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By Benetrends • November 5, 2019

Future-Proof Business Ideas for 2020 and Beyond

Entrepreneurs often look to start businesses that will stand the test of time. As trends evolve and customer habits and expectations change, having a business model that endures means steady, reliable business.

What is even better is when an entrepreneur can get ahead of the curve, creating a business that stands apart from the rest with a business plan built for long-term success. Here is a look at some future-proof business ideas for 2020 and beyond.

Caring for an Aging Population

Home health care businesses are a smart choice, especially given the aging demographics in the United States. Home health care organizes visits by medical professionals or other caregivers who travel to patients’ homes to provide medical treatment or other types of assistance.

Medical home health care includes a range of check-in and monitoring services, including checking vital signs such as blood pressure and respiration, wound care, mental health assessments, and nursing care. 

Caregiving home health care involves assistance with day-to-day tasks such as dressing, bathing, toileting, cooking, cleaning, and transportation to medical appointments.

Other home services include providing in-home physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other types of rehabilitation.

Why start a home health care business? Here are a few reasons:

  • Franchise opportunities. Several franchisors offer franchises in home health care. A franchise business leverages the brand, business plans, resources, and marketing of a proven, successful business model.
  • No experience needed. You do not need to have a medical background to start a home health care business, although experience in the health care industry is helpful. 
  • High growth potential. Home health care is projected as a $99 billion business, with more than 420,000 businesses nationwide. The industry employs more than 2 million people and has had a 3.7 annual growth rate in recent years.
  • Reputation matters. Providing quality in-home care requires strong people skills, reliable and trained staff, and a solid reputation. Word of mouth goes a long way in retaining and attracting customers. It’s a business that serves a critical need and if done well, will lead to more business.

Like any business, there are unique elements of building a home health business. For one, you will need to be licensed, likely by your state, and will need to gain certifications from Medicare and Medicaid; accreditation can take up to a year.

Male patient seeking medical advice from a physician.

Putting a Charge in Electric Cars

The growing interest in environmental responsibility, reducing one’s carbon footprint, and preserving natural resources are driving a surge in electric vehicle sales. Electric cars emit fewer greenhouse gases, require less gasoline, and run cleaner than gas-powered vehicles. 

Worldwide, the number of electric cars grew by 2 million in the last year to 5.1 million. The growth in the coming decades is expected to be dramatic, with Bloomberg projecting that by 2040, 57 percent of all passenger vehicle sales and 30 percent of all fleet sales will be electric. 

The price of LI batteries has dropped significantly, according to Bloomberg, making the option to buy electric even more attractive.

Those electric vehicles are powered by lithium-ion batteries that need to be charged. That’s where charging stations come into the picture.

There are about 22,000 charging stations in the United States. Carmakers are investing increasing amounts in providing electric vehicles. Ford recently announced an $11 billion investment, GM is launching 20 EV models by 2023 and Toyota is ramping up its electric car options worldwide over the next six years.

As the number of electric cars increases, the need for more stations in more convenient and accessible locations will grow too.

“With EVs predicted to see substantial growth, industry and other stakeholders are left with the ongoing challenge of ensuring that enough charging infrastructure is in place to meet the expected demand, support a competitive marketplace, maintain energy affordability, and preserve the reliability of the electric grid,” noted the Center for Automotive Research.

There are three main types of charging:

  • Level 1: Typically, home-based charging units can take a long time to charge (more than 35 hours to charge for 200 miles).
  • Level 2: Available for home use as well as at many offices and public locations, these charging stations take about 7 hours to charge for 200 miles.
  • DC Fast Charging: These stations, found frequently in public locations and on highways, are efficient, charging 200 miles in an hour. However, at present, these stations are most frequently used in commercial and industrial applications, not at home, making them an ideal option for entrepreneurs.

Elon Musk’s Tesla has launched its own series of stations, called SuperChargers, that can hit the 200-mile charge mark in 20 minutes.

Many EV charging stations are attached to existing retail establishments, providing a new revenue opportunity. Adding an EV charging station to your existing business achieves the following:

  • Retaining and attracting customers
  • Increasing revenue
  • Demonstrating your commitment to green energy and sustainability
  • Future-proofing your business

High demand, technological investment, and environmental awareness make electric car charging stations a smart long-term business opportunity.

Data Science Expertise

If you have a background in data modeling, analytics, accounting … or are just good with numbers, data science consulting is an intriguing possibility.

Why?

The amount of data being collected, stored, and analyzed is growing at a staggering rate. It is driven largely by the growth in the Internet of Things (IoT), connected objects that store and transmit information. The IoT includes smartphones, smart cars, smartwatches, and smart home devices – from doorbells to thermostats to refrigerators.

The IoT also includes connected machinery and tools. All of these objects can generate information that is transmitted to databases. The data include insights on performance, user habits and preferences, output, performance, and usage.

More and more businesses recognize the power of data twofold. There is power in the information the data points provide to gain a better understanding of customers, products, operations, and output. 

The second source of power is the commodification of data. Businesses that collect and analyze data can turn that information into a new revenue stream, providing clients, customers, and supply chain partners with valuable information.

That is where data science consultants come in. Data science consultants help companies understand the value of their data, organize it more effectively, and get the most out of it.

Data science consultants wear several hats: helping clients with strategy, consulting, development, and training, all with the goal of providing a richer understanding of data.

Job board Indeed noted that the number of postings for data science positions has grown by 256 percent since the end of 2013.

To be a successful data scientist, you should have the following:

  • Technical Expertise. Degrees in information technology, applied statistics, data science, operations research, mathematics, or computer science provide valuable foundations. So, too, do advanced degrees in related fields or specialized areas (bioinformatics or information management, for example).
  • Business Knowledge. Having some foundation in business related to your consultancy gives you credibility and insights into how to guide clients effectively. Consulting can be a competitive business, meaning any advantages you can demonstrate are important.
  • Regulatory Insights. Increasingly, various jurisdictions, from U.S. states to the European Union, are passing sweeping legislative actions that address compliance. Data privacy is likely to continue to be the focus on legal and activist activity. Depending on the industries where you are intending to consult, that means being aware of the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Homeland Security Act (HSA). Federal contractors and other businesses are subject to compliance requirements to work with companies in certain industrial sectors.

Data is a high-value item. Helping businesses leverage data is, therefore, a high-value option for your business.

Legal Cannabis Businesses

As more states make cannabis legal for recreational and medical purposes, the business opportunities are skyrocketing. One estimate has retail sales growing by 35 percent in 2019 and reaching $30 billion by 2023.

With billions of dollars being spent on cannabis and related products, the opportunity to jump into this lucrative area has never been greater or greener.

Starting a cannabis business means knowing about certain aspects of the business, from growing to harvesting to retail. In addition, there are some unique components for running a cannabis business, including:

  • Strict regulations dictated by state and local sources. For those businesses operating in multiple states, that means keeping track of the different mandates and reporting requirements.
  • Taxation. As cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, cannabis companies face complicated tax filing and payment obligations.
  • Licensing and permitting. Jurisdictions regulating cannabis companies likely will require businesses to be licensed and secure permits to operate legally.

Financing Small Businesses

Benetrends is the leader in small business funding, helping entrepreneurs secure financing for business launch or expansion. Benetrends pioneered the Rollover as Business Startups (ROBS) program, which leverages existing 401(k) and IRA accounts to provide much-needed funds without early withdrawal or tax penalties. Benetrends also provides retirement plan services, legal services, and business services that help you focus on growing your new company. To learn more, download Innovative Funding Strategies For Entrepreneurs.