You Want to Start a Business, but in What Industry? Part 1

That’s probably the first question any entrepreneur ever asks before even thinking of an idea for a startup business. That’s okay, though. It’s strategic. Typically, you’re going to want to consider the industry.

No matter how well you play your cards right — everything from the location, to regulatory compliance, licensure, certifications, hiring, taxes and paperwork, and maybe you’re just plain that good at being a businessman — it ultimately doesn’t matter and your business will fail if the industry isn’t profitable.

So what industries out there might be a good endeavor? Here’s a list for you to choose from.


candy store
photo credit: ciaokatelinn

Candy’s sweet for something other than the sugar content, people. It’s a comfort food. People want it in droves. People always want more of it even after some at the first get-go. That’s why in the confectionary industry, growth has gone up by 3.7% over a period of 52 weeks, lasting till April 19th of last year. That’s not too shabby. It’s hard to refute given the fact that to this day Snickers, 3 Musketeers and Butterfingers litter the impulse sections of every point-of-sale in every department store.

iPhone Apps

iphone apps
photo credit: Jason A. Howie

Technology has skyrocketed lately. How so? Think cellphones. Think tablets. Think mobility. We’re all on the move now, and it’s so convenient. Before, we were always so satisfied with being static on the desktop and laptop, but now we went from tiny netbooks to little mobile computers allowing us the advantage to tap into the Internet with blazing speed. In this market, app sales specifically for Apple exploded onto the scene, topping $30MM. As I write this, 30K applications — everything from the next Farmville to business networking — have seen the light of cyberspace day. More than a billion downloads have commenced on Apple, in fact. That’s just one company, albeit arguably the largest mega-giant in the industry. It’s no secret that you might be tackling a great industry here.

Healthcare Technology

healthcare technology
photo credit: jfcherry

We hear this all the time about “healthcare reform, healthcare reform, healthcare reform” like it’s a broken record. It’s a fallable system, yes. Imagine then what it would be like to target the industry in terms of technological improvements, advancements and convenience. It’s about streamlining patient care, a win-win for both the person and the hospital. With the federal stimulus bill sitting at $19B for a successful health-information tracking system, understand that it means you have a guaranteed demographic here. People would undoubtedly pay for your product in an industry expected to grow by 18% in 2 years.

Beer, Wine and Liquor Wholesale

wine store
photo credit: Lynn Kelley Author

Some might’ve said that the “party” era of our humankind has slowly exited out of our existence. I say not. Even though plenty of consumers lighten up on the load of alcohol for fear of health problems, understand that this is an industry benefitting from cut prices and astronomical wholesaler profits. American whiskeys are easy to make these days, allowing for cheaper costs and better profits on the wholesale market with an increase of 5% in this past year. That’s not bad for booze.

Service Software

cloud service
Managed cloud service – lucrative

We might be getting a lot of those applications right in the cloud, but nothing beats a hands-on, dedicated and tangible product offered by a company. Think of it as “technological outsourcing.” Companies providing a service through software makes for dedicated staffing, immediate operations and minimal overhead or oversight. That’s always been the one disadvantage to getting your own applications anywhere — sure, it’s convenient, but you still have to operate it yourself. This industry seeks to not only provide the software, but operate it for you. It’s no wonder the niche is expected to expand by almost 20% by the end of 2014 with around $8B in sales.

Home Healthcare

home healthcare
photo credit: homehltctr25

This has recently been an incredible trend in the healthcare industry, transcended the trite and tired model of the nursing care home, so it’s no wonder there are several ultra-companies out there with their crosshairs aimed directly at this demographic. There’s flexibility here, autonomy present and an ability to provide everyone from the senior citizen to the first-time mom with dedicated and in-person, in-home service, something much better than any staff nurse can do in an old folk’s home. Just to take a look at these numbers: 4.5% growth through 2016, total revenue of $265MM back in 2008 and $2B by 2015. We can’t argue with that.


yoga class
photo credit: daveynin

It’s maybe a bit hard to believe that this is still a profitable industry, but this really holds hands with the medical field on a huge level. The proof is in the fat-free pudding — almost 14MM hardworking Americans end up hearing from a doctor or licensed therapist that yoga might be a great alternative for them. That means more and more people are seeking the benefits of yoga and therefore need certain kinds of products associated with the phenomenon, such as yoga apparel, equipment, media and other exciting products. We may be seeing soon the idea of men’s yoga apparel even!

Technical and Trade Schools

trade school
Learning at a trade school

Like the online education trend going on, even in this day and age, institutions like ITT Tech — a pretty good alternative to traditional college education — are seeing some increased flow, especially due to unemployment numbers soaring up to 8.9%. People are obviously seeking additional certifications and education to make them more appealing in the job and employment market, or transitioning fast to a different industry without having to obtain a new degree and spend another four years to do it. We see the same trend here: it’s about convenience.

Fast-Casual Dining

casual dining
photo credit: avlxyz

We’ve entered what I call the “Goldilocks Age” where fast food is just too fast and gimmicky, and traditional dining just ends up way too expensive and flashy. All we want to do is eat, but we want to eat some comfort food along with the ambience and fellowship. Think Panera Bread, Jimmy John’s, coffee shops. It’s “just right.” Look at the statistics and know that the top 100 fast-casual restaurant chains out there have grown almost 11% since 2008, which is about $16.7B. Even those handy and convenient “food trucks” you find out there on all the major city streets are growing.

And that’s not all of them….

You Have a Wealth of Possibilities Here

If you ever had any reservations about starting a business after consulting with your successful business lawyer, it’s obvious that those reservations have been filled. Entrepreneurship never looked so good.

However, if this just isn’t enough for you to consider, read on. There is a part 2 to this piece.

About the Author: Matt Faustman is the CEO at UpCounsel. You can follow his business insights on Twitter at @upcounsel.