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Hottest Small Business Trends

About.com Small Business Information Presents the Long-term Trends

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Quality of Life: The wellness and health trend shows no sign of slow down since it's early infancy during the 80's fitness movement. This trend is the convergence of rising health care costs in all developed countries, the aging of the baby boomer, the desire to keep our youth, and growing life expectancy.

Paul Zane Pilzer, world economist & entrepreneur; predicted with accuracy, the U.S. Savings & Loans crisis, foresees the wellness industry will be worth a trillion dollars by the year 2010. Wellness encompasses: looking good, feeling great, being healthy, and fighting aging and disease.

Opportunities: A wide range of products and services such as; botox and energy drinks, to nutraceuticals & wrinkle creams, to serve this large and steady trend. The energy drink market alone grossed $275 million in 2001, more than doubling the profits from the previous year.

Internet: The Internet meltdown was a period of shakeout for capitalists wanting to make a quick million. At the beginning of the century, many companies were formed to take advantage of the birth of the auto industry. Only a handful of players emerged to become household names but opportunities were plentiful in the area of; building roads, suburban communities, and restaurants. The Internet represents a similar venue.

Internet usage continues to grow. Pollster, Ipsos-Reid's, Internet usage survey shows 72% of Americans have gone online at least once during 30 days in the past year. Canada has the second largest usage penetration with 62% of Canadians online. With increased usage comes more online spending. According to the Internet measurement firm, comScore Networks, total online spending in 2004, grew by 26 percent to a record level of more than $117 billion.

Opportunities: With billions of dollars of goods sold online, many businesses will need assistance in website rebuilds and search engine optimization. Look for growing markets in e-learning and online gaming. Don't forget computer security. Gartner Group estimates only 35% of small & medium businesses have disaster recovery.

The impact of these long-term trends will continue to shape markets and industries. For new entrepreneurs, gauge the market closely. If you are expanding a business, look for complementary markets to those you are currently serving. For existing businesses with no growth plans, observe and plan for how these trends may impact your industry.

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