10 Trending Businesses for 2020

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It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or where you invest - when you have information about the future of commerce and industry, knowing which way the winds of innovation are blowing can help you in more ways than one. As an entrepreneur, investor, or ordinary consumer, a little bit of insight goes a long way.

For the small business owner, it’s important to have an idea of what trends have consumers most excited. You might not want to completely revamp your business model, but you can always learn a thing or two from the latest commercial crazes that are sweeping the nation.

For an investor, studying business developments comes with the territory. Consumer wants say a lot about the direction of the economy, so knowing about the companies and trends that are making waves will help you better analyze and act within the markets.

And, if you’re just a regular Joe or Jane who likes to buy stuff, don’t you want to know when incredible gadgets and life-changing services become available for public consumption? Don’t you want to be aware of the newest ways to get your media or have food arrive on your doorstep? There’s nothing wrong with examining future industries purely for personal convenience.

Since looking ahead can be fun and informative, let’s get a sneak peek at 10 businesses and business concepts that could be on the rise in 2020. Some are more exciting than others, but every one of them ought to be kept on your radar.

1. Cyber Protection

Cybersecurity definitely counts as an exciting field, but mostly for reasons that aren’t so thrilling. With numerous U.S. cities literally hijacked over the internet in the past year, people have a clearer picture of just how important it is to catch computer systems and securities up to speed.

With this industry being driven by necessity, private businesses and government agencies will pump infinite dollars into cyber. As a business owner, expect to see new software rolling out daily to help prevent old threats and combat the newest treacheries.

Personal privacy has also been a hot topic over the last couple years, so engineers are looking into how the average phone owner can feel more confident that any old app won’t lead to a data breach. Individuals getting hacked can lead to larger enterprises being compromised, making every path to security vital.

Cyber threats scare most of us, as very few people are without a digital footprint. The companies working to solve these problems will be very important and likely continue trending for the next few decades, and with good reason.

2. Robotics Engineering and Mechanics

Industrial robots have arrived. Businesses across the planet employ machines that look more and more like the robots of sci-fi to handle a variety of tasks in factories and warehouses. Before too long, similar robots will be sold in basic electronics stores and you’ll have little electronic helpers moving around in your kitchen and dining room.

Personal robots already exist, just not on the widespread level that a lot of experts predict. Like with all new commodities, in-home robotics will seem like a rarity until it reaches a supply/demand tipping point, then you won’t be able to escape them. At that point, you’ll suddenly realize there are far more robot makers and vendors than you expected.

As robotic devices increase in commercial availability, more money will go into research and development. Consequently, more companies will sprout up to meet the subsequent developing, manufacturing and selling. At that point, I would speculate, any robotics company with a decent foothold and some innovative products in the pipeline will experience a boon of some sort.

Whatever your feelings about the A.I. apocalypse, the robot business is ramping up and looks to continue taking strides in 2020.

3. Vertical Farming

Like most Texans, I’m pretty fond of the open fields and rolling hills of farmland. While it doesn’t quite have the same feel, I really do appreciate how the urban farming movement brings a little country flair into the concrete jungles of our cities.

While basic urban farming involves mostly small plots in available parks and rooftops, vertical farming is allowing for much higher yield and a much more efficient process. We know that it’s possible to farm productively in an urban area, and with highrises on every block, what’s the problem with adding another building that serves as a hyper-efficient greenhouse?

As municipalities become more concerned with resource management, it’s widely assumed that cities of all sizes will begin adopting the vertical farming method in one way or another. There’s still plenty of room for innovation within the field, giving the business model a lot of upside. The ability to either grow climate-appropriate foods or create a more controlled environment makes this agricultural industry even more enticing.

There might be urban and vertical farms popping up near you already. If you’re interested in this kind of operation, find the closest farm and see about taking a tour. In a few years, multi-story farms and nurseries will be all over the place.

4. Space Vacations

Do not, under any circumstances, put a significant portion of your savings into space hotel stock. However, you also shouldn’t be too shocked when you hear about someone paying a few million dollars to spend a long weekend in the cosmos.

We’re expecting to see two space hotels launching by 2021. As these futuristic tourist attractions move toward the grand opening, we’ll learn a lot about the potential for this industry. Once more people have the inside scoop on the infrastructure needed to launch a space station for honeymooners, additional entrepreneurs with eyes on the stars may join in on the fun. Or, space hotels will not, in fact, prove to be a feasible business model and we’ll have to continue vacationing on Earth.

Should enough millionaires book their space stays in advance, I’d expect other commercial opportunities to pop up, whether it’s tours or space weddings or space reality shows. The main question will be sustainability; once every billionaire has enjoyed a night beyond Earth’s atmosphere, who will step up as the next round of customers?

5. Water Trading

Water is already a billion dollar industry, but with societies moving toward less plastic consumption and certain regions across the globe at high risk of extended drought, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the water market sees sizable shifts over the next decade.

A relatively predictable fix for the plastic problem will come by way of packaging changes, though those big overhauls take time. Smaller companies with strong plans for environmentally friendly water distribution stand to make waves if they can get things moving before the larger enterprises catch on.

