Big players like Bank of America and Wells Fargo may rule the financial world, but there is still some room for the little guy to make a buck.

Bolstered by an improved economy, the financial planning, advice, and investment industry saw an 11 percent increase in sales in 2010, according Sageworks. And as more Americans pull out of the recession, demand for professional financial advice is poised to increase. The industry is growing by about 3 percent this year and 5 percent through 2016, as reported by IBISWorld. Low initial investment costs (mainly wages and personnel) allow easy entry, but in this highly competitive industry only the best will hang on.

While sales and revenue grow, the number of composite businesses in this industry is predicted to decline by 3 percent through 2016 as smaller firms consolidate or become independent advisers helping larger companies. "If firms don't have the brand name or name recognition, they might struggle," says Toon van Beech, a senior analyst at IBISWorld. "But, there is still high opportunity for a new business to grow and counteract competition."

By the Numbers:

2.9% Industry annual revenue growth in 2011, according to IBISWorld
5.1% Projected industry annual revenue growth through 2016, according to IBISWorld
242,703 Estimated number of people employed by the industry in the United States in 2011
2 Number of years in the past five this industry has seen a negative sales percentage change
10.92 Sales percentage change in this industry in 2010, according to Sageworks