In this guide, we’ll cover 50 business ideas to help you start brainstorming your next entrepreneurial venture. Whether you want to start a part-time side hustle or full-time operation, this guide is for you.
The best business ideas are born at the intersection of passion, skills, strategic thinking and timing.
The hardest phenomenon to predict is the future, especially if you’re still struggling to figure out what’s happening in today’s economy. But predicting the future is exactly what you need to do if you’re enrolling in college, starting a fresh career, or investing in new skills.
Table of Content
- 1 Why Start a Business With the Future in Mind?
- 2 Science & Technology Trends
- 3 Healthcare & Biotechnology ideas
- 4 Green Energy, Power & Renewable Energy Trends
- 5 Auto Engineering Industry
- 6 Defense and Security Innovations
- 7 Agriculture and Agro-allied Industry Trends
- 8 Entertainment and Tourism ideas
- 9 Finance and FinTech Trends
- 10 Internet Services Technological Demands
- 11 B2C Industry
- 12 B2B Industry ideas for the Future
- 13 More Innovative Future Business ideas
Why Start a Business With the Future in Mind?
The attribute of most successful entrepreneurs are those who don’t follow the herd but anticipate the needs of the market earlier than the competition. Of course, such anticipation is not without risk, but the payout can be considerable.
After all, seminal inventions, such as the automobile, the Internet, and the smartphone, were all regarded with high degrees of skepticism when first introduced. Equally important, the impact is not only cultural but economic as well.
The automobile gave rise to a global network of small businesses, such as parts makers, dealerships, and service centers. The Internet has spawned a host of online companies, many of which, such as Amazon.com and eBay.com, have grown from small operations to very large ones indeed. So what are the small businesses of the future, and where will we find them?
The fields of energy and clean tech seem to be among the ripest areas for growth, as do nanotechnology, entertainment, and the growing demands of adapting the planet to accommodate its burgeoning population–even if they might strike some of us now as being a bit far-fetched.
The pace of change in the business world is faster than ever these days, thanks largely to globalization and digital technology. One way to zero in on fields that will be hot in the future is to stay away from those that are not. Below are some of the business ideas that will be hot in the foreseeable future;
Science & Technology Trends
The era of big data is just getting started, with many firms eager to tap vast new databases to gather more info on their customers, their competitors, and even themselves. The challenge isn’t just crunching numbers; it’s making sense of them, and gaining useful insights that can be translated into a business edge.
Marketing and market research are two growing fields where the use of data is exploding. With the right gadgets and know-how, you can position yourself for this time bomb business.
2. 3D Printing Shop
The basic idea underlying this business is fabricating items in low cost printers. At this stage in 2016, there is plenty of hype but 3D printers are still extremely expensive. When you need a need a new lens cap? Print it! That’s the idea behind this.
That’s the way of the future. Instead of the long processes and procedure of fabricating in a factory and shipping the item wherever it’s needed, 3D printers are expected to produce everything from architect models to sinks to spare camera parts. “It’s already happening at service bureaus. It hasn’t happened at a physical shop like Kinko’s, but it’s very possible and soon
A lot of software development is done overseas these days, but the need for high-level computer experts able to tie systems together is still strong. In finance and investing, for instance, high-speed computing is increasingly a prime competitive advantage. And most big companies will need networks that are faster, more seamless, and more secure.
Right now, this idea is slightly beyond sci-fi. The idea underlying this future business is exploiting and exploring space. Since resources are running out here on Earth, the value of rare metals and minerals may someday be worth the cost of lunar or asteroid mining, especially when you consider that deep sea drilling requires investments of billions of dollars.
If you realize that everything we hold of value on earth is in near-infinite quantities in space, you realize there will be vast wealth created on the space frontier. Many entrepreneurs are not concerned with the difficulties inherent in mining an asteroid; as they are already convinced it’s possible and lucrative.
