According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 29.6 million small businesses were operating nationwide in 2014. If you’re interested in successfully joining their ranks, the last thing you want to do is start a business in an industry with a gloomy outlook. Here are five industries with promising futures, based on the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and market research firm IBISWorld.
1. Health care
As the 75 million baby boomers age, there’s increased demand for health care services. About half of the 20 occupations projected to have the highest percentage increase in employment by 2026 are in the health industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meeting the needs of an aging population creates opportunities for physical therapists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other health care specialists to open their own practices.
Good news for those with green thumbs: 29 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana. IBISWorld predicts that industry revenue for medical and recreational marijuana growers will jump 33.5% from 2016 to 2021. The retail side of the business is also expected to see sales rise this year, according to the research firm.
But for every high, there’s a low: Because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, growth of the industry could be affected by shifting state and federal regulations.
Personal disposable income is projected to grow 4% a year from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS, and as disposable income grows, so does the “quantity and quality of online purchases,” IBISWorld says.
Depending on what you’re selling, e-commerce markets can be easily saturated, given the low barrier to entry. To increase your online business’s chance of success, focus on your customers — whether through customizable products, superior support or fast delivery.
4. Information technology
The BLS predicts the information technology industry, which includes roles like programmers and systems analysts, will grow 13% from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Information security analysts, in particular, are expected to see a boost in demand because of the increase in cybersecurity incidents like hacking. More companies are working to protect their data, prompting the BLS to predict a 28% growth rate in the occupation from 2016 to 2026.
5. Other personal care services
The BLS highlights the broad category of “personal care services” as one of the fastest-growing industries based on employment. It encompasses massage therapy, tattoo shops, wedding planning, wellness services and other trades. This industry is also one of the most funded by Small Business Administration-backed loans, an added bonus for entrepreneurs in search of financing.