Image by: DC Central Kitchen
By Michael Sterling
2013 has seen a lot of small business trends that have created a plethora of opportunities for entrepreneurs. With so many ways of communication, consumers have a much louder voice. They’re not just “people who buy products” anymore. They make it clear which businesses are worth their money.
Since it’s so easy for word of mouth advertising to be spread through social media, often times consumers will always have the final say. Small business ideas are swayed by consumer trends, and since we have a thorough record of what’s been working this past year, there are a few lessons to be learned. Here’s just a few:
#1) People Love Their Pets
A major trend happening right now is pet-related services. People love to show off their pets and entrepreneurs are beginning to take a nose dive into this sector. From dog grooming, dog walking, dog sitting, even dog boarding (which had 16,840 searches by would-be customers on Thumbtack.com), the opportunities are becoming endless.
PetFriendlyRestaurants.com took this idea and made it their own. Many dog owners want to bring their furry friends with them when they go to restaurants, but usually are turned away. The creators of PetFriendlyRestaurants.com saw a need to be both the hero and the supplier – the result is an accurate geo-location map tool of restaurants within their area.
If ever you find an opportunity to incorporate dogs into your business, not only will you bring in dog owners (which is almost 37% of America), but you will also attract people looking to meet people.
It’s a common theory that men who own dogs are more attractive to women – it shows companionship and dominance. Women love to go to dog parks, so use it as an opportunity to attract your niche market.
#2) People Love Their Children
Parents are always trying to one-up each other when it comes to their kids, especially in certain cities where they can afford to spend thousands of dollars for artificial products. Reality shows like Dance Moms and Toddlers In Tiaras accurately shows the 24/7 competition between parents.
Meet them where their wallet is at. That’s what Courtney Price of Glamour Avenue Parties did. Based in Spring, TX, the business plans themed parties for children and their friends. Whether it’s rock star, spa, or tea party themed, they provides just about everything you would need.
Recent studies have seen an upward trend when it comes to Children’s services, so the market is definitely existent. Because parents are desperate to please their kids, they are willing to spend a lot of dough to make it happen. Why not help them along in that endeavor?
#3) People Love Exclusivity
The word “private” attracts more customers than you think. Services which cater to private events or attractions often make a lot more money because word-of-mouth advertising explodes, especially if its within a certain market.
Searches on Thumbtack.com by would-be customers looking for Quinceanera DJs was 2,992 in 2013, according to CNN.com, while customers looking for photography services ruled the highest of them all – depending on the type of service, they ranged from 20,000 – 30,0000 searches.
If you’re living in an area that has a need for exclusive or private services or tours, there is always going to be a market for you. A good idea would be to look in the ads section of your local newspaper and try to find certain trends. What appears most often, and how can you turn the straw into gold?
#4) People Love Their Houses
A recent analysis of companies with less than $5 million in annual revenue found that 4 out of 10 fastest-growing sectors of 2013 are related to housing. Contractors and real estate agents’ offices saw sales grow by nearly 15% over the past year, while architectural and engineering services grew by 14.2%.
The recent shutdown had a small impact on the number of mortgages being processed, but according to Entrepreneur.com, it’s unlikely that it will cripple these expanding businesses. With so much happening in the economy today, families are now taking giant steps towards owning their own home to guarantee their retirement.
The housing market is definitely one that will show a lucrative return, especially in the areas of building.
#5) People Love Homemade Products
“Made in the USA” is catching on quickly and many entrepreneurs whose business involve a great deal of manufacturing are starting to buy equipment from foreign countries and using them to establish their own factory within the U.S. Not only does this save extra money for time and cost, but it also creates another thing that’s even more valuable: a cheaper product.
With more flexibility in spending, it will allow you to focus on creating a happy customer who will eventually turn into a loyal customer. Manufacturing in America is more than just a political issue we see on TV, it’s also one of the best ways your company can save money without being dependent on other companies.