Flying or failing: industry sectors set for success in 2014

It will take more than a lucky strike when it comes to business success in 2014.

As it does in any year, many factors come into play in business owners’ quest for prosperity. Consumer and market forces, audience targeting, levels of demand and product type and service offerings, along with other business strategies are just naming a few.

Unfortunately there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to business success, however economists and trend watchers concur that some sectors have greater potential for prosperity in 2014 than others.

Small businesses that position themselves to leverage opportunities in the following industries could be well placed in 2014:

Business, professional and property services – The latest MYOB Business Monitor, a survey of over 1,000 small to medium business owners and managers, revealed those in business, professional and property services were the most confident about the economy – a reflection of their business optimism.

Thirty per cent expected the economy to improve within 12 months and, more importantly, 29 per cent anticipated their annual revenue to rise in the 12 months to August 2014. The property market is looking especially hot, with the number of housing finance commitments up for nine consecutive months to October 2013, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) trend estimates.

IT and telecommunications – The exponential growth in mobile device usage bodes well for the IT and telecommunications sectors. According to ACMA, Australian smartphone ownership increased by 29 per cent to 11.2 million during 2012-13 and we have all seen the exponential growth in apps built specifically for this technology.

Businesses that cater to smartphone-savvy consumers who use their phones for myriad purposes – to shop online, access and download documents on the go, navigate and organise their day – could reap great business rewards.

Furthermore, with more than 2 million active SMEs in this country there is scope for accounting software app developers to make business life even easier for operators that manage (or want to manage) their finances on the move via mobile solutions.

Cloud ‘enablers’ More broadly, with the uptake of cloud computing growing at an exponential rate, most savvy technology businesses that are cloud ‘enablers’ are well positioned in 2014. A global report from Barclays cited companies that deliver key components or connections for the cloud could well be among the winners next year.

With business operators who utilise online technologies being more likely to see annual revenue rises (again, according to the MYOB Business Monitor), the likelihood of demand increasing further is obvious.

Health/medical – The local health and medical industry has strengthened rapidly thanks to world-leading technologies, innovation, R&D and more, while at the same time demand is increasing due to an ageing population. According to the ABS, in the five years to September 2013, 27.9 per cent of the one million new jobs created were in the health sector. The same research suggests health care and social assistance businesses are the most likely to survive and thrive.

Note: Austrade figures state nearly 80 per cent of businesses in the medical technology field are SMEs and the balance is made up by global multinationals.

Hospitality and tourism – The MYOB Business Monitor found 33 per cent of SME operators in retail and hospitality expect their annual revenue to rise in the 12 months to August 2014. With the dollar dropping in value, Australia is increasingly becoming an attractive market for online purchases from overseas and an appealing travel destination.

In fact, a record number of Asian tourists visited during the year ending March 2013 and Chinese visitors spent more on tourism here than any other country ($4.5 billion) according to Tourism Australia. With the Asian economy booming, businesses that play to this market could find themselves generously rewarded.

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