Business Opportunity: Unlimited Demand for In-Home Care
The non-medical in-home care business offers an opportunity to provide support and care to people in need. "More than one quarter (26.6%) of the adult population has provided care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during the past year. Based on current census data, that translates into more than 50 million people." (National Family Caregivers Association)
Taking care of the chronically ill or a senior citizen can cover errand running, chores, companionship, and meal preparation. No single company has a foothold on this highly fragmented market. Two fast growing businesses in the home care market to emerge are Home Helpers and Comfort Keepers. These two franchisers have grown ten fold in the last 3 years; expanding from 50 to over 560 locations.
Driving Force: Many people prefer to stay at home whether an aging parent or someone undergoing illness. Additionally, most consumers have more time than money. Home care support will continue to expand.
Risks: The risk in a business opportunity full of unlimited demand is the ability to supply the service. In the home care business, the service is delivered by people. Finding and retaining home care staff will be the critical success factor for this industry.
Business Opportunity: Huge Gap In Pet Insurance
A recent winner of the annual Wharton School of Business Plan Competition was not a technology plan or a biotech venture, but a simple plan on the pet insurance market. What the judges and plan writers saw as an impressive business opportunity was the fact that only 1% of the 136 million cat and dog owners in the U.S. have pet insurance.
Pet insurance is more commonly used in countries such as the United Kingdom, where over 12% of pet owners can buy insurance from over 60 different companies. In the U.S. there are only 5 main players: PetHealth, Veterinary Pet Insurance, Pet Protect, Pet Assure, and Hartville Group.
Pet insurance has existed for decades. However, a change in market strategy has finally started to penetrate this market as pet insurance companies move from having veterinarians sell insurance to advertising insurance directly to consumers.
Driving Force: The biggest factor in this business opportunity is simply love. Over 80% of pet owners consider their pets as family members, according to the American Animal Hospital Association. This concern to take care of one's pet coupled with advancements in animal medicine and technology will provide a long future for this industry.
Risks: The attractiveness of this business opportunity is the regular premiums ranging from $100 to $500 a year per policyholder. The biggest challenge for new entrants and industry veterans are the costs associated with educating the public on pet insurance being an affordable solution to rising pet health costs. Developing effective customer acquisition methods will be one key to success.