By Peter Siegel, Founder of BizBen.com (California Businesses For Sale), the BizBen Network
When you buy a small business, you want to be successful. But to do that, you must be able to look objectively at the company and determine whether or not it is a business that will be able to grow into the future. Many small businesses have succeeded by being on the cutting edge at one time or another. Businesses that survive long term, growth industries, are those that can change and grow along with the changing needs of their consumer. Regardless of what the financials say, a business that is not adaptable may be at the end of its life cycle.
As you look at potential business opportunities, think about where the business is in terms of its life cycle and try to find a vision for future growth if the current owner doesn’t have a plan in place. If you’d like to know that the small business you are buying is going to be in demand for a while, consider buying one in an industry that is projected to grow. Here is my list of small business opportunities in industries that are expected to grow.
#1 – Green Construction
The construction industry was hit hard by the recession. The industry has had to suffer through consumer’s pulling back on doing large home improvements and from building new homes because they couldn’t afford to and because there was a level of uncertainty around what the future would hold. As the economy starts to improve, many consumers are still focused on ways to save money and live more efficiently so going green is becoming a priority.
Consumers aren’t the only ones interested in going green. Business owners are also following this trend as a means of being more efficient and spending less. With that, I anticipate that companies certified in creating green spaces will be in demand in the future. As more and more consumers go green, they will want their homes and their businesses to follow and the demand for companies that can provide green spaces will increase.
If you are considering buying into this industry, I recommend you know something about construction. Experience will be beneficial in running a successful business. Consider buying include construction companies certified in green building, companies that install solar panels or a green consulting company which evaluates a space and make recommendations on how to improve its efficiency. You can find businesses that are either franchises or independently owned in this category.
#2 – Fast Casual Dining
While fast food franchises still remain a popular option for meals on the go, a new trend in on-the-go eating has emerged over the last several years and I anticipate it will continue to grow into the future. The movement to fast casual dining is taking the restaurant industry by storm. Chains such as Panera Bread and Chipotle have grown tremendously since entering the market. Consumers seem to like the ability to be able to sit down for a casual meal that is better quality than fast food but not as time consuming as a restaurant.
Another trend in this industry is the birth of the food truck. We’ve been hearing about them for a while now and some food trucks have really gained quite a large following of loyal customers. Small business opportunities in this industry for you to consider buying include food trucks and restaurant franchises. Even though fast casual dining is a bit different than a full blown restaurant, you should still understand what you are getting into before you buy into this industry so do your due diligence before making any decisions.
#3 – Professional Services — Accounting, Healthcare, Consulting
As the world that we live in gets more complex, the need for professional services increases and I’m seeing a particular demand in accounting businesses, consulting, and private healthcare practices. Accounting may not be the “sexiest” occupation, but accountants and their services are in demand. As people’s finances become more complex we are seeing less do it yourself accounting and more individuals turning to a professional to help with everything from monthly accounting to annual tax preparation. Most businesses use a professional accountant in one way or another but again, as the complexity of our global economy increases, more businesses are requiring additional services from professional Accountants.
As Baby Boomers continue to age, they are creating a demand for more healthcare-related professional service businesses. This includes everything from private healthcare practices to healthcare specialists like physical therapists to home healthcare aides. The population is going to continue to age and need these services. On top of that, with the introduction of the Affordable Healthcare Act more Americans will have access to health insurance so the demand for healthcare professionals may again increase as a result.
Let’s not forget about Consultants! Starting a business and staying open is becoming harder and harder as the economy, consumers and technology continues to change. Businesses are hiring Consultants to help them navigate this unique business environment and you can find a Consultant that specializes in just about everything these days. This increasing demand for professional guidance in specific areas of business is causing this to be a growing segment of the professional services industry.
While buying a professional services practice may sound like a great idea, these are three areas where I’d definitely recommend you have experience before buying. So what I am saying is if you are a restaurant owner looking for change, buying an accounting practice probably isn’t going to be the right fit but if you’ve just become a CPA and the practice you interned at is up for sale, you should consider buying it because it is likely to be a business that will be around in the future.
When it comes to the professional services industry, many of the small business opportunities that are available for you to purchase are likely to be independently owned. Also, be aware a lot of professional practices don’t get sold on the open market. Many change hands by being passed down to family or employees so finding one for sale may be more difficult than finding other types of businesses.
#4 – Repair Services
Consumers are hesitating to buy new. Instead of replacing it, they are repairing it. For millions of Americans who are still recovering from the recession, repairing has become a way of life. Repair businesses from home improvement companies to car repair businesses have seen an improvement in their business when other companies were slowing down.
Small business opportunities in this industry for you to consider buying include home repair businesses, auto repair shops, a clothing repair or alterations business and computer repair.
#5 – Self-Help and Individual and Family Services
We have become a nation of people who are constantly trying to better than themselves. A group of people trying to do more, be more and live better, Americans are looking for help in finding out how they can be the best they can be. The result is that the self-help industry is booming, and I anticipate its growth to continue well into the future. Self-help and self-improvement initiatives started gaining momentum as early as the 1930s and today Americans spend around $11 billion on this industry. Falling into this category is everything from motivational speaking seminars, networking and wealth-building instructional DVDs, guidance books and more. This segment of the industry presents an opportunity for a solopreneur to write a book, produce a DVD or become a speaker so if you have experience and are successful in an area of life that many people struggle in, you may have an opportunity to create a small business out of it.
Also growing in popularity is the individual and family services industry. In my opinion, self-help and this industry go hand in hand because they are both focused on improving lives. When it comes to individual and family services, more and more people are going to start hiring professionals to help them get through whatever is plaguing them; drug addiction, marital problems, mental issues, etc.
This presents an increasing demand for another branch of professional service businesses that are going to grow into the future. As I said before, these are businesses that you should really have some experience in before buying one.
About The Author: Peter Siegel, MBA, is the Founder of BizBen.com (California Businesses For Sale), the BizBen Network, and is the Director of the successful BizBen ProBuy Program (90% success rate) for business buyers. He has recently published an eBook on How To Buy A California Small Business that is available online. If you need assistance in your search to buy (or finance the purchase of) a California business and would like to speak with Peter Siegel, phone him direct at 866-270-6278.Read More