New technology will continue to generate breakthroughs in medicine, manufacturing, transportation, and many other fields, which means there will be strong demand for workers schooled in biology, chemistry, math, and engineering.
Some areas that show particular promise: biotechnology and biomedicine, nanotechnology, robotics, and 3D printing, which allows the manufacture of physical products from a digital data file.
6. Migration-as-a-Service: Migrating from one platform to another is a pain and as technology improves, there’s going to be an increase in need for migration services, so that platform users won’t lose data while moving across SaaS platforms.
7. Robotics Mechanics
Right now, robots are scrubbing floors but they cannot wash dishes. Thousands of robots have been blown up or damaged by improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan. So robot mechanics already exist. But we’re talking about something as ubiquitous as a computer repair shop.
The world robot population is growing rapidly, with an estimated 13 million robots by the end of next year, according to IFR World Robotics. Many are industrial robots, but personal robotics is growing rapidly, with research robots doing dishes and ironing. Soldiers risk their lives trying to save bots on the battlefields. It will accelerate massively.
This idea is about making things smaller than it was half a century ago. As satellites get smaller, the costs of launching them get lower. That’s the major limiting factor. Nano satellites and the even-smaller picosatellites can be packed with all sorts of useful equipment that have business applications.
The types of nanosatellites and microsatellites that can be built by small companies and universities will become more robust. We’re heading in a direction where small teams and small companies will be able to do far more in smaller packages.
9. Smartphone Repair Services
The high competition in the smart phone market, leads to the dramatic price reduction and in turn it has increased the usage too. Now everyone afford to get at least one smart phone in their hand. Luckily, there are no much smart phone repairing services are out there. As it opens a wide opportunity, without any doubt it would serve as a best small business to start now.
10. Kids Friendly Apps
Kids are your future customers, so gaining their loyalty now isn’t a bad idea. JWT Intelligence also cited the connectivity of kids as a big trend for the future starting from now. According to Common Sense Media, three-quarters of kids have access to a mobile device.
This spells a big business opportunity for anyone who can create products or design apps just for kids. And, if they also happen to be educational or promote good health, you’ll win their parents over, too. You can start small by designing a few kid-friendly apps and see where your business goes from there.
Healthcare & Biotechnology ideas
A. Body Part Making
This has to deal with the use of degrading polymers and stem cells to engineer tissues. This is not about growing a foot or an arm in a lab. It’s about growing skin or tendon or muscle–in other words, single types of tissue. But the possibilities are immense.
For instance, a Connecticut company already has the tech and they are working to heal ACL tears without taking tendon from another part of the body to surgically repair it. The company uses a degrading polymer placed where a tear occurred and lets stem cells in the blood do the healing.
Using a device that looks like a high-tech shoelace, it’s braided. It looks like about a 5-inch shoelace from your sneaker made from very small fibers, like smaller than a human hair.
B. Stem Cell Pharmacy
Even though it is promising, the political atmosphere concerning the issue is really charged. This concept is concerned with healing with cells moves medicine away from drugs. Stem cells are already used to model diseases and test new drugs, but as the technology advances, stems cells may actually push drugs aside.
Even now, stem cells are showing promise for degenerative diseases and regrowing cells after surgeries. Pharmacies full of drugs, however, could well be replaced with pharmacies of cells that are more natural and work better.
This is the use of nanotechnology for the reparation of cells. A report commissioned by the British Government earlier this year, “The Shape of Jobs to Come,” flubbed in suggesting that nanotechnology would lead to subatomic medical treatments and hence, nanomedics. We’re on board with nanotechnology providing advances in medicine, but this was a problem of size.
Bruce Donald, a computer science professor at Duke University, has been creating microrobots that could possibly insert electrons into neurons in the brain. The world’s smallest untethered, controllable robots, Donald’s nanobots are about 60 microns wide (200 could fit on an M&M). It’s not hard to imagine medical applications for the robots.
