Hot opportunities for young entrepreneurs

A combination of smart ideas and popular market trends will make these enterprises sizzle in 2006

hot and are being purchased by organizations and individuals interested in protecting their personal safety.

SPECIALTY COFFEE SHOPS. Whether they open a local coffee café or buy a franchise, coffee-loving entrepreneurs can stake their claims by knowing their communities, finding niches and marketing their brands. Interested in a franchise that features high-quality espresso and ice-blended coffee drinks? It’s A Grind (www.itsagrind.com), a fast-growing coffeehouse franchise, has about 175 stores under development throughout the nation. With a cash investment of $240,000 to $440,000, you can own a neighborhood café with a blues and jazz motif.

HEALTHCARE AND WELLNESS. The desire to reduce stress, be more attractive, and live a healthier lifestyle are fueling demand for all things spa and wellness-related, medical spas especially. Research sponsored by the International Spa Association in 2004 found medical spas growing by 109% in the previous two years, versus 26% for spas as a whole. That translated into $11.2 billion in revenues in 2003. As consumers age, they are increasingly demanding products and services that allow them to maintain or improve their health and physical mobility, leading to a wealth of potential new business opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs.

LIFESTYLE-MANAGEMENT SERVICES. “People have more money than time today,” says Debrah Shaver, owner of Lifestyle Solutions in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and they’re willing to pay someone else to take care of everyday tasks they’d prefer not to. Membership in National Association of Professional Organizers, the professional organizing industry’s association, has grown by almost 50% in the last two and a half years as entrepreneurs have responded to a growing demand for such services. With a wide variety of lifestyle-management services to choose from, here are a few worth considering: personal shopping, event planning, home and office organizing, and consignment/donation.

HOME ENTERTAINMENT. Last year Americans spent $24.1 billion renting and buying DVDs and videos to watch at home, far more than the $9.4 billion spent at the box office. Rather than head out for entertainment, consumers today are more interested in staying home and are pumping billions into their homes to make them comfortable places to hang out.
– Additional Reporting by Stacy Gilliam, Aisha Jefferson, Bridget McCrea & Marcia Layton Turner

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