Small Business Opportunities
In an environment that is constantly changing, new markets and opportunities are emerging to satisfy the more sophisticated demands and expectations of consumers. For example, the growing practices of downsizing and outsourcing by big business and government, the increasing proportion of senior citizens in the community, the growing popularity of Jamaica as an international tourist destination and the uptake of new information and communication technologies are all contributing to create business ideas and opportunities for small-to-medium enterprises. Successful businesses are moving from mass production to customisation, developing new products and services for niche markets. The following areas of business opportunity focus on the services sector. Services are the fastest growing industry sector in Jamaica and provides many of the business opportunities available to small business operators.
The list is a guide and is by no means exhaustive.
01 Domestic Services Opportunities
With the trend towards two-income families and an aging population, there is an increasing demand for the provision of domestic services. The trend away from 'do it yourself' to 'do it for me' emerges as more people outsource household maintenance in favour of extra leisure or income-producing time. These services focus on the home as the marketplace and call for the business to go to the customer at the customer's convenience. Examples include:
- home cleaning, maintenance and gardening
- healthy prepared meals and home catering
- shopping and delivery services
- home security systems and patrol services
- household waste disposal and recycling
- car care
- pool cleaning
- pet care
With government privatising many community-support services, there are growing opportunities in the care and community services sector. The number of people aged over 65 is increasing at 2% per year. Today, many retirees have larger disposable incomes and are healthier than ever before. Opportunities exist to provide tailored lifestyle, health and financial services to this age group such as:
- travel and tourism
- special interest education - leisure and learning
- investment and retirement planning
- sports and recreation
- tailored accommodation facilities
- home and health care
- preventative health and alternative therapies
- mobility and companionship services.
With increases in the number of pre-schoolers in the population and with the increased cost of child care, there seems to be an emerging trend - among middle income households with both partners working - toward the employment of nannies as a substitute for more traditional childcare facilities. Pre-school education, along with recreation and entertainment activities such as junior gyms and creative movement, are also areas of opportunity.
In our competitive world, the trend toward self-improvement - intellectually, socially, physically, cosmetically and emotionally - has led to a major growth industry focusing on personal development. Health and well being has also seen a number of alternative practices (many of which focus on holistic healing) become increasingly popular. From this trend there has been an increased demand for natural remedies and products such as essential oils and herbs. In turn, this demand has lead to many farmers diversifying their business base and exploring new markets and options. Areas of growth and opportunity in personal services may include:
- alternative therapies
- stress management, relaxation and meditation
- personal counselling and self awareness
- parenting skills and techniques
- public speaking and social etiquette
- career and skills development
- image consulting
- personal security, self-defence training and devices
The entertainment and recreation industry is one of the key beneficiaries of a range of economic and social changes that are shifting household expenditure patterns in favour of services. Health and lifestyle changes are leading to growing numbers of consumers taking an active interest in both their physical and cosmetic well-being.
For example, the sport, health and fitness industry is currently in the growth phase of its lifecycle and can be big business, not only at the professional level, but also with the social and recreational sports person. Service areas that offer potential opportunities for business in sport include:
- personal training
- diet and nutrition
- adventure sports
- camps and holiday tours
- health and medicine
- product research and design
- coaching clinics
- marketing and promotions
- equipment hire and sale.
The property and business services industry is another area with a very positive outlook. More than one in five of all new jobs generated over the past decade have been in this sector. Property services include, commercial and industrial leasing; and the hire or lease of motor vehicles, plant and equipment.
The three fastest-growing sectors within business services are:
- computer consultancy services
- employment placement and contract staff services
- accounting and business advisory services
The shape of the business sector is changing. Large companies and government departments are shedding many of the tasks traditionally done in-house, a trend that is providing immense opportunities for small business.
Areas of business services growth include:
- serviced offices and secretarial support
- business planning and information services
- marketing and public relations
Many larger companies and organisations are outsourcing their specialised training requirements and are spending increasing amounts to up skill their work force. Specialist training providers with the ability to tailor courses according to their particular needs are well placed to take advantage of this trend.
Tourism has overtaken a number of other industries in its importance to the national economy and is currently Jamaica's single largest export industry. The profile of the overseas tourist is also changing; with tourists not only coming in at the top end of the market, but also increasing numbers of budget tourists are seeking out Australia's unique lifestyle and terrain.
Most tourist facilities are run as a small business and, there are many opportunities for new innovative tourism facilities and recreation services. These could include:
- eco-tourism and nature based tours
- heritage and nostalgia tours
- backpacker tourism
- farmers diversifying their business base to include farm-stays
- special events; e.g. country show days, concert and sporting events
Also, there are services to tourism and recreation such as:
- staff training
- business advice
- marketing and promotion
- tourism products and souvenirs
To operate a successful small business, it takes determination, hard work and, most importantly the necessary skills to run a business on a day-to-day basis. A great business idea is only as good as the ability to put it into practice.
In any dynamic economy, new business opportunities will always emerge, ready for developing and exploiting by entrepreneurial individuals and enterprises. But to successfully exploit a business opportunity you need, first and foremost, to correctly identify that the situation presented or detected is in fact a real opportunity.
For example does it:
- possess an acceptable level of risk?
- have the potential to generate income and/or capital growth at a level that will provide an acceptable return on your investment?
- satisfy the lifestyle criteria you have identified for yourself and family?
- use your existing skills and resources?
Have you checked the master list of business ideas?
Many people make the mistake of selecting and pursuing business opportunities simply on the basis of their viability, rather than their suitability. It is important when looking out for business opportunities that you consider as wide a range of issues as possible, not least of which are the personal ones. The right business opportunity is one that fits within the personal capabilities of the proprietor and is in a viable industry. Both matters are equally important! Access to a network of reliable information, support and advice is also necessary.
The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and its Network of business advisors provide a specialist network committed to the establishment and growth of small-to-medium enterprises throughout Jamaica. In various locations around the State, they assist business operators to capitalise on opportunities and focus on success by supporting them with access to all the information and advice they need to expand their ventures. Together, the JBDC and its Network of business advisors are working at building the future of small-to-medium sized enterprises in Jamaica.
PLEASE NOTE: In providing these business opportunity ideas, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) does not endorse or guarantee the success of any particular product or service. The JBDC strongly recommends that before commencing any new business venture or idea, detailed research and planning be undertaken and the skills required to successfully operate a small business be developed.