Business opportunity: Tablet app developmentWhat this means for entrepreneurs:
Business ideas are a dime a dozen. Sometimes, though, emerging trends in business or consumer behavior point, unequivocally toward opportunity.
BusinessNewsDaily has noticed a few trends lately, that offer big potential for startup success.
As the iPad continues to win over consumers, other brands such as Motorola and Samsung are jumping into the game in an attempt to cash in on the tablet craze.
Corning, which manufactures the durable and scratch-resistant glass found on the devices, estimates that tablet computer sales could skyrocket from roughly 20 million units last year to almost 180 million by 2014.
And with more consumers using tablets, more companies will be developing tablet apps as a new way to reach their target audience.
Industry analyst Gigaom predicts the tablet app market will top $8 billion by 2015 — that's compared to $183 million in 2010.
That dramatic increase is opening up new avenues for those with a software background to help businesses market themselves in ways that previously weren’t possible.
Juergen Berkessel, a tablet app expert and the founder of Polymash, a tablet consulting firm and app designer, said it is only a matter of time before all businesses have some sort of tablet app presence.
“The tablet has introduced an ecosystem of apps that are about more than just games and utilities and have real educational, business and brand experience value in addition to being entertaining,” Berkessel said. “Having a presence on the tablet is going to become a fundamental industry need, just like having a presence on the Web was in the ’90s.”
Opportunities abound for startups that specialize in creating mobile apps. Startup costs can be relatively low, and just as smartphone app development can be done by just one person, tablet apps can also be created by entrepreneurs with little initial cost to them.
Business opportunity: Online video productionWhat this means for entrepreneurs:
While businesses used to reserve video for their television ads, the Internet has opened up a new world of opportunities for the medium, and everyone is looking for that next great viral video to spur on their brand.
According to a survey from Brightcove, nearly 85 percent of brand managers indicated they are currently using online video on business websites for marketing products and services.
That, in turn, is creating opportunities for everyone from telecommunications specialists to film school majors to use their creative talents.
Steve Garfield, author of “Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business” (Wiley, 2010), said online video is popular now because it allows businesses to connect with customers and prospects in a real, authentic way.
“There's nowhere else for online video to go but to become more popular,” Garfield said. “Casual video, business video, entertainment video, news video — we are seeing everyone embrace the Web as a distribution platform for video.”
Your parents were wrong. You can use your degree in 1950s film noir to earn a living. And a specialty in a particular kind of film might even be helpful. Just be sure your personal artistic vision doesn't get in the way of giving customers what they want.
Business opportunity: Social media consultingWhat this means for entrepreneurs:
The growth of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a number of other sites have revolutionized the way people connect with each other.
While long embraced by the general population, businesses have been a bit slow to join the party — but that’s starting to change.
According to a survey by eMarketer, four out of five U.S. businesses with 100 or more employees will use social media marketing in 2011, up from just 42 percent in 2008. At the same time, research from Digital Brand Expression revealed that 60 percent of companies that use social media as a marketing tool have no actual plan.
Without a total understanding of social media, many businesses aren’t leveraging its full potential, thus creating the need for social media consultants to help steer them in the right direction.
Kim Mears, social media consulting expert and owner of Mears Consulting, believes business owners are looking for any and all help possible to navigate these new platforms to promote their businesses.
“Online engagement is just going to get more complex and more confusing for the average business person,” Mears said. “It will be our responsibility as consultants to help business owners determine the most cost-effective platforms with the best return on investment.”
Anyone with who truly understands the multifaceted marketing opportunities of social media is now poised to be able to turn that knowledge into a thriving consultancy. If you've got a knack for working with people and can handle running your own business, this could be the opportunity you've been waiting for.
Business opportunity: Online privacy What this means for entrepreneurs:
In recent weeks, major brands such as Sony PlayStation and LinkedIn have suffered online security breaches, potentially leaving sensitive customer information in the hands of the wrong people.
Since 2005, more than 500 million consumers have had their online records breached.
These high-profile cases show hackers aren’t backing down — in fact, if anything, they're becoming more brazen. That reality creates additional opportunities for computer programmers and computer security experts to work with large and small businesses alike to ensure they are properly protected.
In an interview with Fortune magazine last year, Tom Silver, a senior vice president at IT job board Dice.com, said the cyber security industry is in need of more talented professionals.
"Efforts to plug holes in network protection, keep personal data secure, and make national security information safe from cyber attack are being hampered by a lack of experienced talent,” Silver told Fortune.
Security experts looking to break out of their cubicle and start their own business should consider partnering with a person with a marketing background. The ability to help companies protect themselves and to simultaneously communicate the need for your business' services could make this the right time to launch your own security startup.
Business opportunity: PR for socially responsible businessesWhat this means for entrepreneurs:
Over the past several years, the business model of combining a for-profit mentality with a socially conscious mission has become wildly popular.
In order to really maximize the business and the causes it supports, however, it’s critical that consumers are aware of what the business is ultimately fighting for.
A study conducted by research-based consultancy Penn Schoen Berland concluded that, when given a choice, more than 55 percent of consumers will purchase products that support a certain cause—but only 11 percent of consumers said they actually are hearing about businesses social endeavors.
This shows a need for public relations consultants that specialize in working with socially responsible businesses to ensure their message is being heard.
Tex Dworkin, founder of Do Good Biz, a company that specializes in working with socially conscious businesses and nonprofit organizations, said it is critical that socially responsible businesses have a public relations strategy that conveys what sets them apart from mainstream businesses that are solely profit-focused, especially as consumer awareness about environmental and labor issues increase.
With socially responsible businesses on the rise, Dworkin said she expects demand for services like hers to only increase. “With more to offer socially conscious shoppers than the average business, socially responsible business owners stand to gain even more by continuing their PR and marketing efforts in order to grow their business,” Dworkin said.
If you're a PR or communications specialist who wants to "give back," this could be the opportunity for you. Just be sure your first client is yourself. Use your PR skills to let potential clients know you specialize in socially responsible businesses will be your biggest challenge.