for their products and services. The sectors — health and wellness, homeland security, construction/contracting, business services, and portable technology — show promise for entrepreneurs who are ready to roll up their sleeves and work hard.
Health & Wellness: HERE’S TO YOUR HEALTH!
Few can argue the following facts: The nation’s girth is increasing, and the folks who try to curb this growth are getting richer. As more Americans lead sedentary lives, exercise becomes even more of a pipe dream than ever.
Smart entrepreneurs know this and are turning a national problem into a business opportunity. According to the Natural Marketing Institute’s annual research study, Health and Wellness Trends Database, in 2004 the industry reached $68 billion in retail sales of consumer packaged goods (vitamins, minerals, herbal and dietary supplements, and organic foods and beverages). In 2005 that number reached $79 billion, a growth of more than 15% from the previous year. “Fifty-six percent of organic product users are actively involved in health and wellness in varying degrees and across various product segments,” says Maryellen Molyneaux, NMI’s president. The group estimates total health and wellness sales hit $90.49 billion in 2006. The industry is expected to grow steadily through 2007 and beyond.
According to the International Spa Association, the spa industry is an estimated $11.2 billion industry. Medical spas are the fastest-growing segment, expanding at a rate of 109% compared to a 26% growth rate for spas overall. Personal fitness franchises, especially those geared toward women, are also on the rise. For example, Liberty Fitness, which opened in 2002, has 61 women’s fitness center locations in 16 states and plans to open another 1,500-plus in the next five years.
Edward Behrens, chairman of SCORE’s Southern New Jersey chapter, says that while health and wellness is on the minds of a lot of people, the typical customer base turns over every six to eight months, whether it’s for supplements or going to the gym or anything else. “In other words, you have to find new customers on a continuing basis,” says Behrens. “However, if you can identify exactly who your customer base is and what they need, you can be successful.”
Homeland Security: SECURING YOUR BUSINESS
Businesses that can help Uncle Sam fight the war on terror are in high demand these days. According to industry tracker Homeland Security Research of Washington, D.C., governments and businesses worldwide will spend $59 billion in 2006 on the fight against terrorism. Spending is expected to double by 2010 and the market for security goods and services is expected to increase to $178 billion by 2015.
And while large corporations are bound to benefit, so will smaller companies working on government contracts. In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security spent $28 billion during the last fiscal year and handed out 115,000 contracts (33% of all contract dollars went to small companies). Also, the department requires that larger companies subcontract 40% of the contract’s value to smaller shops.
Homeland security prospects look promising in services that specialize in risk assessment, surveillance products, and technology devices to