In the webinar “Hot Markets! Hot Trends! Hot Businesses! Great Ideas For Small Business Owners,” SCORE Columnist and Speaker Rieva Lesonsky teaches business owners how to determine their best target audience, identify the latest trends and business ideas. Rieva is the CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship.
Savvy business owners want to stretch every dollar and still stay competitive. They can’t frivolously market to a wide, unspecified audience or invest in yesterday’s trends. Research is critical.
You must become a trend-watcher. Several websites track business trends and demographics. Data from these sites can help business owners sell their products and services to the right market. Rieva highly recommends two websites to help in your research: www.jwtintelligence.com and www.ibisworld.com.
Establishing your target customer helps you focus your marketing budget efficiently. You want to market the right products and services to the right market. You can visit www.census.gov and learn about the demographics of your potential customer.
Kids. 74 million Americans are under the age of 18. They spend $21 billion on clothing, accessories, cosmetics and entertainment. They don’t have to worry about paying the bills yet, so they can indulge on themselves. They also influence parents into purchasing their favorite products which can draw over $500 billion in indirect sales.
Teens. This age group spends 39% of discretionary income on fashion, beauty, food and entertainment. Interestingly, male teenagers spend more money on clothes. Over 75% of teens have cell phones, and they use their smartphones not only to text but to purchase products. Having a mobile-friendly website is important for all generations.
Plus-size apparel. The average American woman wears a size 14, but many stores sell to smaller sizes. Finding clothing is difficult and finding fashionable apparel is even more difficult. This is an important market with over $16 billion in yearly revenue. Men also need plus-size apparel, often called “big and tall” clothing. How to compete: If you sell clothing, order some plus sizes in similar trendy styles too.
Everything wedding related. The average wedding costs $25,000. They offer high profits for florists, photographers, event planners and more businesses. Americans spend $72 billion on weddings each year. Also, whatever your political stance, gay marriages offer a new avenue for sales.
Male grooming and spa treatments. Men tending to their appearances is culturally acceptable and in some circles, expected. 38% of men ages 18-35 have facial or body treatments. 25% of men in that age range have manicures and pedicures. How to compete: If you have a beauty salon or spa, add on these services with a masculine touch and offer more couples’ packages.
- Specialty Foods. Many people want to experiment beyond the “meat and potatoes” meals of past generations.
- Gluten-free. These foods were created specifically for people with illnesses like Crohn’s disease and colitis. Now those unaffected by digestive diseases buy gluten-free also. They think the foods are healthier and help control weight. 40 million people are interested in gluten-free products, and the industry revenues are around $10 billion. How to compete: if you own a bar, restaurant, bakery or grocery store, add gluten-free options.
- Organic and green products. This is a $42 billion industry of foods and products which are grown and made without pesticides, artificial flavors, preservatives or growth hormones. Many customers are willing to pay more for these green products.
- Food trucks. By 2017, sales from food trucks will top $2.7 billion, four times more than in 2012. Customers are drawn to unusual foods they have never tried before. Often the food is not cheap, but customers enjoy the experience. This is an inexpensive way to start in the food service industry, much cheaper than starting a restaurant. Also, you can drive to other locations and build brand awareness in multiple areas. Even restaurants can add a food truck as a cheaper alternative to opening in another location.
- Artisanal Food and Products. Locally-sourced food and farmer’s markets are on the rise. Customers appreciate the local business owner and want to support their neighbors. Plus, there’s the appeal of handcrafted goods.
Hybrid Foods. A New York chef created the “cronut,” a mix between a croissant and a donut, and Time magazine named it one of the “25 best inventions of 2013.” How to compete: experiment! Create something unique to stand out from the crowd.
These are just a few hot markets and businesses. Researching what’s trendy in your industry will pay off tremendously. Listen to the full webinar: “Hot Markets! Hot Trends! Hot Businesses! Great Ideas For Small Business Owners”.