Most entrepreneurs kickstart their business because of passion. Maybe they had a "previous life" working in insurance or some other sector, and became an entrepreneur in that same area later in life. Perhaps it was the hospitality industry, restaurants or app development that touched their heartstrings. However, for other (very savvy) entrepreneurs (and investors), it's really all about supply, demand and opportunity. Examining the fastest growing small business sectors can be a helpful way to narrow down which small business you may want to start or be a part of. Which markets are picking up steam?
1. Accounting Services
This is a recession-proof job that's only getting hotter due to the influx of entrepreneurs who need this skill on hand. Once you get into small business territory, places like H&R Block just aren't going to cut it. If possible, develop a good working relationship with an individual who you trust who knows your business personally. While it's of course best if you have a background in accounting, you don't need one in order to found an accounting firm yourself. You can hire licensed pros instead of doing the dirty work yourself. However, you're also taking on an incredible amount of liability, so tread carefully into those murky waters.
2. IT Support Services
Yes, computer technology in general is an industry enjoying healthy growth, but IT services are performing particularly well. Whether it's offering on-site management systems or designing systems, the sales growth in this field shot up over 15 percent in the past year. As more and more businesses worry about data protection, breaches and security (while cybercrime and DDOS attacks on the rise), it's no wonder all businesses are flocking to the protective arms of IT support companies.
Whether you specialize in security, human resources, marketing or SEO, this industry experienced 11.4 percent sales growth from 2013 and it's not expected to slow down any time soon. Businesses are confronted by changing healthcare laws, the need for SEO that's constantly updated, as well as a need to present themselves on evolving mobile devices of all kinds. Basically, businesses need help and are willing to pay a premium for it. If you can supply that kind of expertise, you've locked in a sweet deal.
4. Architect Firms
Believe it or not, the industry that hit rock bottom just a few years ago has made a serious comeback. From landscape architecture to surveying, mapping to drafting services, the industry has grown almost 14 percent in the past 12 months with no signs of slowing down. Thank the recovering real estate market for helping architects make serious headway. Again, just like with accounting, it would be extremely helpful if you had a background in architecture yourself--but it's not a requirement.
5. Specialty Food Stores
There will always be a place for big box supermarkets, but Americans love their specialty shops and are willing to pay handsomely for it. Whether your company specializes in local produce, Paleo, vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar-free or simply wholesome food with good service, it's a foodie's paradise right now in the entrepreneurial field. If you've always dreamed of having your own market, now's a good time to jump on it.
Keep in mind that matching your skills, background and talents to the right industry will bolster your success rate. While it's technically possible for an engineer to suddenly open a successful dance studio even though she doesn't know the difference between the waltz and fox trot, it's unlikely. Stick with what you know--but seek out a niche that's thriving and complements it.