The 6 best industries for small businesses to thrive in, from food trucks to health to micromobility

  • Starting a small business is no small task.
  • 20% of small businesses fold in their first year, in part because they didn’t find the right niche in their industry.
  • These six industries – among them health, personal nutrition, and mobility – offer an ideal climate for small businesses to thrive.
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There are more than 30 million small businesses in the US.

And it always helps to be in the right market.

These six industries are quickly expanding, and finding a niche within them would be ideal for small businesses.

According to a report by small business resource site Fundera, these fields – micromobility, health, food trucks, personal training, personal nutrition, and consumer retail – are among the fastest growing. And since 20% of small businesses fold within their first year, it’s prudent to select the right industry in the first place.

Here are six of the most lucrative industries for small businesses, plus what you need to get your business started.


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Micromobility is exactly what it sounds like: vehicles used for personal transportation. They’re often the electric version of bikes, scooters, or skateboards.

The micromobility industry is already growing quickly, but with Ford’s acquisition of e-scooter maker Spin in November 2018 for $US40 million, it’s likely to skyrocket. The industry as a whole is set to be worth $US200-300 billion by 2030, according to CB Insights.

To start a micromobility small business, you’ll need thorough knowledge of the technology that powers e-vehicles. And you’ll have competition – consulting firm Frost & Sullivan predicts 150 new micromobility vehicles will be launched by 2020. Some of those scooters are already in the streets, like e-scooter maker Circ. Existing startups are positioned to lead the industry as it grows, with both Bird and Lime now in more than 100 US cities.


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Healthcare is already becoming a diversified industry, with small business offering personalised services, something large-scale hospitals aren’t always equipped do. And many of those hospitals are no longer profitable, prompting closures around the country.

The government spends $US3.3 trillion on healthcare every year, but there are still huge gaps in the health sector, such as uninsured patients and affordable services.

To start a business in the health sector, focus on the hottest sub-sectors: biotechnology, health data management, and personalised health. The demand for these businesses is growing as well. Healthcare stocks have increased by 185% over the last 10 years, and a quarter of venture capitalist dollars have gone to healthcare businesses. The only industry with more investment is technology, and similarly, healthcare demands specialised skills.

Food trucks

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Food trucks, the last word in mobile hipster dining, will see even more small businesses join their fleets in the coming years. It’s already an $US800 million industry, and it’s set to grow by 20% in 2019.

These businesses are easier, cheaper, and less risky to set up than a brick-and-mortar store, making them ideal for entrepreneurs with less capital.

To start a food truck business, you’ll need specific business licenses, ordinances, and you’ll have to follow safety compliance standards. According to the National Food Truck Association (NFTA), the top three friendliest cities for food trucks are Portland, Denver, and Orlando.

Personal trainers

Being a personal trainer means branding yourself as a business and gaining the right clients to spread the word. It’s very easy to start out small – you can make a website and begin right away.

Between traditional gyms, boutique fitness clubs, and personal trainers, fitness is a $US22.4 billion industry. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, personal trainers make $US39,820 a year, and the number of trainers is set to increase 10% by 2026, 3% above the national average.

To start a personal training business, you might need nothing but exercise equipment, expertise, and some clients. This is about as small as small businesses get – your business can be profitable, even if it has just one employee. To go the extra mile, offer performance data, and use social media to find new clients.

Consumer retail

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Consumer retail, which includes both online and physical shopping, is constantly growing. Brick-and-mortar stores still make up 90% of retail revenue. Even online retailers like Casper and Warby Parker have built stores to nab customers.

For the small business owner, starting online could prove more affordable, and there would be less risk.

But starting a consumer retail small business doesn’t mean you’ll make a profit right away. According to Fundera, net profit margins for consumer retail averages 2.61%, lower than most industries.

Personalised nutrition

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Dozens of diet fads have come and gone, often confusing consumers rather than helping them. Personalised nutrition, however, caters to each individual consumer.

A study shows 15 million people have undergone genetic testing in one form or another, making health data more comprehensive than ever. Nutrition is known to prevent (or lower the risk of getting) dozens of diseases, from heart disease to diabetes.

To start a business in personalised nutrition, you’ll need a background or degree in food and nutrition, human biology, exercise physiology, and/or behavioural psychology.

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