Following on the heels of a decade-long dreary economy, prospects for new business opportunities seem to be looking up. Technology, especially in the service sector, and a revival of entrepreneurship are common threads for the future. Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup, noted last year that the U.S. currently ranks 12th in the world for business startup activity among developed nations. However, recently improved figures for jobs and GDP growth lend credence to the hope that the pendulum has swung and that the number of new startups in 2017 will once again exceed the number of business closures.
For anyone thinking of starting a new business, even if there isn’t a great need for initial capitalization, the availability of funding is a vital factor. Be sure you’re able to manage your credit use wisely, as you don’t want to wind up in debt or lose rewards to high interest. As a small business owner, having the right credit card, be it one from Chase, Capital One or American Express, can often spell the difference between success and failure.
For women, the challenges are even more numerous. Securing funding for a new business idea as a woman is much more difficult than it is as a man – today only 4 percent of the total dollar value of all small business loans goes to women entrepreneurs. To overcome this gap, female founders are challenged to get creative in how they seek out capital. If you’re a woman entrepreneur in today’s new business landscape, we recommend looking to the following fields to get your start in 2017:
- Start an urban farm: Aquaponics — a closed-loop system that combines hydroponics and aquaculture — is a growing field in cities around the country. It responds to a growing demand for fresh, local and naturally grown foods.
- Establish a green travel agency: Lead tours in your area that focus on organic farms, “pick your own” fruit and berry farms, healthy bakeries, or energy-efficient construction.
- Open an online retail store for products such as artisanal breads, local wines and olive oils, natural soaps, handmade gifts, and gift items fabricated from sustainable materials.
Health and Nutrition
- Become a personal trainer or a nutrition coach.
- Work with families to teach effective ways to shop, prepare food and cut grocery expenditures.
- Teach a weekend exercise class for kids and run a summer program for teens.
- Become a personal assistant, a household organizer, a tutor or a lifestyle coach. Offer your services as a pet sitter or a pet walker.
- If you’re a computer geek, start a consulting and training business. Offer group sessions at retirement homes, or schedule classes through your city’s senior center.
- Start an online flea market or consignment service; offer photography and listing assistance as well as monitoring capabilities for anyone too busy to sell their own items.
- Become a webinar pro — film and edit video for anyone who has a message to share.
- Become a freelancer. Whatever your area of expertise — translation, speech writing, product descriptions, editing, website design — the market is enormous for these kinds of services, both locally and globally.
The real estate market has rebounded. If you have your real estate license, (or even if you don’t) there are many new opportunities that don’t only involve listing and showing property.
- Specialize in property management of either residential or commercial rental properties.
- Become a real estate photographer: Because almost all buyers look first online, quality photos are all-important. Specialize in drone photography, and you’ll have as much business as you can handle!
- Start a home inspection business. A basic knowledge of construction techniques is needed, but most states don’t require formal training or certification.
- Become a real estate stager or home redesign expert. Alternatively, specialize in home organizing, or start a consulting business that helps relocating families.
- Start a “home check” business for second home owners or for families on vacation. Even though smart technology has made it easier to monitor a home from afar, many people will pay for services that include picking up mail, checking on landscaping and making sure all is well inside a home.
The areas overlap in numerous ways, but technology is a common thread, as is a focus on quality of life. No matter where you choose to start, 2017 looks to be an exciting time for dedicated entrepreneurs of every stripe and passion.
Adrienne Cohen writes for Credit.com as freelance writer, in addition to covering entrepreneurship, travel, real estate, food, health and urban agriculture topics elsewhere. With a background in home building and design as well as journalism, she also has personal, real world experience with several small business ventures.