Top 5 Growth Industries for New Ventures

While many are still debating the ripple effect of the recent economic downturn, and whether or not those economies affected are improving. One thing is for certain – the importance of entrepreneurs and new ventures will be key in helping many of these economies recover. For the astute entrepreneur, opportunities for new ventures abound in industries earmarked as showing major growth in the next five years. According to IBISWorld data, these industries are projected as having healthy 5-year growth rates and low capital intensity. For those of you new to the business world, low capital intensity refers to businesses that invest a large portion of capital on labor as opposed to expensive equipment. The following five industries, in no particular order, represent those with the highest projected growth rates. For the full list of industries including photography and IT consulting be sure to check out the Inc.com article here.

1. Artificial Grass/Turf Installation (5-Year Projected Growth: 12.3%)

While skeptics may refer to this industry as glorified gardening, there is still good reason to enter this $649 million industry. Especially since technological advancements have made these products/services more appealing to sports venues looking to cut down on costs.

2. Digital Forensics (5-Year Projected Growth: 13.7%)

According to the article launching a business in this $9 billion dollar industry requires minimal capital. Also, with mobile and cloud computing gaining a foothold in many large businesses and industries worldwide, companies that are well versed in verifying, mapping, and most importantly, recovering data can expect continued surges in demand for their services.

3. Relaxation Drinks (5-Year Projected Growth: 24.8%)

Yes, the market isn’t for sports and energy drinks anymore. As busier work and home schedules clog the lives of consumers many are turning to the aid of drinks designed to induce relaxation and sleep. Famous brands have emerged in the industry including Syracuse University’s very own Dream Water. For the enterprising entrepreneur seeking to introduce his/her own formula be ready to contend with the over 400 brands in the market. Also, while FDA approval is not necessary to sell your product, it makes good business sense to have that stamp of approval.

4. Green/Sustainable Building Construction (5-Year Projected Growth: 23%)

Federal incentive programs such as LEED certification have created immense demand for construction companies specializing in green and sustainable buildings. This demand has even spawned the introduction of new products and services that mimic nature (Biomimicry). Perhaps you’ve heard about buildings with self-cooling mechanisms? Chances are those buildings were designed with a termite nest in mind. While the expiration of stimulus funding is expected to reduce the number of public projects, demand from the private sector is sure to be on the rise.

5. Environmental Consulting (5-Year Projected Growth: 23%)

As more and more businesses scramble to comply with current and incumbent environmental regulations, there will be a wealth of opportunity for new ventures in this $21 billion industry. Keep in mind, however, that the need is not only for complying with regulations but for green marketing and packaging as well. This industry may be well-suited for the entrepreneur craving travel and diversity since environmental consulting is a major concern for multinational organizations operating all over the world.

The Forgotten Art of Bootstrapping

Introductory Entrepreneurship classes have entire lectures devoted to discussing bootstrapping. Bootstrapping, for those of us who do not know, merely represents finding unique and innovative ways to save or raise money for a new venture. The following list presents some good advice – found browsing popular entrepreneurship pages from websites such as Inc.com and Forbes.com – for those of us who may have forgotten about this ‘art’. Yes, bootstrapping is an art!

1. Right Background – Often times as an entrepreneur and owner of your own business you will have to be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ (at least until you can afford the right talent). As such, being able to do the critical things required for your business such as code, design, or sell/run marketing campaigns will be invaluable. Having the right background also means using personal traits to find money saving opportunities.

2. Consult – Providing consulting services for customers provides a way to support yourself while staying close to the customer and learning their problems. By doing this you also provide yourself with a means of identifying what product/service you need to create based on a better understanding of your customers.

3. Hire the Right People – This is a given. We all know how costly it is to hire the right people, and as a start-up there is no need to waste money on people who are not in tune with you or your start-up’s goals. Essentially you want to hire people that will help generate revenue in some way, and, if possible, someone with multiple skillsets. For most new ventures this means hiring (1) someone who knows how to make products/services match needs (Product People), and (2) those who know how to make a customer aware of a new product/service (Marketing People).

4. Travel Cheaply – given the amount of networking and travelling required to build a presence in the market, it is easy to see how this is an important cost factor for new ventures. Recent articles suggest keeping travel dates flexible and building as much loyalty miles as possible to keep travel costs down. Also, don’t be afraid to crash on the couch of a close friend, relative, or fellow entrepreneur in the cities you have to visit. Seriously, hotel room costs can add up pretty quickly!

5. Find The Free Lunches – According to the Inc.com article found here. “Bootstrappers have to build parsimoniousness into their products. Need an industrial designer? Go offshore for a fraction of the price. Need a website? Try open-source software. Need targeted marketing? Use search-engine optimization. “Now you can get standardized work done at a price that competes with companies many times your size.” Couldn’t have said it better ourself.

6. Ask for Help! – Notice the exclamation mark? It’s because time and time again asking for help can be the most cost effective way of getting the information or guidance you need in launching a new venture. It also lends itself nicely to the last point of finding the free lunches. We know you are not always going to get good advice and information freely, but when you can – from professors, mentors, and family friends – use it to the fullest!

It should be noted that bootstrapping isn’t all fun and games as there are some downsides. For more in-depth information on bootstrapping you can check out the book Bootstrap to Billions, or a host of others that can be found on Amazon for under $20. Also feel free to share your bootstrapping tips, tricks, and successes below.