If the first decade of the 21st century has taught us anything it’s that the only constant in life is change. The technological, environmental, demographic and financial changes of the last ten years have been significant and are driving a tremendous amount of political debate, that’s for sure. But smart entrepreneurs recognize that their impact does not stop there. They know that these changes also present unprecedented opportunity for individuals who want to start their own home-based or other small business, distributorship, licensee opportunity or franchise.
Starting a home-based or other small business of your own is perhaps one of the greatest challenges you will ever undertake. To increase the likelihood of your success, you’ll want to choose something you feel passionate about. You’ll also want to choose smart. While it’s true that the most successful entrepreneurs do what they love, they also choose wisely. They do their homework and make sure that there is and will be solid and growing demand for their products and services.
When it comes to identifying the home-based or other small business opportunity that might be right for you, start with what you enjoy and then give some thought to the following five trends and how they might have an impact on your decision-making process:
1. “Green”: The Color of the 21st Century
No matter where you stand on the issues of climate change and how our presence is affecting the earth, one thing’s for certain ― the whole debate has forever changed the way we look at everything from waste disposal and construction to heating our homes and the chemicals we use to clean them and everything else. The number of environmentally friendly green energy business opportunities that would be considered “green” in nature is growing exponentially as a result and includes just some of the following products and services:
- Energy conservation and monitoring
- Home/commercial insulation
- Home restoration and/or retrofitting
- Mold removal and remediation
- Alternative energy sources
- Mattress, upholstery and other cleaning services
- Recycling and waste removal
- Water filtration
- And many more…
2. Credit Repair/Debt Consolidation
Unfortunately, in the last few years we’ve seen far too many people lose their jobs and their homes as a result of the economic downturn and the mortgage crisis. Perhaps the only upside to all of it is the growing demand for credit repair and debt consolidation services, which presents a tremendous opportunity for the right entrepreneur.
There are a number of highly reputable and well-established companies out there that are willing and able to train individuals to provide their clients with these kinds of support services. Starting your own home-based business doing this type of work can be very rewarding and quite lucrative, as it’s safe to assume that these kinds of services will be in very high demand for quite some time.
3. Booming Business for Boomers
The cohort of Americans born just after World War 2 between 1946 and 1964 is often referred to as the “baby boomers.” Given that the boomers number around 76 million today and are just now enjoying their peak earning and spending years, it’s no exaggeration to say that they ARE the economy on every level.
In fact, the needs and wants of the baby boomers drive demand for everything from coffee and personal care/beauty products to nutrition/organics and even health care, all of which are the focus of a number of established and proven home-based and other small business opportunities. And while current demand is always a good thing, looking ahead to where the demand will be greatest a few years down the road is also a sound business strategy.
Today’s leading-edge boomer is turning 64, which means the demand for products and services that make “aging in place” easier are going to grow at an astounding rate ― homeowners will need accommodations made if they want to stay where they are. In addition, the need for in-home eldercare services is predicted to far outweigh what is currently available over the coming decades.
4. Business to Business Services
Given the huge expense incurred by companies to hire and retain employees and then provide them with benefits, many businesses have opted to farm out their business services. Hiring the necessary talent only if and when they need it most is oftentimes more productive and cost efficient. Becoming a business services consultant allows you to work from home and is steadily becoming the norm, as opposed to the exception. The advent of technology that allows face-to-face interaction between you and your clients has made running your own home-based business consulting operation easier than ever before.
You may already have the requisite knowledge, skills and aptitude to run your own business services consulting company or you may need to find a business opportunity that can give you the training and support you need. Either way, the list of services that companies are now apt to hire out continues to grow and includes:
- Advertising and marketing
- Information and technology
- Website development and management services
- Writing, proofreading and editing
- Cleaning and maintenance
- Events planning
- Software development
- And the list goes on and on…
5. Network Marketing Done Right
Network marketing as it is defined by the Federal Trade Commission is a way to sell goods or services through distributors, pure and simple. And it’s big business ―a $100 billion-a-year business to be exact! The number of network marketing distributors worldwide is estimated to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 million. Make no mistake, network marketing is a legitimate business opportunity, but only when it’s done correctly.
Also known as multi-level marketing, network marketing IS NOT an opportunity for you to get rich quick solely as a result of the money generated by other individuals that you recruit to join the organization. If you run into an opportunity where it is unclear what product or service it is you are selling and where recruitment of others is the primary means of your generating income, that’s NOT network marketing. It’s a pyramid scheme and it’s illegal.
Network marketing is attractive for a number of key reasons. First, a network marketing business is easily owned and operated from home. Second, computers have created boundless, worldwide networking and selling opportunities like never before. And third, a good, solid, proven product/service coupled with an easily understood and proven network-marketing compensation program can generate astronomical profits.
Of course, network marketing is not for everyone. There are a number of books ― such as “Network Marketing for Dummies” by Ziglar and Hayes ― that can help you to better understand this evolving and very rewarding concept and decide whether or not it is right for you. One thing is for certain, a new era has arrived as traditional multi-level marketing concepts merge with technological advancements to make network marketing a very attractive, home-based business option for the 21st century’s most ambitious entrepreneur.