-waste that's been collecting in their garages — old televisions, broken laptops, defunct cellphones — and bring them to your local electronic recycling facility. Charge per item, by weight, or a flat fee plus travel to and from the location.
Software trainer: If you're proficient in a highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. The best part about this gig is that it can be done part time.
Healthcare Consulting: The combination of aging baby boomers and the upcoming changes of the Affordable Care Act means that the healthcare industry will rapidly continue to expand. As an independent healthcare consultant, you can offer management and data analysis for organizations like hospitals, labs and therapist offices to help implement solutions to improve efficiency and/or save money. This is a great opportunity to put that marketing or economics degree to use.
Food Truck: We included this on our list of business ideas for foodies, and for good reason: a December 2012 study by Intuit and Emergent Research predicted that revenue from the food truck industry will reach $2.7 billion by 2017. A truck is a much less expensive investment than a brick-and-mortar restaurant and, according to Mobi Munch founder Josh Tang, the failure rate for food trucks is just 10 to 20 percent (as opposed to 60 to 90 percent for restaurants). With the right equipment and some great recipes, you can have your mobile eatery up and running in no time.
Freelancing: Companies are increasingly turning to freelance and contract workers to fill the skill gaps in their staff. It's not hard to imagine that you could build a whole company around providing freelance services of one sort or another. According to Freelancer.com, which lists more than a million freelance projects on its site, the most in-demand freelance services are: data entry, academic writing, Excel projects, data processing, Web search and Facebook-based jobs. Hourly rates start at $30 an hour and stretch into the hundreds.
Mobile consulting: It's been said before, but it bears repeating: mobile is now a non-negotiable for almost any business. Finding ways to go mobile is a challenge for many business owners. If your company can provide affordable mobile solutions to businesses that need them you'll find mobile consulting a rich business opportunity.
According to Jamie Turner, founder of a company called "The 60-Second Marketer," there will be ongoing need for mobile assistance.
"Research from the 60-Second Marketer indicates that there are more people on the planet who own a mobile device than who own a toothbrush," said Turner, who co-authored the new book "Go Mobile" (Wiley, January 2012) with Jeanne Hopkins. "So it's safe to say that your prospects are using mobile. If you're in business, it's your job to be where your prospects are. Your prospects are in mobile right now."
Translator: There's no denying the global marketplace is growing and reaching beyond the borders of China and Mexico. All that cross-cultural communication is creating a growing need for translators, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. It predicts a greater demand for interpreters and translators resulting from the broadening of international ties and growth in the number of non-English speakers in the United States will result in a projected 22 percent increase in the number individuals employed in this profession.
This translates into a big business opportunity for entrepreneurs who can bring foreign-language speakers together with businesses in need.
Hottest Trends in Business
The following 4 trends were selected for longevity, market awareness & potential profitability.
Youth Market: The Y generation is a market force to be reckoned with. This power is why a small-town pop sensation, Avril Lavigne, can go from obscurity to the 5th most searched word on the Internet and move to the number 2 music spot on Billboard's Top 200 charts. This power is also, why the auto industry can expect peak numbers from 27 million teen car buyers, and 4 million new buyers, a year for the next 8 years.
A quick, trend-spotting technique is to take a stroll to your local magazine rack. You can get a fast take on a market by looking at the thickness of the publication. Computer & business magazines, Red Herring and Fast Company, have thinned from an absence of advertisers. Take a look at the huge size of Muscle Magazine and Muscle & Fitness as the teenage bodybuilding markets have grown, so has the advertising.
Opportunities: Serving the teen auto aftermarket with customization should be hot. Try the Classic Driving School, a unique, teen driver training experience with a Porsche. Youth sport supplements should continue growing but with fierce competition. Look for avenues in fitness mixed with extreme attitudes.
Green Power: The environment trend has been around and been a struggle for many companies, such as automakers with electric cars trying to capitalize on the green awareness. The care of Mother Earth is still a big concern of society. According to a recent Harris Poll, over 74% of American adults believe in the global warming theory. Over 73% of U.S. citizens approve of the Kyoto agreement for countries to limit their carbon monoxide and greenhouse gas emissions. Although, the United States has not signed the accord, countries like Canada, that have accepted, the accord will be a watch place for the impact.
Opportunities: This trend will be supported by businesses reducing reliance on oil & gas with new forms of energy like wind power. Wind power experienced a 1.7 billion dollar increase in new equipment during 2001 (American Wind Energy Association). Also, look to companies helping companies reduce energy consumption with new forms of energy saving products. For example, one small business is profiting from installing energy efficient shipping doors for corporate shipping operations.
Quality of Life: The wellness and health trend shows no sign of slow down since it's early infancy during the 80's fitness movement. This trend is the convergence of rising health care costs in all developed countries, the aging of the baby boomer, the desire to keep our youth, and growing life expectancy.
Paul Zane Pilzer, world economist & entrepreneur; predicted with accuracy, the U.S. Savings & Loans crisis, foresees the wellness industry will be worth a trillion dollars by the year 2010. Wellness encompasses: looking good, feeling great, being healthy, and fighting aging and disease.
Opportunities: A wide range of products and services such as; botox and energy drinks, to nutraceuticals & wrinkle creams, to serve this large and steady trend. The energy drink market alone grossed $275 million in 2001, more than doubling the profits from the previous year.
Internet: The Internet meltdown was a period of shakeout for capitalists wanting to make a quick million. At the beginning of the century, many companies were formed to take advantage of the birth of the auto industry. Only a handful of players emerged to become household names but opportunities were plentiful in the area of; building roads, suburban communities, and restaurants. The Internet represents a similar venue.
Internet usage continues to grow. Pollster, Ipsos-Reid's, Internet usage survey shows 72% of Americans have gone online at least once during 30 days in the past year. Canada has the second largest usage penetration with 62% of Canadians online. With increased usage comes more online spending. According to the Internet measurement firm, comScore Networks, total online spending in 2004, grew by 26 percent to a record level of more than $117 billion.
Opportunities: With billions of dollars of goods sold online, many businesses will need assistance in website rebuilds and search engine optimization. Look for growing markets in e-learning and online gaming. Don't forget computer security. Gartner Group estimates only 35% of small & medium businesses have disaster recovery.
The impact of these long-term trends will continue to shape markets and industries. For new entrepreneurs, gauge the market closely. If you are expanding a business, look for complementary markets to those you are currently serving. For existing businesses with no growth plans, observe and plan for how these trends may impact your industry.
Welcome To The...