Top 10 Business Opportunities

Business opportunities
••• Martin Barraud / OJO Images / Getty Images

When you have made the leap to decide to start your own business the next step is determining which type of business you should start. Popular trends include businesses that help consumers save time and money, take advantage of the internet and social media, serve a niche in a community, and more.

Gaining traction as a new business takes time, but once you establish a few trusted clients, the opportunity for growth increases from word-of-mouth recommendations. Consider your passions, skills, and experience before embarking on your small business venture, and look at 10 popular opportunities that allow you to go into business for yourself.

1. E-Learning

Learning electronically through the internet takes advantage of technology to allow tutors and other educators to reach broader audiences. Through video chatting, document sharing through cloud-based servers, and other technologies, teachers can reach students anywhere there is an internet connection. Being successful requires the ability to provide content and specialized instruction students won't find for free through other online resources. 

2. Online Referral Service

On a national level, sites like Angie's List, Yelp, and others provide a way for consumers to evaluate businesses. Homeowners, for example, sometimes struggle to find a reliable and trusted contractor for home repairs. As a trusted, unbiased source for contractors and other businesses, you can build a third-party service company focused solely on your hometown.

3. On-Site Computer Service

With the proliferation of computers in homes and small business, combined with increasing complexity, the market for computer services has grown. Use your technical know-how to serve business and consumer clients on-site with their repair, upgrade, and networking needs.

4. Direct Selling 

Direct selling and multilevel marketing are hot in times of economic uncertainty. With rising need for supplemental income, recruiting new members is easier. The practice involves selling products not generally available in retail stores directly to consumers. Salespeople work independently and develop their own client bases.

5. Online Gaming

The online gaming market is growing at a very fast pace. Competition is intense for online gaming developers, but opportunities exist for companies that provide support services. Many game developers contract with outside vendors to provide customer support and network support—especially for online games that cannot afford downtime.

6. Management Consulting

Management consultants serve big firms, small boutique shops, and everything in between. Smaller businesses often will use consultants for individual projects because they may not have full-time employees on staff with appropriate expertise. Larger firms sometimes bring in consultants in order to get an objective, outside viewpoint.

7. Search Engine Optimization Business

Search engines remain the top internet tool for shoppers to research purchases. Experts in search engine optimization (SEO) operate very much like consultants but in one specialized area. Many retailers don't have employees with SEO expertise to help position themselves online. A business serving this need also can provide web design and strategies for social media campaigns.

8. Public Relations Consultant

Public relations represents another specialized area where there is high demand for consultants. Large firms facing a crisis or a scandal often will hire outside PR specialists with no connection to the crisis or scandal in question. In these instances, the job generally involves developing strategies to navigate the most difficult time period immediately after the issue becomes public knowledge. Some firms bring in PR consultants simply to help develop new strategies or refine a company's public image.

9. Home Inspection

Home inspectors offer real estate buyers in-depth, unbiased inspections of homes for purchase. Inspections are a standard practice necessary before any real estate transaction can be closed, and even if not required, they are highly recommended. Home inspectors who gain the trust of real estate agents in a community will be in demand for their services, especially in active markets. Consider offering regular maintenance inspection contracts to when a hot real estate market cools.

10. Information Professional

Searching the internet for information is often an exercise in frustration. Companies of all sizes need timely and accurate information to make intelligent business decisions. This is where the information professional or researcher is needed. Information researchers access the internet and online databases, using advanced search techniques beyond the scope of most average internet users. Pitch your services to businesses that do a lot of research.