Not so long ago, if you wanted to know the future you would have to consult your local witch doctor. Upon receiving a small token of your appreciation - a plump chicken, let's say - the witch doctor would toss some magic dust into the air, scatter around a few sunbleached bones, then tell you to walk three miles north, turn left by the old oak tree, and wait 17 minutes if you wanted to catch yourself a healthy bison. If you and the witch doctor were lucky, there would indeed be bison in the right location and at the right time. If only the witch doctor were lucky, you would come home empty-handed and he and his family would dine on the chicken you paid him in advance.
Although the prediction business has yet to evolve into an exact science, things have gotten considerably better since the days of the witch doctor. The onset of the information age has meant that the modern, entrepreneurial hunter-gather has access to all kinds of data that can be used to plot a strategy for success. Although it is still not possible to come up with a map that will tell you exactly how many steps to take and at what moment, it is entirely possible, necessary even, for serious-minded entrepreneurs to take into account emerging demographic, technological and other trends when they decide which sectors to invest in.
Indeed, in the modern age, the problem is no longer that people pay too much attention to imagined omens, but that many do not pay enough attention to the solid data that is available.
As part of our commitment to facilitating gainful small business acquisitions, Bizquest has created this special report to help entrepreneurs identify and take advantage of some of the most promising long-term trends in business and society at large. It is our firm belief that thoughtful analysis of these trends is the most reliable method of gaining insight into the future and controlling the risks and uncertainties that come with the territory of serious, direct investment.
On the Horizon: Six Trends to Watch Closely
Before we get into a discussion of some of the most promising sectors for entrepreneurs, we need to take a look at the broad-based trends that are shaping the business landscape. Some of these trends are widely reported in the media, although their relevance to small business owners is rarely explored in sufficient depth. Others are simply ignored altogether.
The following list can be used as a guide in your brainstorming sessions. Later in this eBook, Bizquest will recommend some of the precise sectors that we consider to harbor the most exciting opportunities. But we also hope and expect that this discussion will trigger your own ideas and help you to consider how some of the investment options you may have passed over or overlooked altogether may fit with the larger trends we are talking about.
The business, technological and demographic trends we consider to be of most significance for small business investors in a variety of sectors are:
We're talking about a group of people who have procrastinated nearly every life transition, including getting married, having children, buying their first homes and settling into long-term careers. They've rewritten the book on American life, and there is every reason to believe they will rewrite the book on growing old. Analysts expect the '8 million baby boomers to retire late and remain active far into their golden years. Their resources are substantial and they are known to splurge generously on themselves. They will spend small fortunes on looking and feeling young, on traveling, on dining out, on buying second homes. These are not people who intend to go gently into that good night, and their long-term impact will be multiplied by many of the other trends now taking shape.