D. DNA Design Firms
If you don’t know, reading DNA gives clues to disease. At this junction in the history of human existence, DNA reveals some diseases, much more to come if we invest in this area.
But testing DNA for patterns that correlate with diseases won’t disappear so easily. BioNanomatrix, a Philadelphia company that provides technology solutions for reading DNA, is working on a grant to get DNA sequencing under $100 by 2020.
The long-term possibilities of cheap DNA testing involve a better understanding of aging and endless possibilities for new ways to cure and treat disease. The great dream is that you take a person’s DNA when they are a baby and you profile it in a very thorough way, which can make easy the prediction of the health status of the baby.
E. Wellness and natural health
The wellness and natural health industry will most likely exceed the mainstream healthcare industry in the nearest future. So, natural health experts and products will be in great demand.
Green Energy, Power & Renewable Energy Trends
i. Bio-Fuel Production
There are different forms of bio-fuels and different sources for it too that won’t hurt the pocket. The fuel is so cheap and to think that it can actually be also made from waste and to crown it all, bio-fuels doesn’t emit smoke like the conventional energy sources like kerosene and petrol we have around here.
You can start to produce your own bio-fuel too and create your own invention that would run on bio-fuel. It could be a generator, a tricycle or even a motor vehicle.
ii. Power Storage Business
Uninterrupted power supply systems also known as UPS or inverters are gadgets used to store energy, so that when there is absence of power, the UPS can be used as a back-up source of power.
UPS are used in hospitals, schools, information technology companies, individual homes and almost every company out there. You would definitely make good money from selling this hot item.
iii. Solar Powered Office
With tax breaks, advances in core solar technologies and a new generation of gadgets, fairly soon you will be able to power your entire SMB with the sun. State-funded renewable energy programs mix tax breaks and direct grants to drive solar deployments. Outfits like PowerFilm Inc. are developing custom-made flexible solar panels that can power literally anything.
iv. Wind Energy Installation
A lot of people are also embracing wind energy. It’s not uncommon to see an entire community that runs on wind energy. You could set up a wind farm in your area and have people pay you to supply their houses with wind energy. Like solar energy, wind energy is cost-effective.
Read Also: Essential Guide To Business Process Mapping
v. Solar Water System
Water is very essential and everyone knows that water pumping machines sap a lot of energy. You could start a business that helps people install water pumping machines that run on solar power and makes it cheaper and easier to pump water.
The future is already here and if you intend to be part of the relevant class of the society in the days to come, then you should invest in any of this business above. You should also know that most of this business is in the field of science and technology which need loads of research years before the products can be commercially viable, so the time to start is now, not later.
Auto Engineering Industry
a. Car Charging Station
It’s common knowledge that electric vehicles is already in the U.S. Auto market and hundreds of charging stations have been built, thousands will have to be built to cater for the increasing consumers. The all-electric Nissan Leaf completely sold out before the car even arrived in U.S. showrooms.
With that kind of demand, the charging stations to get those cars running are also going to be in high demand. The idea is to ensure that people don’t hesitate to buy electric because they’re worried about fueling. The key is that they fuel a little differently.” In general, the cars take hours to charge, so stations are needed where cars are parked.
b. Jet-Pack Dealership
The idea is hinged on personal flight. It is actually commercially available right now but has not been embraced by consumers. An aircraft company is already taking orders for the first commercially available jetpack. It’s recreational, so you’d need to go fly in a field somewhere, rather than to work.
It’s also expensive, stating a price of $100,000. If that price comes down, however, it’s not hard to imagine that folks might want to fly to work instead of drive. That is, until air traffic looks like the freeways of today.
c. Car Sharing Business
Car sharing or car sharing (US) or car clubs (UK) is a model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour. They are attractive to customers who make only occasional use of a vehicle, as well as others who would like occasional access to a vehicle of a different type than they use day-to-day.
