No matter how you look at it, starting a new business means taking a risk. Actually, it means taking a lot of risks over a long period of time. This only works if you have two main qualities as an entrepreneur: an ability to find comfort in the midst of uncertainty, and the knowledge and instincts to calculate which risks are worth taking and which are recklessly ill-advised.
One of the first decisions wherein keen risk-assessment is needed is the decision about which industry to enter into. This isn’t always a conscious, purposeful choice for every small business owner; there tend to be two ways that startup owners go about choosing what kind of business to start: either it’s a natural evolution of their interests and experience, or they are career entrepreneurs who seek out opportunities rather than sticking to just one industry. There are positives and negatives to both routes to small business ownership, and when well executed, neither is inherently more prone to success than the other.
The truth is, starting any small business for any reason comes down to a matter of good timing. We’re big fans of the expression, “There are no good ideas, just good execution” – and a pivotal part of good execution is picking the right time to launch a project or new business venture.
With this in mind, we’ve looked ahead to 2014 to try and predict which industries are poised to be the safest bets for new businesses. Obviously, a million things come in to play to determine how successful a new small business will eventually be, but by our estimation, the following 5 industries are as favorable as any in the coming year.
1. Job training and career counseling
With over 8 million jobs lost during the recession, there are still staggering numbers of Americans looking for work. More than ever, people are seeking new and original ways to obtain skill training, and assistance with job placement and career counseling. If your small business idea involves an innovative way to service these individuals, you could be well positioned to do well.
2. Translation services
The day is rapidly approaching when Americans are able to travel the world and do business in English without much trouble; already China has more English speakers than any other country in the world, and obviously it’s not even their first language. But until then, we’re in a middle ground where international travel and international business doings are very common, but not everyone is speaking the same language yet. This combination of circumstances makes now the perfect time for translators and translation agencies to enjoy a high volume of business.
3. Mobile app development
There’s no big news here: companies are still incredibly interested in engaging their users on their mobile devices, but very few have the skills to figure out how to translate their service or product to a mobile medium, and even fewer know how to actually build, implement, and market mobile apps. Businesses who specialize in any of these tasks stand a good chance of survival in 2014.
4. Travel agencies
There was a time not so long ago when an article like this would have advised would-be business owners to absolutely not start a travel agency. The thinking was that with all the powerful travel websites out there, the role of travel agent has become obsolete. This was true – for a while. Now, we’re starting to come full circle in the travel industry; first, websites came around and did away with the need for a travel agent, but now, the dizzying overpopulation of travel sites and rampant misunderstanding about how to leverage certain dates, times, and discounts to get the best possible deals on travel have resulted in the industry being as perplexing and headache-inducing to consumers as it was before the internet. And thus, the need for travel agents is returning – only this time, your role is largely about knowing how to expertly navigate and take advantage of travel sites.
5. Freight and trucking
This industry grew by over 10 percent in 2012 and growth has continued this year. There’s no reason to think it won’t continue into 2014 and beyond.