Last Year’s Fastest and Slowest Industries for Growth Provide Some Perspective

A recent analysis looking at which small-business industries grew in 2012 and which ones contracted sheds light on where some of the greatest home-based and other business opportunities may lie for entrepreneurs in the foreseeable future. Spearheaded by financial-information company Sageworks for, the study examined the percentage change in annual sales among U.S. companies with $10 million or less in annual sales.

As for fast growth, here is what it found:

Fastest-Growing Small Business Industries 2012

1. Residential building construction (14.77%)

2. Building custom software and servers for businesses (14.29%)

3. Machinery, equipment and supplies to merchant wholesalers (13.75%)

4. Management, scientific and technical consulting services (12.31%)

5. Architectural, engineering and related services (11.4%)

6. Foundation, structure and building exterior contractors (11.37%)

7. Building finishing contractors (additions, alterations, maintenance and repairs) (11.32 %)

8. General freight trucking (10.41%)

9. Building and dwelling services (e.g., pest exterminators, janitorial services, landscaping, etc.) (10.11%)

10. Other specialty trade contractors, including site preparation and other trades (10.04%)

Slow Growth IS NOT “No Growth”…Not by a Long Shot!

Keep in mind that extenuating factors can and do come into play when examining the study’s findings, especially in the so-called “slow growth” industries like healthcare and long-term care, where there may be fairly inelastic demand for products and services, reimbursement rates affected by current fiscal constraints and somewhat limited access to data. Slow growth is not “no growth”—far from it in fact—and should not be interpreted to mean that there is little to no opportunity in a given industry for entrepreneurs to make an impact and become hugely successful.

Quite the contrary…

Now that the economy is improving, there is little doubt that small-business opportunity in even the slowest-growth industries for 2012 as delineated here will be considerable over the course of the next decade and beyond. Sure, examining past industry growth is part of any smart entrepreneur’s initial research when it comes to starting a small business, but it’s far from the whole story. Future prospects are every bit if not more crucial. Marketplace trends, changing demographics, emerging technologies and careful examination of what industries may fuel others as they thrive are also considerations that must be made when launching any small-business venture, among many others.

Keeping that caveat in mind when reviewing this next list is very important because it is obvious upon closer examination that consumers will continue to want and desperately need many of these products and services in the near future, making the whole concept of growth a relative one…

Slowest-Growing Small Business Industries 2012

1. Skilled nursing care facilities (-3.29%)

2. Printing and related support activities (1.86%)

3. Automotive repair and maintenance (2.81%)

4. Offices of physicians (3%)

5. Highway, street and bridge construction (4.24%)

6. Insurance agencies, brokerages and other insurance-related activities (4.32%)

7. Lessors of real estate (5.07%)

8. Other miscellaneous manufacturing, including jewelry and silverware, sporting and athletic goods, dolls, toys and games, office supplies other than paper, and signs (5.55%)

9. Offices of health practitioners other than physicians and dentists, including chiropractors, optometrists, mental health practitioners, speech and occupational therapists (5.98%)

10. Other amusement and recreation services, including bowling centers, golf courses and recreational centers (6.03%)

For more information on the Sageworks analysis and its findings, go to now! And for more information on what the hottest industries are right now, we recommend the you take a look at these articles on the subject…

Hot Small Business Trends 2013

Work-at-Home Top Industries’s Best Startup Industries

Best Business Opportunities

15 Great Business Opportunity Trends

Top Franchise Opportunities

Tell us what you think! When it comes to business opportunity in 2013 and for the foreseeable future, what industries do you think hold the most promise? If you’re thinking about starting or have recently started your own home-based or other small business, what criteria did you find helpful in evaluating the marketplace and making your decision?