The organization renting the cars may be a commercial business or the users may be organized as a company, public agency, cooperative, or ad hoc grouping.
d. Electric Car Production
One major expense that people undergo daily is motor vehicle fueling. Imagine a world where you didn’t have to fuel your vehicle. You can develop your own electric vehicle or employ people to develop one and sell the idea to you for reproduction.
I am certain that a lot of people would receive this innovation with open arms. However, you need to be deep-pocketed to do this kind of business. And in case you are asking if it’s possible for cars to run on electric, yes it is. A little bit of research would clear you of any doubt.
Defense and Security Innovations
Privacy Protection Firm
The use of smartphones connected to different grid of information has exposed our information to those who want to steal it. The need for data protection and reputation management growing rapidly. From credit-card numbers to photos from the latest kegger, more private information is online than ever before.
Businesses need to protect that information, and individuals need to be careful with it. Right now, states are only now beginning to pass laws that require companies to have written security plans to prevent data breach. Beyond data, a cottage industry is developing in the field of reputation management.
Agriculture and Agro-allied Industry Trends
1. Meat Grower
Can you imagine growing meat in the lab? That is what this is about. Even though this is already been done but the taste is not there yet. Using techniques that come out of stem cell technology, numerous groups of scientists have grown meat in the lab. Stem cells are placed on scaffolding and soaked in nutrients to grow.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are behind the push for lab meat. In 2008, the group offered a $1 million prize to the first group that can grow commercially viable amounts of chicken meat in a lab. New Harvest is a nonprofit founded by Jason Matheny in 2004 to do just that.
2. Vertical Farming
Single-story, high-tech greenhouses save significant amounts of water and increase productivity.
So why not stack them up and makes cities self-sufficient? The idea for vertical farms came from an infectious disease ecologist, Dickson Despommier, who turned his knowledge of parasites into a way of looking at cities.
“Instead of the city behaving like a parasite, it should be a symbiant. The future city has to take a big lesson from nature and start behaving like an ecosystem.” By that, he means zero-waste cities.
3. Water Trading
Water is becoming scarce. It has been said that water is the oil of the 21st century. But humans don’t need to drink a liter or two of oil every day. Early signs of coming conflicts over water are already apparent around the world and in the U.S., where the Southwest is ever-thirsty.
Water issues are a coming tidal wave, especially considering the amount of water needed for agriculture. People will actually make a choice: I could drink this water, or I could let my plants drink this water. Soon this element is going to be the subject of conflicts and wars. If you don’t know, Bottled water already a billion-dollar business.
Two out of every two people love pets and they are more popular than ever, and some of them get medical care that’s practically fit for a human. The BLS expects the need for vets to rise 36 percent by 2020.
Every household owns a pet. But due to the hurry burry life style most of them have find no time to take care of their lovable pets which makes the pet care to be consider as the best business to start in 2014.
According to “American Pet Products Association” this pet care industry grows by 5%each year. Pet care industry includes the services like pet sitting, pet mobile grooming and assisting the people who want to grow farm animals like bees and chickens in their home located in city etc.
Entertainment and Tourism ideas
Right now, the idea is beyond 3D. The hologram of today is a clever version of an old illusion called Pepper’s Ghost. In the mid-19th century, the trick was done with thick glass between the audience and image that could make a figure appear to be floating in the air.
Current illusionists use highly reflective polymer, invisible to the audience, to create life-size images. A top application for the technology is using holograms for real-time telepresence for meetings.
The capacity already exists for numerous people in different cities to appear on stage on another continent, in real time. Of course, hologram theaters could replace 3D, as well.
Lunar Tour Guide
This is a form of pay to play lunar travel and will be available in the next few years. Accessing space used to only be the province of governments or large aerospace giants. That is no longer the case, with numerous companies sending paying customers into the heavens. That may go a step further, with lunar missions, in the next five or 10 years.
Ever since Eugene Cernan stepped off the moon on Dec. 14, 1972, the moon has been devoid of human contact. The next person to return may well pay for the right to do so. Space Adventures has commenced the business, by planning a lunar mission for tourists in the next three to four years.
