There are more than 27 million entrepreneurs in America, from those running one-person businesses out of the home to those heading Silicon Valley enterprises funded by investors. The drive to start something of your own has never been stronger, and in many ways, doing so has never been easier. Armed with an internet connection and industry know-how, almost anyone can get a website and business running in a few days. Here are three groundbreaking industries that took off in 2016.
There are many terms that describe artificial intelligence (AI) and its uses across the globe, from big data to machine learning. More companies than ever want to tap into AI to collect data and generate actionable results. AI can reduce the burden on employees, lower operating costs, and create opportunities for growth.
Venture capitalists invested more than $300 million in machine learning startups in 2014 alone, an amount that’s expected to grow in the coming years. Entrepreneurs with a sense for AI can break into this industry by creating niche solutions for certain industries or by providing software services to help businesses get off the ground with big data.
The global e-cigarette market is expected to grow by almost 25 percent by 2020, and it’s not hard to see why. Many people view e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional smoking, whereas others prefer the flexibility of vaping inside venues such as restaurants and bars, where traditional cigarettes aren’t allowed. Others are making the switch as a stepping-stone toward quitting altogether.
This market is ripe for business-to-consumer (B2C) products, from flavors to accessories. However, some vendors might not want to work with you because of the controversy surrounding these products. Accordingly, if you’re considering entering this field, look for a high-risk credit card processing provider to help keep your rates down even as your sales go up.
You don’t have to sell a physical product or a complex software system to make a splash as an entrepreneur, however. Corporate wellness has become an estimated $7.2 billion market as companies work to make their employees happier and more productive. These programs need to have cohesive strategies with proven results, so you’ll have to make sure that your product is backed by science or evidence of prior success.
Companies want to recruit top talent, and instituting corporate wellness plans that cover time off and employee development is one way of doing so. Not only does corporate wellness help with recruiting, but it also helps with retention. Turnover costs companies millions of dollars each year in lost productivity and training, which means that they might be willing to invest in programs for retention if it means that employees stay for the long run.
These are just a few industries to consider entering, all of them popular with investors and currently undergoing a dramatic boom. Many others are growing quickly, too, however — and the right idea could break through at any moment. You might find that your solo operation in your basement becomes a 20-person company in the next year or two — but you’ll never know unless you take your first steps into the world of entrepreneurship.