Business formation is surging.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly Business Formation Statistics report, U.S. entrepreneurs filed more than 460,000 business formation applications in September 2021 and a total of about 1.4 million in the third quarter.
That’s the most of any third quarter of any year on record, according to the Economic Innovation Group.
Not that new entrepreneurs aren’t facing a host of challenges as the world digs out from the COVID-19 pandemic and the global supply chain creaks under the weight of unprecedented consumer and business demand. It’s more important than ever for would-be business leaders to think outside the box and prepare for low-probability, high-risk eventualities.
It’s also more important than ever for entrepreneurs to pick their spots. Some industries are poised to do quite well coming out of the pandemic. Others, not so much. Choose wrong and hurricane-force secular tailwinds might not save you.
Let’s take a closer look at seven potential winners in 2022 and beyond.
Prefer to work with data? The fintech space is booming right now as consumers look for new ways to manage their money and startups muscle in on big financial institutions’ turf.
One of the most promising fintech niches is financial education. Products like Goalswell, a financial fitness app backed by Andrew Nikou and other investors who know finance cold, make it fun to learn about money management.
2. Small-Scale Renewable Energy
Large-scale solar energy growth is showing no signs of slowing down, but smaller-scale operations offer even more promise for less-capitalized entrepreneurs seeking a foothold in an expanding industry.
Becoming a certified home solar installer takes a matter of months, not years. In terms of labor supply, this is one of the few bright spots in the residential construction industry. And demands remain high in other sustainable building niches, like energy-efficient windows and insulation.
3. Human Resources Technology
Human resources has come a long way since the days of Dilbert. It’s now possible for employees to handle most basic HR functions on their own using a self-serve portal. If not automatic, getting the boss’s approval for a day off means getting them to tap a button in their admin account.
There’s still a place for human resources managers, albeit a friendlier one than the tyrannical throne occupied by Dilbert’s evil HR lead. But there’s also still room for technology to disrupt the space, making HR teams more efficient and employees more productive.
That’s where you come in, if you’re up to the job.
4. Home Healthcare
Demand for in-home care spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. So did demand for telehealth services and other forms of remote care.
Even as life returns more or less to normal, demand is likely to remain elevated. The convenience and relative safety of in-home care are powerful incentives for homebound patients and their loved ones, especially those with lingering concerns about the coronavirus. Entrepreneurs who find ways to deliver quality in-home or remote care from a less labor-intensive posture stand to benefit.
5. Home Remodeling
It seems like everyone and their cousin boarded the home improvement train during the pandemic. Although some observers expect demand to normalize as once-remote workers head back to the office and people prioritize spending on experiences overspending on stuff, the remodeling boom could be with us for some time to come.
6. Pet Care
The pet care industry is another big winner coming out of the pandemic. People pampered their pets like never before during COVID, to the point that many observers believe we’ve reached a new equilibrium in our collective relationship with our furry and feathered friends. That has big implications for the pet care business, needless to say.
7. Food Service
Food service isn’t known as a hotbed of disruption. And it hasn’t been for most of history. But the steady march of automation has finally caught up with a notoriously labor-intensive field, and incumbents are now scrambling to take advantage. Food entrepreneurs who find ways to deliver great experiences at lower cost will be the big winners here.
Step Up and Become a Disruptor
This is it. This is your moment to disrupt the status quo like you’ve always wanted.
Not just any status quo will do, of course. These seven industries offer better opportunities than most, both because they’re still dominated to some degree by stale incumbents and because they’re set to grow nicely in the years to come.
If you know one well enough, why not take a chance on a new business idea in it? You might not get another chance for a while.