A successful small business often starts with the right idea, chosen at the right time. If you’ve been considering starting your own business, 2020 could be your year. With the economy humming along and interest rates still low, it’s a great time to take the plunge into small business ownership.
Small business is thriving in all seven of the industries we’ll discuss here. If your next great business concept hasn’t hit you quite yet, these ideas will help get the wheels turning and the ideas flowing.
1. Meal Preparation
If you’ve heard about (or tried) services like Blue Apron, you’ll know why meal kit delivery services are so popular—they offer a fresh and cost-effective alternative to fast food or the grocery store. But, increasingly, the dominant model of kits delivered to someone’s home is expanding to include ready-made kits available at grocery stores and even home chef subscription services like Chefs for Seniors.
One upside of being a small business in the meal preparation industry is the ability to work with local suppliers and take extra care in selecting ingredients. In addition, it can be a great way to put your culinary stamp on some of your favorite food by sharing your recipes with others. The market’s crowded nature does mean, however, that it’s important for meal prep businesses to find their own lane to differentiate themselves.
Self-storage is a huge business in America—and even with over 68 million square feet of storage units in the U.S., demand is still rising. In fact, self-storage is considered one of the safest types of commercial real estate investment.
Once a self-storage business has made the initial capital investments, the overhead costs are often lower than some other businesses because self-storage often requires minimal labor expenditure. Even businesses that offer temperature-controlled storage can typically pass their higher utility bills on to the customer and remain profitable. Plus, the self-storage market typically does well regardless of the state of the economy; even during recessions, self-storage tends to be relatively insulated from the worst dips in real estate value.
Becoming a freelancer allows you to take control of your time, focus on what you’re good at, and make money doing it. Web developers, copywriters, software developers, graphic designers, and many other skilled workers are all good candidates for striking out on their own as freelancers.
Of course, it’s far from easy money—many freelancers have to work hard to represent themselves well and always be on the hunt for new clients. Alternatively, there are the so-called “permalance” gigs that are halfway between freelancing and traditional employment and, while they may not offer the benefits of a traditional job, many come with additional flexibility such as the ability to set your own hours and travel while working.
4. Skilled Trades
For those looking to start a business in a high-demand sector, it’s hard to beat the skilled trades (such as welding, plumbing, and HVAC work). Studies show that skilled trades are consistently understaffed because young people aren’t picking them up in high enough numbers, so contractors in the skilled trades can often start a business and begin finding work immediately.
Note that in nearly all states, contractor businesses have special regulations they must follow and often must pass a state test. Many types of skilled trades business owners are also required to get a contractor license surety bond in order to get their license from the state. Prospective skilled trades business owners should know their state’s contractor licensing rules in detail before spending the time and money to complete the application process.
5. Child Care
The daycare industry is poised for continued strong growth throughout 2020, and those who have the qualifications to care for young children will find that their skills are in high demand. Starting a home child care center is an option that parents often use to make extra money when caring for their children at home and, as the millennial generation transitions into parenthood, child care centers that can provide remote child monitoring technology and customized nutritious meals stand to be especially popular.
Child care centers must almost always be inspected and licensed by the state. This will include a rigorous background check and site visits, so make sure that whether your child care facility is a home or a business, it’s compliant with all relevant laws and equipped to provide excellent care for every child.
6. Cleaning Service
Americans are busier than ever, and many people simply don’t have the time to clean their homes. That’s where cleaning services come in. Demand is high for all kinds of cleaning services, from traditional maid services to steam cleaning and, since things will always continue to get dirty, a good cleaning service will never lack for repeat customers.
A key tip: For anyone starting a cleaning service, it’s a great idea to get a business bond to protect your customers. These surety bonds guarantee that cleaning service employees will act legally and ethically while in clients’ homes, which is key to establishing the all-important relationship of trust with clients.
Becoming an independent freight hauler is a time-honored way to be your own boss. With the trucking industry continuing to experience a capacity crunch, competition for truckers is fierce, and quality truck drivers are likely to find a receptive market for their skills. Like any other business opportunity, being a trucker isn’t for everyone, as it requires a high level of driving ability and the capacity to focus on the road for hours at a time. But for those who have what it takes, trucking can be a lucrative and exciting profession.
If 2020 is the year you make your small business dream a reality, we say go for it! While you’re guaranteed to have your share of ups and downs, there’s no substitute for the feeling of participating in the world of commerce.
Jason O’Leary brings 15 years of deep technology, product development, and marketing experience to www.SuretyBondsDirect.com. A veteran of the San Francisco / Silicon Valley technology scene, Jason now makes his home in Charleston, South Carolina with his wife and 3 children.