This is a form of space tourism and it is targeted toward the upper echelon of our world. The punchline is that we are now seeing the birth of the Googles and Apples of the space business. There are a number of companies working on space hotels.
At the forefront is Bigelow Aerospace, which launched two prototypes of space hotels and currently plans a commercial space complex by 2014. Called Sundancer, the hotel is expected to have space for up to six people on a short-term basis. A Russian company called Orbital Technologies is also racing to have the first commercial space station.
Finance and FinTech Trends
a. Accounting Firm
To start a small accounting firm, you won’t need a strong economic and financial background. Your investments are just a professional degree and of course a practical accounting knowledge. Regardless of the nature of the business, everyone requires an accountant.
So if you are an accounting whiz, consider starting the accounting firm. Provide your best, regardless of the size (small scale, medium scale or large scale) of your clients. Because satisfied clients are the best advertisements to your business.
Internet Services Technological Demands
Nowadays every small to large businesses have started to establish their online presence through websites. It has created a huge demand for web designers. Starting a business in the web design is more economic. All you need are just a PC with internet connection and a bit of creativeness.
So, if you are in the field of technology or completed your study in computer science, when it comes to choose among the best businesses to start right now, starting the web design and development company should be your ultimate choice.
2. SEO Firm
This is related to Web designing, as the demand for the good SEO services seems quite high. Every webmaster who holds a website want to be found by the search engines and people to increase their profit margin.
You can even provide SEO services from your home. To survive the competition, make sure, your learning curve is not going to end at any time soon. Equip yourself with every new search engine updates and change your SEO tactics regularly.
3. Social Media Consulting
With the dramatic increase in the popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, businesses are deeming it more necessary than ever to start using these platforms for reaching out to prospects.
This has led to a huge demand for marketing consultants who advise businesses on how to promote and market their products and services on social networks; and this demand will keep increasing for as long as social media continues to remain relevant.
4. Outsourcing Agency
Due to the current state of the economy, businesses are looking for ways to cut down cost and streamline their operations. One way businesses are trying to achieve this is by outsourcing to freelance contractors what used to be in-house functions; such as human resources, accounting, and IT related tasks. If you can setup an outsourcing agency, you are in for huge profit potential.
5. Automated Translating Services
Globalization in all the areas has actually created a tremendous demand for the translators. Without requiring any big investment in the upfront, you can simply start your business as a freelance translator.
All you need is a sound knowledge in the languages you are going to deal with. Remember though, just being aware of the languages will not be sufficient to carry out an effective communication.
6. Freelance Marketplace
Companies are increasingly turning to freelance and contract workers to fill the skill gaps in their staff. It’s not hard to imagine that you could build a whole company around providing freelance services of one sort or another.
According to Freelancer.com, which lists more than a million freelance projects on its site, the most in-demand freelance services are data entry, academic writing, Excel projects, data processing, Web search and Facebook-based jobs. Some freelance gigs pay by the project and others pay hourly and the rates can vary greatly. But as you gain more experience, your earning potential will soar.
7. Instagram Consulting
In its annual trends report, The Future 100 — which highlights the big and small trends to watch this coming year — JWT Intelligence reported that more and more companies are using Instagram as a marketing tool.
According to the report, the social media app reached 400 million users in 2015, and the number of companies with more than 100 employees using Instagram for marketing is expected to reach 48.8 percent in 2016. Despite Instagram’s growing popularity, not all brands know what they’re doing on the app.
There’s now widespread recognition that mental health is as important as physical health, which is likely to increase demand for professionals in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the need for marriage and family therapists, as one example, to grow 41 percent by 2020.
Due to the ever-aging population in the United States and other developing countries, there is an increasing demand for independent living by the elderly. And any businesses that can cater to this need by offering personal home care products and services to the elderly; with respect to physical therapy, grocery shopping, cooking, etc will be of great relevance for years to come.
