There are countless niches of technology, and though many of them might top the list, it's crucial to narrow your focus if you're thinking of starting your own company. Otherwise, you might get stuck with the equivalent of a Smart Car to take your family of four on a figurative cross-country road trip.
Here are some of the most promising industries for startups in 2014 and beyond. However, don't let a list dictate such an important move. If you're highly skilled and passionate about an industry that's not popular--or (even better) you want to revolutionize or create a brand-new industry--follow your instincts.
Consider this a guide to get your creative juices flowing:
1. Green architecture
Everyone wants to go green, and when there are tax perks and favorable green building codes popping up (as well as a quickly recovering housing market), all signs point to go with green architecture. It's all about energy efficiency, using sustainable materials, and downsizing (the days of McMansions are over). The allure of saving money over time in a green house is strong, which means developers, architects, and contractors are staring down a very lucrative industry.
2. Health foods
It's not a fad--it's here to stay. The hot items right now are kale, quinoa, and rich, almost 100 percent dark, chocolates. The thing about health foods is that the popular choices might ebb and flow, but people are in general getting more vested in what they put in their mouths and what they take out of their pocketbooks. The push toward local, fresh, organic, and good-for-you foods isn't going anywhere. If you're been dreaming about selling your World's Best Kale Chips, now is the time to do so.
3. Mobile health
Frustrated with the health care policies in the U.S., many think technology is beginning to look like the answer. Mobile health services save everyone time and money, from physicians to patients. Items such as health record apps and video appointments with doctors are gaining in popularity. The biggest issue is HIPAA compliance, but startups that can abide by this act and fill a need have an edge.
4. Translation services
There's only so much Google Translate can do, and in an increasingly global community, it's crucial that businesses be able to communicate with markets around the world. Proper translation is in high demand, and that need will only increase. Translation automation is a key, thriving industry, and there's plenty of room for improvement and advancement in this field.
Seemingly the go-to choice, business apps in particular are picking up steam. Having better tools at their disposal is a must for all types of businesses--and you can fulfill that need with an app. Plus, developing one doesn't require the same kind of overhead as (for example) building an electric car might. It's the pint-size tech development of choice.
Should you follow the trends or follow what you love? In an ideal world, these two possibilities are one and the same. Consider how your passions align with the most promising of industries and the sweet spot of that Venn diagram will help direct your next move.