The 10 Best Small Business Opportunities of 2015

One of the best businesses to start?. Blend Images/Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

Welcome to my 2015 list of the best business opportunities.

These are the business ideas that I think will give budding entrepreneurs the best chance of making money in the coming year – and just as importantly, the opportunity to start a business that will last and make money for years to come.

Not all of them are ideas that I think will make you a fortune. Some have that potential. Others fall into the category of steady earners.

And some of the ideas on this list are, admittedly, more exciting than others. But if you know anything about business, you know that it’s often the simple, plain idea that yields the most as the most successful businesses meet people’s needs.

Remember; there are lots of business ideas that didn’t make this list that can be developed into successful small businesses. These are just ten that I think have great potential.

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Medtech, the business of creating and producing medical devices, has never been more accessible to just about anyone. The combination of inexpensive resources such as 3D printing and open-source software and hardware make producing prototypes much less costly.

And the medical technology market is booming; sales are expected to reach $228 billion by 2015 (Markets and Markets). What could you create to make medical treatments easier and/or more effective?

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The last few years, social media management has been the hot IT-related business. But the big migration is on and 2015 is the year of the cloud. Many businesses are keen to get there but don’t really know that much about it. Others are hanging back because they don’t see the necessity and fear the disadvantages.

Knowledgeable IT types who can make the business case for moving various processes and apps to the cloud and do it for businesses have  huge opportunities. The Advantages of Cloud Computing will help you make your case.

Image (c) Dave Mcleod / Susan Ward

Food safety is becoming more and more of an issue. It’s not just the burger meat or the undercooked chicken that’s threatening consumers now; even products such as organic lettuce have been subjected to food recalls. In self-defense, perhaps, consumers are paying more attention when they buy food and the local food movement is growing apace.

Combine the desire to eat-food-that-I-know with gluten free and peanut-free to create food products that people will find truly irresistible.

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The burgeoning numbers of senior baby boomers also provide burgeoning business opportunities for senior care. In-home care and senior residences are the obvious ones, but don't forget all the related opportunities such as driving, delivery, catering and cleaning services for seniors who want to stay in their homes. You can certainly develop your own business providing care for seniors, but there are also quite a few senior care franchise opportunities available.

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Aging sucks and one of the ugly aspects of aging that many people face is having to leave what’s been their home for many years and move into some place smaller. What makes it even worse is that many seniors in such circumstances have no one on the spot to help them.  That’s why seniors real estate specialists are a growing niche market in Canada and the U.S.

And while to become a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) involves already being a realtor and taking a course designed by the National Association of Realtors, you don’t have to be a realtor to get into this niche market.

Patti Priestman’s Home Suite Home business takes a slightly different tack, focusing on assisting clients through every step of their move, from decluttering their current home through ensuring everything in is the right place in the new one.

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Forget spin cycling and Pilates  – yoga is the fitness business to be in. The number of practitioners continues to grow each year, perhaps because yoga itself is so adaptable and accessible.  Karaoke yoga, “Grey” yoga, hot yoga; there’s truly a yoga for everyone.  Note that American spending on yoga products, from trendy attire and mats to studio classes, rose from $4.7 billion in 2007 to $7 billion in 2012 and is predicted to exceed $8 billion by 2017 ( The Economist ) – so why not direct some of that your way?

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Using drones for business purposes is an industry in its infancy but I think it’s going to grow up fast as more ways to profitably use drones are discovered. Using drones for surveying, crop dusting, search and rescue and checking out fires to see if it’s safe for firemen to enter are just a few.

As of writing, Transport Canada's rules for flying drones (a.k.a. unmanned aircraft systems) are much more favorable than those in the United States, where the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  has until September 30th to produce rules for the safe integration of drones into airspace.  (Currently only recreational use is allowed.) The fear is that “potential benefits will be dampened by over-stringent rules” ( The Economist ).

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Inc. choose baby products as one of the best businesses of 2014, saying that “products from diapers, clothing, and shoes to feeding aids, strollers, and furniture defied the recession and remained in high demand” and predicting that baby apparel alone would bring in $6 billion in e-tail sales in that year.

Now consider that ecommerce is in its infancy in Canada (sorry; I couldn’t resist) and how easy it is now to get into ecommerce. Baby gear could be your ticket to big bucks.

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 We’ve all seen the ads with the fifty-somethings riding their motorcycles. But the truth is that the fifty-somethings are much more likely to be riding scooters – either because of mobility issues or because they want the convenience and small environmental footprint of a bike with the stability that scooters provide. If you choose this business opportunity, don’t forget to provide gear like helmets and riding gloves too.

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Did you know that there are over 200 languages spoken in Canada and 381 spoken in the United States? Or that there are more than 6,700 spoken throughout the world?

Maybe not, but I bet you can see where I’m going with this. With ecommerce ever growing and increasing numbers of companies striving to sell to more than just the home town crowd, the need for websites, documents and videos to be translated into other languages is exploding.

There’s never any guarantee when you're starting a business. Any business opportunity you're considering requires due diligence.

Once you’ve chosen an idea, the best thing to do is write a business plan; it will help you determine if a particular opportunity is right for you.

None of these are get rich quick ideas or even the business ideas that I think will make the most money. But in my opinion, these are business opportunities that are going to provide real chances to make money in 2015 and beyond – businesses that, done right, in the right place and for the right people may be profitable enterprises for years to come.

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