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I know, I know, just like the Christmas decorations in Target, it seems too early to be creating a “best of 2016” list. However, unlike the Christmas decoration in Target, getting this list early can be extremely helpful to your business in 2017.

If you’re like many business owners, fall is when you create your 2017 business development and marketing plans. That’s right now, before the holidays. You’re setting budgets, establishing goals, projecting growth. By December and January, your 2017 plans will be mapped out and underway. The “best of” lists will simply be interesting statistics and entertaining information.

That’s not helpful! Looking at this information now, is.

We function in a highly competitive business atmosphere. You have to be on your toes, bring your A-game, think outside the box. You can’t coast on past tactics and expect your business to thrive. You have to be on the lookout for what will give you an edge. Looking at which small business industries rocked 2016 is just such an opportunity.

This list is a great snapshot of how consumers are thinking and behaving. It shows what they’re spending their money on, reveals emerging markets, uncovers fads, and indicates what ideas are working.

So here they are. The seven fastest growing small business industries in 2016. They’re listed in no particular order.

DRONES

Who knew remote-controlled flying devices would create such a stir? According to Inc. Magazine it’s an estimated $3.3 billion dollar market that’s expected to grow 5.8 percent annually. Its uses span humanitarian relief to military surveillance to scientific research to freight delivery to recreational fun. It’s created thousands of IT jobs and its only deterrent is the FAA’s regulations on its commercial use, which are still being finalized. These high-flying devices are on their way to becoming a norm.

CORPORATE WELLNESS

This has become a huge market with more and more businesses incorporating it into their corporate culture. Gym memberships, onsite yoga, stress management and even quit smoking programs are a few examples of what companies are including in their wellness plans. This attention to workers’ health is having huge payoffs. Companies save billions of dollars in healthcare expenses while seeing significant jumps in productivity and employee retention.

GREEN TECHNOLOGIES

Sustainability and eco-friendly products are the wave of the future. This is particularly true in the housing and construction industries. Consumers are clamoring for environmentally-friendly, energy efficient materials, fixtures, and designs. This awareness also applies to food manufacturing, packaging, and preparation.

CYBERSECURITY

Who isn’t worried about identity theft, computer hacking, and online security breaches? With more and more of us using Cloud-based technology, this has become a huge industry. It applies to commercial industries, governments, and individuals. It does require high-end IT talent to keep up with the fraudsters, but the on-going demand balances the investment.

MARIJUANA

Although legal in only four states and the District of Columbia, recreational marijuana is currently a $5.7 billion-dollar industry. Legislation regulating the industry is still being hammered out in most of these locations, but that isn’t slowing down its growth. Edibles, paraphernalia, and plain old weed are hot commodities. The industry has trade shows, street fairs, and even food trucks. It’s an industry that thrives on quality, ingenuity, and creativity. It’s a far cry from the pot of the 1960’s.

FOOD E-COMMERCE

This is industry includes food delivery services ranging from Amazon Fresh to Blue Apron to Munchery. The message? We’re too busy to shop, meal plan, and/or cook. This has spawned a plethora of businesses offering to do it for us. Successful businesses factor in food sustainability, dietary variety, smart phone applications, delivery methods, online payments, and personalized list-making. Of all the growing small business industries, this one demonstrates how receptive consumers are to outsourcing domestic tasks

VIRTUAL REALITIES

This translates into virtual reality and artificial intelligence technologies. To 3-D interactive training scenarios to self-driving cars, these are the wave of the future. They’re so new it’s hard to delineate how far-reaching they’ll be. Experts agree they will redefine our world making everyday tasks easier and requiring less human interaction. The jury’s still out on whether this will be a positive or negative. In the meantime, it’s a new and exciting frontier.
Did your industry make the cut? If you answer yes, great! How can you keep ahead of the curve? What can you incorporate from these other industries to make your business even more effective? Sustainability? Fraud proofing? Employee well-being?

HOW CAN YOU MAKE THIS INFORMATION WORK FOR YOU?

Think critically while you read it. It’s not just about which industries are exploding and which aren’t. Consider what it says about consumers and how they’re using technology. Consider what it says about their concerns and views for the environment, their lifestyle, and their health. How can your business tap into, adopt, or adapt to any of these consumer shifts? How can these innovations and behaviors affect your 2017 business planning?

If your industry isn’t on this list, don’t dismay. These aren’t the only burgeoning industries. The key is to discover what these industries can teach you. Is it insight into how people are living, i.e. outsourcing everyday tasks? Is it increased awareness about the importance of sustainability and environmental issues? Is it a wake-up call to incorporate apps, social media, and the user experience?

Regardless of whether your industry is or is not on this list, the key here is what this list and these industries indicate about the business environment in 2017. Study it, reflect on it, use it. Now, while you’re in your planning mode. Then sit back, enjoy the holiday season and get ready for a momentous 2017.

Does your 2017 business plan require extra cash flow? Do you need capital to make your projected goals a reality? We can help! United Capitol Source specializes in helping small and medium-size businesses attain traditional and non-traditional funding. You can reach our experts via phone at 855-933-8638 or you can use our Live Chat feature on our website. We look forward to helping you.

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