According to the 2020 State of Small Business Survey the top reason for wanting to start a business was ‘Ready to Be My Own Boss.’ Men and women across the country of every age, income and education level are driven to entrepreneurship seeking a greater sense of autonomy in their careers. Some of these hopeful small business owners get started knowing exactly what they want to do, while some just know they want to work for themselves — neither path more or less worthy than the other.
If you find yourself in the ‘knowing you want to work for yourself’ category, thinking of small business ideas can be overwhelming, but there are many tools and processes to help you get started. For example, narrowing down a few top industries you’re interested in is a great way to begin your business search.
Our Small Business Trends survey gave us insights into which industries are popular for successful business owners across the nation. Here are some of the top business for 2020:
1. The Business Services Industry
Postal, printing and PC servicing, as well as office product sales, are all included in the wide-reaching industry of business services. And with over 28 million small businesses in the U.S., it’s no wonder these establishments that support commerce are all staying busy. IBISWorld reports expected revenue for this industry in 2018 is $9.5 billion with 22,939 establishments in the U.S. However, aspiring business owners interested in opening a business services-based company should potentially focus on providing online-based services. IBIS also indicated that while the ecommerce sector of the business is growing, brick-and-mortar establishments have seen a -1.9 percent annual growth in recent years. Fortunately, launching an e-business can cost less upfront.
2. The Food and Restaurant Industry
If it seems like Americans are busier than ever, it’s because we are. With two parents working in over 60 percent U.S. families, more people working multiple jobs and an average 47-hour work week, making home-cooked meals isn’t an option for everyone. Fortunately, in today’s strong economy, more people are saving time by turning to delivery services, fast-casual dining and full service restaurants, making it a great time to break into the food and restaurant industry. According to a recent study by Deloitte, the key to finding and sustaining success as a restaurant owner is establishing customer loyalty. Whether your plan is to open a food truck, full-service dining or fast food chain, you can find success just about anywhere in the U.S. if you service quality food and get creative with attracting repeat customers.
3. The General Retail Industry
If you’re interested in selling a good or product in a retail setting, there’s a market for it. In fact, IBISWorld describes this industry as selling a diverse range of products from cigars to grave markers. Fortunately, the general retail industry is another great example of businesses that can thrive in both brick-and-mortar and ecommerce business models. The key to finding success is understanding how people shop for your product. For example, consumers are more likely to want to physically see items like furniture, clothes and cosmetics before purchasing them. However, some retailers that take chances on non-traditional business models, like Warby Parker, have found success in unsuspecting white space. Though they initially sold eyeglasses online, they made it easy for customers to try on and return frames — selling out of their top 15 styles in just four weeks.
4. The Health, Beauty and Fitness Industry
Another niche that’s not just thriving in our strong economy, but growing without much ecommerce competition, is the health, beauty and fitness industry. From gym and fitness franchises to day spas, med spas and nutrition counseling, the options here are endless. Better still, according to IBISWorld, industry saturation has not yet peaked. No matter which industry specialty you choose to embark on, IBIS reports your focus should be on both specialization and accessibility. For example, more gyms are finding success offering boutique workouts like Pilates, barre or spin and the same goes for spas with more narrowed product lines like Botox or organic only products.
5. The Automotive Repair Industry
If you’re considering an auto repair or maintenance shop for your next small business, you may be on the fast track to success. According to an IBISWorld report, auto maintenance and repair franchises have grown 3.3 percent over the last five years, comprising an $8.1 billion industry. And several factors are contributing to this economy-proof industry’s growth. Cars are now built better and living longer, which means rather than buying a new car, people are taking their cars in for regular maintenance; this includes major body and paint services which accounts for about half of the industry’s market share. Other popular services in this industry include oil and lubrication, transmission work and mechanical repair. Because of the brick-and-mortar nature of these businesses, start-up costs in the auto repair industry can run higher than average, so take the time to understand your financing options before locking down your dream automotive business.
6. The In-Home Care Industry
The aging baby boomer generation is experiencing growing demand for in-home services. In fact, IBIS expects in-home senior care franchises to see 10.5 percent annual growth between now and 2022. With a wide range of needs, the in-home care industry includes everything from traditional nursing (57.3 percent of market share) to physical therapy, home hospice, personal services and more. With a growing consumer base and the low likelihood of private health insurance disappearing anytime soon, it’s a hot time to become a business owner in this high-demand industry.
7. The Technology Industry
Some aspiring business owners tend to shy away from the seemingly intimidating landscape of the technology industry, but you don’t have to start the next Google or Microsoft to find a tech business you love. From social networking sites, E-libraries and phone repair shops, you can apply your specialty — whether it be marketing, sales or operations — to a tech-based gig that’s sure to thrive in today’s digital world. Deloitte reports that while there is plenty of room for growth in the high-tech sector, expanding companies should focus on cyber security as well as regulatory considerations — sound advice for any business in today’s online world.
8. The In-Home Cleaning and Maintenance Industry
Among the many services in high demand due to a growing generation of aging and retired adults, along with increased disposable income nationwide, is in-home cleaning. And as long as our economy continues to be strong, you’re well positioned as the owner of a home cleaning service business. One of the easiest ways to get started is to open a franchise. IBIS reports that franchises in this industry saw 3 percent annual growth from 2012 to 2017 and, though this may slow as the industry become more saturated, the industry is expected to continue to grow.
9. The Travel and Lodging Industry
It’s safe to say that just about everyone (or someone they know) has thought a good way to retire would be to open a Bed and Breakfast. And as it turns out, it is! With younger generations looking for out-of-the-box experiences and older generations with more to spend on luxury accommodations, consumers are opting for boutique lodging experiences. IBIS reports this sect of the travel industry has seen almost five percent growth over the last five years and is expected to continue to perform well. Even if becoming the purveyor of a quaint inn isn’t in your future, the travel industry has room for growth and innovation in terms of technology, food and wellness.
10. The Sports and Recreation Industry
Starting a sports and recreation small business may not seem like the most lucrative idea, but this industry is quietly growing, and there’s room for more players. Club sports programs are no longer limited to peewee football — adults want in on the fun, too! Whether you’re interested in coaching, teaching, renting equipment or facilitating activities, it’s essential to have a creative and informative website, even if it’s simple, so that the tech-savvy generations can easily search your business.
No matter what type of business you start in 2020, there are so many growing and in-demand industries to choose from. Get started today by learning how much small business financing you’re qualified for — it’s probably more than you think.