According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 29.6 million small businesses were operating nationwide in 2014. If you are interested in successfully joining their ranks, you want to pick an industry with a promising future. Here are five to consider:
About half of the 20 occupations projected to have the highest percentage increase in employment by 2026 are in the health industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Meeting the needs of an aging population creates opportunities for physical therapists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other health care specialists to open their own practices.
Legalized medical marijuana
Good news for those with green thumbs: 29 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana. IBISWorld predicts that industry revenue for medical and recreational marijuana growers will jump 33.5 percent from 2016 to 2021. But for every high, there's a low: Because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, growth of the industry could be affected by shifting state and federal regulations.
Personal disposable income is projected to grow 4 percent a year through 2026, according to the BLS, and as disposable income grows, so does the "quantity and quality of online purchases," IBIS World said. E-commerce markets can be easily saturated, given the low barrier to entry. To increase your chance of success, focus on your customers — whether through customizable products, superior support or fast delivery.
The BLS predicts the information technology industry, which includes roles like programmers and systems analysts, will grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026. Information security analysts, in particular, are expected to see a boost in demand. More companies are working to protect their data, prompting the BLS to predict a 28 percent growth rate in the occupation from 2016 to 2026.
Other personal care services
The BLS highlights the broad category of "personal care services" as one of the fastest-growing industries based on employment. It encompasses massage therapy, tattoo shops, wedding planning, wellness services and other trades. This industry is also one of the most funded by Small Business Administration-backed loans, an added bonus.