In recent years of economic uncertainty, certain sectors/industries have been hit harder than others. Understanding the changing landscape of BC small business can help you decide where the best opportunities are - as well as business sectors to avoid.
Last October, BC Stats released its annual Small Business Profile (2010), a 36 page report that explored recent developments in the small business community. If you have not had a chance to look through the report - and are interested in learning more about Small Business in BC - do yourself a favour and check it out. The report gives significant coverage to the role that small business plays in BC job creation, and the overall impact of small business to the BC economy.
One of the more revealing pieces of information found in the report, is this chart:
What does this mean to potential business owners that fall into any of these (broadly defined) categories? It might be tempting to assume that the fastest growing sectors are where you ought to be - but that would only be looking at half of the story. Rapid growth (or decline in the case of secondary manufacturing) may be caused by a variety of factors - low barriers to entry, financing eligibility, market conditions - or any number of other factors. Also important to consider is the bandwagon effect that certain popular industries may hold, where we see other people having success doing something and decide (often too late) to join in on the success. Knowing half a dozen people who own their own successful plumbing business might be a strong motivator for an employed journeyman plumber to go into business for himself - but is that the right move? If an industry should suddenly take a turn for the worse (as many did during 08/09/10) it will often be the less-established business owners who suffer the most.
The best plan, rather, is to consider the industry trends and growth of a sector as one of many factors in deciding to start a business. Don't be scared off by negative trends either...the tourism industry has been relatively flat for the past few years (in terms of new business entrants), but that does not mean that new entrants have to struggle - fewer competitors doesn't sound too bad, right? Certain sectors are cyclical in nature - and are prone to major 'ups' and 'downs', - it's not always easy to spot the next growth sector.
As we grow the SBA guide collection to cover more and more business ideas and industries, we'll be keeping an eye on trending business opportunities to give coverage. Here are just a few of our recently developed guides that cover emerging sectors in the BC economy.