The Best Businesses to Buy in 2018

Business.com / Entrepreneurship / Last Modified: October 24, 2017
Photo credit: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

2018 is shaping up to be one of the best years to buy a business. Consider one of these opportunities.

Here we are, heading into the homestretch of 2017, and you have to wonder: What will 2018 bring? Thanks to a changing market climate and emerging consumer trends, next year might be one of the best times to buy a business. There are more reasons than ever to make buying a new business your New Year's resolution.

If you're sold on buying, the next step is the hard part: which business? With so many lucrative prospects on the market, it can be overwhelming to settle on one. From food to the web, there are many booming industries worth considering, and the process begins with shopping for a business.

Health food is more than a fad

When you're looking at business opportunities, a top concern will be reliability. According to financial experts, food is the definition of "a sure thing."

Consumers are more savvy to health and nutrition than ever before. This is translating into huge profits for specialty-food-conscious retailers and restaurants. In 2017, sales of specialty foods topped $127 billion, according to the Specialty Food Association, thanks, in part, to the growing popularity of natural foods and "localvore" customers.

There are two main routes for breaking into the specialty food market: a retail store or restaurant. The most important concern for this type of business is location. Even though the popularity of specialty foods is on the rise, you have to find a home where consumers are willing to pay a little extra dough for premium ingredients.

Automation is the next hot tech trend

It's no secret that technology is one of the fastest growing and most profitable industries for prospective business owners, but the key to getting a foothold in this saturated market is knowing which trends will boom and which will bust. A word of advice: The most profitable trends are not always the most flashy, and the next tech cash cow is more subtle than you might think. However, rest assured, there is nothing artificial about the moneymaking potential of artificial intelligence (AI).

Automation is all around us. From Wendy's cashiers to coal mining, automation is taking over the marketplace. As technology continues to advance, more processes will be delegated to AI in favor of cheap, efficient and reliable labor. You might not have the know-how for coding the next groundbreaking AI algorithm, but that doesn't mean you have to sit out the automation revolution.

Be on the lookout for businesses that are embracing automation instead of resisting it – this can be a litmus test for future industry prosperity. Areas like manufacturing, customer service, transportation, agriculture and many more are capitalizing on AI to streamline workflows and cut back on labor costs. Prospective business owners should keep an ear to the ground in this area.

Self-made money through self-storage

It might not be the most glamorous option, but just because self-storage isn't flashy doesn't mean you should overlook it as a business opportunity. Shifting consumer priorities in the wake of the "minimalism" trend are leading many people to re-evaluate their lives, and while most people are looking to reduce clutter, they are not ready to completely part with treasured possessions. This is why self-storage units are a great service to offer in 2018: People want to treasure their possessions from afar while downsizing their lifestyles.

Self-storage is also on the rise thanks to the changing professional landscape. With millennials – known for their transient lifestyles – quickly becoming a major sector of the workforce, self-storage is an important resource for professionals on the go. In one Forbes article, experts projected millennials will change jobs nearly every year, which means the workforce will relocate more in the coming years than ever before. Naturally, they need something that is permanent to store their stuff. Prospective business owners should take notice of these lifestyle trends and consider investing in a self-storage facility.

Baby boomer sales are booming

This option is a little open-ended but offers huge opportunity for prospective buyers. Baby boomers are reaching an age where they are looking to sell their businesses and garner a nest egg substantial enough to live a comfortable, retired life.

A California Association of Business Brokers report found that boomers will sell over 12 million businesses in the next decade. This means that no matter which industry you're looking to break into, it's likely a boomer will be selling soon. Thanks to this massive boomer exodus from business ownership, the market is set to drastically favor buyers.

2018 is shaping up to be a great year for those looking to buy a business. From the service industry to tech, emerging consumer trends are shaping up to be more than mere fads and are offering buyers actual, viable financial opportunities. The biggest challenge for buyers going into the new year will be knowing which business trends will boom or bust, so don't be afraid to research an emerging industry. While this is far from an exhaustive list of potential businesses on the market, as long as you keep track of consumer trends and growing industries, 2018 is set to be the year of the buyer.

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