On a larger scale, water entitlements will likely make more and more headlines as time passes and reservoirs dry up. With the ability to properly hydrate and irrigate affecting the livelihood of so many farmers and ranchers, officials and contractors are focusing on how distribution can promote efficient use. While you might expect most water supplies to be controlled by the local governing body, private companies like Nestlé have acquired a substantial amount of resources. How the financial side of water rights plays out in the coming years is anyone’s guess, but it’s important to remember that the water coming out of your tap has dollar signs attached to it.

6. Social Media Coordinating

Social media influencers do their work in the limelight. Behind the scenes, college grads with lots of social media know-how continue showing business owners new forms of outreach.

Traditional forms of marketing haven’t been fully abandoned, but digital marketing has taken over as king of the realm, and the ads that casually sneak into users’ Twitter and Instagram feeds have become a favorite of big and small companies. In addition, the social media accounts of these businesses do more than just promote products; they’re interactive, made to engage consumers through conversations, giveaways and promotions.

The shift in how businesses use social has and will continue to change the landscape of marketing and who gets involved in the field. The young adults of the world are ridiculously proficient with phones, tablets and computers, bringing new insight into how these devices can best serve commercial purposes. Whereas the current generation of marketers first learned the importance of social media advertising then had to learn how to actually implement it, the new generation will hit the ground running.

A number of firms deal exclusively in digital marketing, while other small companies can get by handling only one aspect of a social campaign. This form of outreach won’t lose its importance any time soon, meaning any development in social media coordination is something worth paying attention to.

7. Solar Power

Now that solar roofing has proven its effectiveness and made its way into the mainstream consciousnesses, sun power looks poised to make even bigger strides within the energy market.

With no giant motors or turbines required to produce significant power, solar energy can be harnessed in a number of different ways. Translucent panels turn an ordinary window into a small generator, enabling large buildings to create their own electricity. Busses and planes have shown the ability to run on solar, and more transportation prototypes are set to be unveiled. Urban areas keep finding new ways to install panels that are inconspicuous and productive.

This industry now has enough clout that funding isn’t an issue, meaning more jobs will be created as a variety of projects get slated for the coming years. Everyone from Chevron to small startup companies can take a crack at the solar phenomenon, as the resource will be available until the sun goes out. Clever engineers and designers have grand plans to put solar receptors in our clothes, on our streets and virtually anywhere the sun shines throughout the day.

If you hear of an idea for harnessing sun power that sounds a little outlandish, don’t write it off too quickly. Solar technology keeps getting smarter and making room for all sorts of intriguing advancements.

8. Mobile Kitchens

Taco trucks opened the gate with their trendiness. Now, owning a restaurant that finds customers and avoids the costs and upkeep associated with a traditional piece of real estate just makes sense.

While there are certainly drawbacks to packing all your equipment and supplies into a 12’ truck, the upside is undeniable. It’s infinitely easier to get a restaurant started when you can avoid buying or leasing a large plot that has to be up to code. In the last 10 years, hundreds of chefs have turned their small food truck businesses into established restaurants, using the capital and name recognition garnered by their trucking to expand their business.

Now, the mobile kitchen experiment looks to grow past the simplicity of taco trucks and curbside service. Popup kitchens can come out of trucks and vans and serve people almost anywhere. The portable equipment has the capacity to produce both quantity and quality, allowing skilled chefs to create impressive feats for any occasion.

Traditional restaurants aren’t going anywhere, but the mobile kitchen business model looks like it’s going everywhere.

9. Elderly Care

Another year, another rise in life expectancy. As nice as it is to think of people living longer, fuller lives, it also presents a serious challenge when it comes to caring for people in their late 90s who have run out of retirement funds.

Not only do we need to find out how to provide longer care for less money, but how to make enough rooms and beds available as a massive generation heads toward the twilight of their lives. The Baby Boomers represent our largest retiring class ever, and it’s not yet settled where they’ll all go.

Naturally, caregivers have been speculating on this problem for a while and plans are in motion to address the issue. Successful retirement homes will look to grow and meet demand, and more entrepreneurs will likely enter the fold in the coming years. It will be interesting to see how care facilities cope with expansion and cost, so keep an eye out for anyone shaking things up and having success with an innovative way to provide quality care for the elderly.  

10. Car Charging

There’s plenty of room for improvement, but electric cars are here to stay. As more models hit the market and competition leads to affordability, the need for more charging stations is bound to rise.

At some point, manufacturers will get on board with a universal charging mechanism so powering your electric vehicle in the middle of a road trip will look the same as pumping gas. However, without the need for massive fuel storage tanks, electric charging stations can go pretty much anywhere. Using solar panels to deliver the necessary power, car charging could very well become the most convenient industry in the world. We just need the cars to catch up and motivate the necessity, and it looks like the market is headed that way.

As an investor, I’m excited about the future industries destined to make an economic splash. As a business owner, I’m intrigued to see who comes up with profitable solutions to some of our more pressing problems. And, as a consumer, I can’t wait to see what mystifying things become available for public use in the next couple years.

Whatever your angle, there are plenty of reasons to have an eye on the companies of the future. And, with that future not far off, a lot of these industries will be open for business before you know it.

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