The Year in Review: 2008’s Top Industries for New Businesses
The best business opportunities in 2008 opened the doors of success for entrepreneurs looking to start their small businesses. Within these markets, businesses both successful and bizarre established themselves and found their niches.
1. Eco Products
With the publicity around the green movement growing and more people attempting to make their lives more eco-friendly, it does not come as a surprise that this was the #1 industry to establish a small business in 2008.
InterfaceFlor holds the title of world's greenest firm; literally, since it won Best Overall Environmental performance at 2008's Green Business Awards. The top 10 green gadgets of 2008 that reduce your carbon footprint can be seen here, in an article published by Popular Mechanics.
For further information on the interesting eco products and businesses that dominated the market this year, visit Gloria Campos-Hensley's blog.
2. Niche Travel
These businesses don't just focus on particular travel destinations; they cater to specific denominations and interest groups. The more usual industries are tours for seniors or travel for groups to gay-friendly destinations.
A couple of unique businesses that come to mind, which you may see featured in more depth in the future are Off Beat Guides, which provide custom, personalized travel guides for the niche travel industry; or Synth Travels which takes video game enthusiasts on guided tours of virtual worlds, like Second Life.
3. Senior Care Companies
According to Statistics Canada, the number of individuals aged 65 to 74 alone is expected to double over the next few decades. With more seniors requiring care, there is an open market for those businesses that specialize in senior care or provided industry related resources.
I have already introduced you too CareBuzz.com; one example of a cutting-edge new business in 2008 that takes a modern approach to senior care. This past year, the industry has exploded; and whether the idea is unique or progressive like this one, entrepreneurs should take the opportunity to capitalize on the growing market.
4. The Mobility Product Industry
This industry rolls up under senior care, so I needn't say why breaking into this industry is a good idea. New technology to improve the market of motorized scooters, wheelchairs, ramps and lifts are always becoming available; however, ‘interesting' or ‘unique' are terms that MOSTLY do not apply.
I did say mostly; the IBOT 4000 Mobility System definitely ticks both of these boxes. It's essentially a wheelchair, but inventors of this product have taken it to a level seniors have never seen before, and in some ways I mean that literally. Even sitting in this device, seniors are at eye level, they can climb stairs, curbs and travel across just about any terrain. While this innovative product was not introduced in 2008, the newly released model included some great improvements like a fold-and-store design, more comfortable armrests and supports.
5. Solar Panel Installation Businesses
Tying in with the green trend, there has been a growing need for companies who can install solar panels and other natural energy sources to make homes and businesses more environmentally friendly.
A couple of examples of business breaking into this growing industry are:
6. Environmental (GREEN) Consultants
There's that ‘green' word again...still not surprised. Essentially, green consulting companies offer services to assess how your lifestyle positively or negatively impacts the environment and presents adjustments to make improvements. I don't need to name them, because just about every major TV station features a show that does just this; often by ambushing families the way reality TV loves to.
Green consulting firms are slowly beginning to dominate the Yellow Pages, so if this is a niche you're hoping to capture, you better have an effective marketing strategy or a unique new twist on the concept.
Looking for more information on this industry? The search engine results are endless, so Google it.
7. Organic Food & Produce
Yet another industry that is partially fueled by the green movement, coupled with individual's concern for their health and animal rights issues. Eating organic endorses locally grown products, avoids the consumption of contaminants, and saves our planet. It's an expensive, yet trendy phenomenon and with every grocery store and major food distributor on the planet carrying a line of organic products businesses need to be creative to be successful in the market. Two businesses that stand out in my mind, which I will later discuss in further detail, are Graze; which delivers healthy, organic snacks and is marketed towards career oriented people; and My Farm which organizes personal, urban gardens.
8. Xeriscaping - Landscaping Industry Addition
If you're not familiar with this term, which I must admit I was not; xeriscaping is landscaping that helps conserve water. Gardening and landscaping companies can train and have this interesting green concept added to their services or make xeriscaping their main specialty. This trend has created a whole new industry that incorporates media, books and informational services as well as the emphasis upon gardening and landscaping.
Looking for a new idea to get into the xeriscaping business trend? There seems to be a lack of school or educational programs to teach green thumbs the concept.
One of the first of its kind is offered as an Extended
Learning course at the New Mexico State
9. Import Consulting
Depending on whether or not your country of residence is a major importer, this could be a great business opportunity for someone with a background in logistics and customs.
This is a relatively stable industry, that's not likely to undergo many changes unless your country's trade involvement changes.
10. Home Renovation
You can't change the TV channel without encountering one of the masses of shows on this topic, and that only gives us a small glimpse into the prevalence of this industry. Not only is there money to be had in the trendy word of house flipping, this is another example of an industry that has expanded drastically. Services, products and gadgets are now available marketed towards the typical renovator. Rona offers some fantastic cutting-edge, online tools to make home renovation easier; my personal favorite, the Virtual Walkthrough, which is a virtual replication of the home in question to give over haulers a renewed perspective.
The Top 10 Business Opportunities listed above were initial predictions by About.com article writer Susan Ward at the beginning of 2008. Psycic? I doubt it, but she certainly has a good grasp on annual business trends which have bred some strange, unique and forward-thinking businesses this year.
Stay tuned to find out what your entrepreneurial pursuits should be in 2009!