Which Industries Are Best for Startups to Enter Today?

Which industries have the most promise for starting a new small business right now?

entering startup
Image: dierken / Flickr

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business’ development and growth.

1. Digital Education Disruption

Harvard and MIT are bringing classes to the masses with their ‘edX’ online learning initiative, and this is just the beginning. As the cost of higher education continues to rise and more and more people obtain degrees, the value diminishes. Leveraging online and digital education will continue to open new doors for people who want to enhance their skills at a fraction of the cost.

Ryan Stephens, Ryan Stephens Marketing

2. Return to Retail

Baker, seamstress, or whatever your background, the time for you to open your own shop is now. The recession has reduced real estate costs almost universally, and social media and other online tools have made it easier than ever to cost-effectively promote your business. Most important, with many towns still depressed, you can do your part to create jobs and help get America back on its feet!

Michael Tolkin, Merchant Exchange

3. Engage Me With Video Blogs

I still believe an incredibly under-tapped niche are video blogs within very specific subjects. If you have a dynamic personality (or can hire one) and put out good content (amazing HD cameras available for cheap nowadays) why would you only focus on text? The hardest part is consistent content generation, but if you are an expert and passionate about anything, you should be taking that to video.

Patrick Curtis, WallStreetOasis.com

4. Beauty is Recession-Proof

People will always want to look beautiful. The salon, spa, and beauty world is still going strong. Clients maybe cutting back on everything, but they still need too look and feel their best. Hair on people’s heads equates to job security for stylists.

Nancy T. Nguyen, Sweet T

5. HealthTech Is Hot Right Now

Startups that exist at the intersection of healthcare and technology have the best chance of success in this decade and beyond. Demographic changes, increased regulation and technological advances are providing endless opportunities for innovation in this space.

Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

6. Tech, Of Course!

We are living in the greatest golden era for entrepreneurship, because the tools out there are cheap to use and can scale as your business does. Anything using tech, online or mobile as its platform is something with immense potential for growth.

Yanik Silver, Maverick1000.com

7. Social Media Measurement

Obviously, the technology industry is and will continue to experience a rapidly increasing rate of growth. More specifically, social media measurement services are in high demand. With more businesses turning to social media for marketing, CEOs want to see concrete results. Niche consulting businesses in this industry could make a killing.

John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

8. It’s Hot in Human Resources

We’re going to face a personnel crunch in the US in years to come — not only are Baby Boomers set to retire, but we have a shortage of medical professionals like nurses to care for them. There are other shortages, such as in STEM professions. We’re going to need major innovation in staffing and human resources very shortly, which makes it a very good field to start looking at.

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

9. Search Engine Optimization

The SEO industry is changing incredibly quickly after algorithm updates such as Panda and Penguin. While many will say this is a dying craft, the reality is that there’s more opportunity than ever for the savvy person to start a new kind of SEO-related business — one that focuses on quality content, branding, and not masses of linkbacks.

Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC

10. Mobile Meets the Minimum Requirement

Anything in the mobile space is pretty fantastic. The trends are all pointing in the right direction, and there are so few people truly knowledgeable in the space. With the right mix of talent and focus, you could make a dent in fairly short order.

Brent Beshore, AdVentures

11. Pick Your Commitment Carefully

The industry that has the most promise for starting a new business is the one you are committed to. Sure, you can look at what’s hot right now, but that will change tomorrow. I would rather be fired up about my idea regardless of the industry than be only partially motivated about an idea in a hot industry. It’s that passion and commitment that will make you successful, regardless of the industry.

Louis Lautman, Young Entrepreneur Society

12. Injecting Social Everywhere

Anyone taking a static industry and merging it with social will threaten the giants that most likely haven’t dove into this space yet. So, regardless of industry, social will continue to rule in the future.

Joe Cassara, You Need My Guy

13. Stick With e-commerce

Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable making purchases online, both large and small, and e-commerce is expected to continue to see significant growth over the next few years.

Josh Weiss, Bluegala

14. Great Opportunities in a Recession

There were more millionaires made during the Great Depression then at any other time in history. When times are bad, there is a need for innovative thinkers to solve the major problems plaguing our economy. Right now, there’s a need for entrepreneurs to revolutionize heath care, energy consumption and management, clean water, high return equity investments, and training. Opportunity is knocking!

Roger Bryan, RCBryan & Associates

15. Don’t Chase an Industry

It is a poor formula for success to go after what’s “hot” today instead of pursuing what is first exciting to you and that which you can realistically build a successful company around. I might be capable of running a very successful construction company, but if I’m just chasing dollar bills into the mobile app market, I’m likely to fail.

Matthew Ackerson, PetoVera