Previously, NuWire identified and ranked the Top 5 Business Trends that present great opportunities for business owners. In this companion article, we present six innovative business ideas that exemplify these trends; however, aspiring business owners may find that, with a little food for thought and a lot of motivation, the opportunities are endless.
Foreign market consulting
A business in foreign market consulting can help U.S.-based businesses take advantage of exporting opportunities. Because of their high demand overseas, sophisticated capital goods such as medical equipment and electrical machinery may offer some of the greatest potential for exporting. Additionally, the emergence of the middle and upper-classes in rapidly developing countries such as China and Russia has also driven demand for luxury goods such as diamond jewelry.
In addition to the U.S., opportunities for foreign market consultants exist in Latin American markets. Latin American currencies are closely tied to the weakening U.S. dollar, and thus hold lower value than other global currency markets. For such a venture, Spanish-speaking individuals would possess a significant advantage.
Bilingual Spanish-English call centers
As the cost of labor rises in offshore locations such as India, call-center job outsourcing may shift to closer and more convenient markets. In this regard, Latin America is an excellent market for planting bilingual Spanish-English call centers. Demand for this type of service is likely to increase as the Hispanic population in the U.S. continues to grow. Individuals with Hispanic origin make up almost 15 percent of the entire U.S. population and it is projected that their numbers will grow to one quarter of the entire population by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Fractionalizing ownership for single-family vacation homes
Many vacationers do not have the means or desire to cough up $300,000 to $400,000 for a vacation home. Fractionalized ownership between 10 owners for $30,000 to $40,000 each may be a more palatable alternative. Savvy investors who purchase a property for fractionalization can form their own company or outsource the process. Many low-end and high-end properties are available for fractional ownership, but middle-of-the-road single-family homes are still lacking.
Fractional ownership is a smarter alternative to timeshares, which tend to be overpriced and lose their value quickly. For more information about timeshares, read our previous article, Why Timeshares are Horrible Investments.
International real estate brokerage
International real estate companies have yet to establish a solid presence in the U.S., although an increasing number of Americans are becoming acquainted with global travel. The number of international travelers from the U.S. has steadily increased over the past decade, from approximately 53 million travelers in 1996 to more than 63 million travelers in 2006, according to research by the International Trade Administration.
Because of the complexities that are involved in buying foreign property, Americans who wish to purchase real estate abroad may prefer to work with a knowledgeable, U.S.-based company that has established reliable contacts in foreign markets. Additionally, many baby boomers plan to retire abroad; for more on this, see our previous article, Beyond Florida.
A considerable number of U.K.-based international real estate brokerages already exist, catering to a burgeoning market of British individuals who buy property abroad. Overseas home ownership by British households rose by 95 percent between 1993 and 2003, according to research by U.K.-based real estate agent Knight Frank.
Lifestyle business broker
The aging but active baby boomer population will soon be moving into retirement, beginning in 2011. Most will have considerable assets to their name and a lot of time to spare; in fact, a 2004 AARP survey found that 79 percent of people over 50 years old plan to work after reaching traditional retirement age. Instead of working in the traditional workplace, many retirees will choose to start their own business that allows them to do something they love.
Lifestyle businesses that reap high personal awards, such as vineyards and bed and breakfasts, may be particularly attractive for the new wave of retirees. A company that brokers established lifestyle businesses can offer them a range of options and profit from commissioned sales.
Medical office condos
The increased amount of care and attention needed for the aging baby boomer population will have a tremendous impact on the health care industry. Consequently, medical office condos may offer a particularly lucrative opportunity for investment.
Medical office condos follow a concept similar to most types of office condos, in which buyers can purchase individual units in a large office complex. Medical offices, however, are particularly attractive to doctors because it puts them in close proximity to other medical service providers. Patients also benefit from the centralization of medical offices for the convenience of obtaining a wide range of medical services, such as diagnoses, MRIs and physical therapy all in the same building.
Owning and renting out medical office condos can be an appealing and relatively affordable option for investors who wish to get involved in commercial real estate. Medical professionals, on the other hand, may wish to purchase medical office condos for the sheer purpose of owning their own office space as opposed to renting an office or acquiring an entire building.