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The Top 10 Industries to Start a Business in Now

These days, it seems everyone is an entrepreneur, or at least wants to be one. In a 2006 survey by Yahoo Small Business and Harris Interactive, 66 percent of respondents said they wanted to start their own business someday, and 37 percent hoped to do so within the next five years.


Looking to be a consultant? Consulting jobs in everything from business to marketing to finance are expected to grow 55 percent by 2012.

But people aren't just wishing they had their own business, they're going out and starting them, too. In 2005, close to 672,000 companies with employees were created, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). This represents the largest surge in business start-ups ever in the United States.

Of course, starting a business isn't easy. Though more and more entrepreneurs are taking the startup plunge, there's a great deal of risk involved. More businesses than ever began in 2005, for instance, but another 544,800 small businesses closed, not including over 39,000 that filed for bankruptcy.

The bottom line? If you're thinking of starting a business, make sure and do your homework first. Following is a list of top industries that are expected to grow in the coming years ... and make up the perfect place for budding entrepreneurs to plant their seeds.

1. Internet Services and Data Processing

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Internet service industry is expected to grow 10.3 percent annually, which is the largest growth rate among all industries. Further, employment in this industry is expected to grow over 46 percent by 2010. The Internet has fast become a staple part of American businesses and personal lives, and computer ownership is expected to keep growing, reaching 1.4 billion computers worldwide by 2010.

Business Ideas: Internet matchmaking service, Consultant for SEO (search engine optimization), Online personal training

2. Computers

With the huge number of computers in use throughout the world, almost anything computer-related will be in demand in coming years. Computer design and service firm employment is expected to increase 55 percent by 2012, with profits growing 9 percent per year.

Business Ideas: Computer security services, Solutions to avoid hackers, Consultant for mobile technologies or hardware and software problems.

3. Software

Through 2012, 68 percent more software publishing jobs are expected, and profits are expected to grow at 8.4 percent a year. Growth is a certainty in this industry because as more software is created, so is the need for complementary software products that work with it (for instance, PayPal was created in response to eBay's need for a safe credit-card payment system).

Business Ideas: Software security consultant, Software engineer consultant

4. Employment Services

Increasing numbers of companies are hiring temporary workers and more employees are changing career paths, so the need for employment services is immense. Employment in this industry is expected to grow by 54 percent by 2012, with an output rate of over 5 percent a year.

start-up business ideas

Looking For a Business Off
the Beaten Path?

Business 2.0 Magazine has come up with 12 lucrative startups for the adventurous entrepreneur. Among them:

  1. Build cheap Wi-Fi networks for Brazilian resorts.

  2. Produce biodiesel fuel in Argentina.

  3. Launch an exclusive social network for Russian millionaires.

  4. Open an American-style restaurant in China.

  5. Export wines from Greece, or import them to upscale restaurants in India.

  6. Become a social entrepreneur in South Africa.

Business Ideas: Start an online staffing firm for temp workers, Consultant for human resources in a specific specialty such as worker's compensation claims, health benefits or employee-related laws.

5. Consulting in Management, Science and Technology

Businesses are becoming increasingly complex, more work is being done overseas, and technology is constantly changing, which means consultants are becoming a necessity for most companies. Consulting is expected to bring a 4.1 percent output per year though 2012, and job growth in the industry is estimated at 55 percent.

Business Ideas: Marketing consultant, Financial consultant, Legal consultant, Foreign business consultant, Business consultant

6. Home Health Care

The population is aging and each year nearly 8 million people receive home health care services, according to the National Association for Home Care. Meanwhile, employment in home health care is expected to grow nearly 55 percent by 2012.

Business Ideas: Mobile in-home nursing service, Medical supplies delivery

7. Personal Financial Advisory

As the population ages, increasing numbers of people are looking for help managing their money, planning for retirement and setting up estate plans. Employment in this industry is expected to grow nearly 46 percent by 2012.

Business Ideas: Financial consulting, Online financial planning

8. Child Care Services

People are working longer hours and increasing numbers of women are joining the workforce. The result is a huge demand for day care and other child care services. Employment in this industry is expected to grow 43 percent by 2012.

Business Ideas: Open a day care in your home, Private nanny

9. Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

Recent retirees are looking for ways to spend their newfound freedom, including fitness centers, cruises, health spas and other recreational facilities. Meanwhile, younger Americans are saving less and spending more on recreation and entertainment as well. The industry is expected to grow at a rate of over 30 percent by 2012.

Business Ideas: Open an art gallery or retail shop, Yoga teacher, Personal trainer

10. Motion Picture and Music Entertainment

Cable programming is constantly expanding, motion pictures are growing more and more technologically advanced, and consumers are loving it. Employment in the motion picture and video industry is expected to grow 31 percent by 2012.

Meanwhile, expanding options in digital, portable music and motion pictures are changing the entertainment industry, and demanding increasing support from production studios, engineers, advertisers and more.

Business Ideas: Online music service, Motion picture marketing consultant, Open an independent production studio

Recommended Reading

How to Get Outside Capital for Your Business Idea: A Primer

Delaware Means Business: Ever Wonder Why Most U.S. Businesses are Established in Delaware?

Sources February 1, 2007

Business 2.0 Magazine

LoveToKnow Business

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