Entrepreneurs have enough to worry about with managing their companies' daily operations, but what if in the next decade, your entire industry is, as the British say, made redundant? A new report by the market research analysis firm IBISWorld, projects a long-term look at which 10 industries will be the strongest and the weakest.

Voice over internet protocol providers top IBIS' best industries list followed closely by retirement / pension plans, and biotechnology. The top fields fading from the spotlight are wired telecommunications carriers, tank and armored vehicle manufacturing, and small household appliance manufacturing. In total, the company tracks over 700 industries.

While analysts can gather data on a company or industry's sensitivities such as whom they buy from and whom they sell to, some threats to your livelihood are beyond even the strongest predictive powers. "Over long periods of time, the competitor that might be the most difficult is the one that creeps up from a completely different industry or possibly even a completely different country as we've seen with foreign trade and outsourcing," says George Van Horn, a senior analyst at IBISWorld. For example, VoIP went from a non-existent field at the start of the past decade to holding the prime slot looking towards the future.

On the plus side, while there is no such thing as a perfect crystal ball, Van Horn asserts that the size of an entrepreneur's current or future business should be no impediment to capitalizing on these trends. He says if an entrepreneur is flush with ideas but not with capital, "one of the things that they might consider is looking at where all the capital flows are going in these new technologies and then find a way to provide services to that growing industry," Van Horn counsels.

However, the glut of opportunity doesn't necessarily mean it's time to make a switch into a new and unfamiliar industry. "There are a lot of reasons to make [career and industry] switches these days and it really should encompass a little bit of" both your fiscal and personal situation, says Stacey Mayo, an independent career and small business coach.

She advises those venturesome enough to explore unfamiliar territory to shadow, interview or apprentice themselves to a number of experts in their new field to get a diversity of opinion on the state of the industry. A common problem is that entrepreneurs drag their feet about completing the jump. Mayo says, "People make the mistake of waiting until they feel they know everything and have it all perfectly lined up and that's not possible."

Best Performing Industries In The Coming Decade (2010-2019)

  Rank    Best Performing                                            Growth  
  1         Voice Over Internet Protocol Providers (VoIP)    149.6%  
  2         Retirement & Pension Plans                            133.7%  
  3         Biotechnology                                                127.6%  
  4         eCommerce & Online Auctions                         124.7%  
  5         Environmental Consulting                               120.3%  
  6         Video Games                                                112.9%  
  7         Trusts & Estates                                            105.7%  
  8         Search Engines                                              100.9%  
  9         Recycling Facilities                                           80.9%  
  10       Land Development                                           72.7% 

Worst Performing Industries In The Coming Decade (2010-2019)

  Rank   Worst Performing                                                             Growth  
  1         Wired Telecommunications Carriers                                    -52.0%  
  2         Tank & Armored Vehicle Manufacturing                               -51.9%  
  3         Vacuum, Fan & Small Household Appliance Manufacturing    -34.4%  
  4         DVD, Game & Video Rental                                                -32.8%  
  5         Photofinishing                                                                   -31.5%  
  6         Lighting & Bulb Manufacturing                                           -26.8%  
  7         Telecommunications Resellers                                            -26.4%  
  8         Laminated Plastics Manufacturing                                      -25.3%  
  9         Synthetic Fiber Manufacturing                                            -24.6%  
  10       Wire & Spring Manufacturing                                              -24.5%