Services for Retirees
Everyone wants to live a good life even after retirement. And it is expected that by the year 2020, 80% of workers born in North America will be older than 50; a statistic revealed by Entrepreneur magazine.
This trend will open huge opportunities for businesses targeting adults that are over 50, who are looking to enjoy a blissful retirement. Such businesses include retirement real estate, retirement recreational services, nutritional counseling to help seniors look better, etc.
As there is an increase in the number of elderly people with temporary or permanent disabilities and ailments, there will be an increasing demand for services that help such people — such as skilled nursing and medical care for the elderly.
Box Subscription Services
Box subscription services are popping up everywhere in the food, beauty and even pet product sectors, ready to deliver goods right to your door each month. One of the perks that keep customers coming back for more is the idea that these subscription boxes are carefully curated just for them based on their likes and interests, and each month, the boxes’ contents are a surprise.
Find a unique product category that’s still untapped by the box subscription industry, or find a way to put a new spin on an existing service, and you could have a lucrative business on your hands. Keep it as inexpensive as possible, offering cheaper products will help you stand out from the competition.
B2B Industry ideas for the Future
1. Mobile Marketing Consulting
Due to the ever-increasing number of people who surf the web using mobile devices like Smartphones and tablets, businesses are now realizing the need to adopt mobile marketing as a way of targeting prospects that use mobile devices.
This has led to an increase in the demand for mobile marketing consultants. Since indicators are suggesting that mobile devices will continue to dominate for a long time (just as the need for mobile marketing), there’s a huge opportunity for mobile marketing consultants.
2. Employee Monitoring Services
Due to the technological development, now most of the jobs can be done without leaving your doorsteps. According to the recent study there will be more than 1.3 billion employees work in mobile fashion by 2015. The question here is how the employers will keep track of their employees work? This is where the role of employee monitoring services come into play.
Now this industry makes use of “vehicle tracking time clock, mobile time clock apps” to monitor their employees. But still when it comes to billing and payroll, employers require a dedicated staff member to manage all these. So consider starting a company in this sector that provides effective employee monitoring services and additional human resource functions in an outsourcing fashion.
The boss earns a lot for good reason: His job isn’t as easy as it might seem. Effective management in the future will require basic business knowledge plus the ability to oversee operations in many locations and countries, and some technical know-how.
Anybody who can improve a unit’s performance while lowering costs should rise quickly. The BLS and IBISWorld also expect growing demand for some support fields such as human relations, benefits administration, and event planning.
4. Testing Services
Apps, mobile-friendly websites and e-commerce have become must-haves for every business. Often, however, they don’t work properly. One reason is that businesses don’t always test their applications or software carefully enough; meaning testing services are now in hot demand.
For example, one company, SOASTA, offers cloud testing services for clients. And there’s room in this market for growth — a service that specializes in niche testing, for instance, would have an edge over broader testing services.
More Innovative Future Business ideas
A December 2012 study by Intuit and Emergent Research predicted that revenue from the food truck industry will reach $2.7 billion by 2017. A truck is a much less expensive investment than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, and according to Mobi Munch founder Josh Tang, the failure rate for food trucks is just 10 to 20 percent (as opposed to 60 to 90 percent for restaurants). With the right equipment and some great recipes, you can have your mobile eatery up and running in no time.
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Marijuana Cigarette Maker
This is already in the black market but this idea is built on the legalization of drugs. California’s legalization measure didn’t pass on Nov. 2, but California and a number of other states are already well into a gray area of legalization. Further, legalization advocates say the vote itself was as step forward.
It elevated and legitimized the discourse about marijuana legalization like nothing ever had before. It shifted the debate from whether marijuana should be legalized to how. For the small pot farmers and joint rollers, business is good, and few are looking forward to the Phillip Morris of weed. That doesn’t stop the push for legalization.