7 Recession-Proof Business Opportunities

Canadian entrepreneur and business expert reveals what businesses you should look into starting now

Written by Rick Spence

Looking for a business idea to make your own? B.C. entrepreneur Susan Ward, who also curates content for Small Business – Canada on,  has posted an article outlining some of the most tantalizing businesses to look into now.

Obviously, you can’t just walk into emerging industries such as cloud computing or app development. But if you have multiple skills and relish a challenge, you might consider venturing into one or more of the sectors she thinks are positioned for further growth.

Read: Opportunity Guide: Your Next Big Thing.

“People will always have needs,” writes Ward. “The trick to starting a successful small business is to discover what needs they are willing to pay money to fulfill, and then bringing those people together with your products and services.”

Here are seven of the top business opportunities she sees:

* Cloud Migration: As companies get used to the idea of saving money and hassle by storing more of their data and computing power off-site, cloud computing is booming. “Big business will lead the way on this but small businesses will follow,” says Ward, “meaning that cloud migration, helping businesses switch from on-site data storage and applications to cloud-based solutions, will become big business itself.”

* Mobile App Development: More and more consumers are researching, shopping and buying with their mobile devices. Retailers and marketers all have unique target markets and thus different e-commerce needs on the Web and in mobile. Many businesses will include require their own branded apps, opening multiple opportunities for apps developers.

* Hair Salons: Scoff if you must. But no matter how dismal the economic climate, notes Ward, “Women will still scrape together the money to get their hair done, even if they have to let their nails go. So hair salons with talented stylists and well-priced services will still (and always) be real money makers.”

* Civil engineering: North America is rife with poorly maintained and dilapidated bridges, highways, buildings and water systems. This will increasingly generate business opportunities “for engineering firms capable of doing the necessary work and coming up with the winning bid on infrastructure projects.”

* Personal mobility products: We’re not talking data devices here, but products that help people get around as they age. Examples: canes, walkers, wheelchairs, scooters and stair-assists. With the first baby boomers now past 65, mobility products will be a growth industry for years to come. Consider bundling product sales with related services, suggests Ward, such as bathroom renovations for seniors.

* Luxe products: High-end retail still has its place. Luxury handbags, scarves, and shoes for women are still selling well. (Big-ticket experiences, whether related to spas, travel or culture, will also continue strong.)

* Dogs, dogs, dogs: As a headline in The Huffington Post blared, “Dog Businesses Find Success Even During Tough Times.” People hunkered down at home will still spend to pamper their pets. Consider doggie daycare, dog treats and dog resorts.

Read Ward’s full article: The Best Business Opportunities.

If you’re worried that the slumping economy won’t support your new business, Ward has you covered. In a previous article, she looked at the best businesses to start in tough times. Her roster of recession-proof sectors includes auto repair, shoe repair, collection agencies. heating and ventilation services, senior-care services, yard maintenance, and equipment rental (because more people are expected to tackle bigger repair and landscaping jobs requiring specialty tools they do not own).

Of course, it’s not the type of business you start that will determine your success, but the effort, personality and customer excellence you bring to it. The best entrepreneurs can make a splash in any industry.

Rick Spence is president of Canadian Entrepreneur Communications, a Toronto-based business writer, speaker and consultant dedicated to entrepreneurship and helping businesses grow.

Read more columns by Rick Spence

Originally appeared on