The months from February to April can be some of the slowest of the year. After the excitement of the holidays, winter can feel endless while waiting for summer. Spice up those short winter days with a new business venture or by taking your business to the next level of success. To give you some inspired ideas, here are some of the newest industries that are taking off this year.

1. Go Green. This is one of the biggest growing trends in 2011. “Green” is everywhere and in every industry right now. Companies are focusing their efforts on natural resources whenever possible and are encouraging their customers to do the same. Conversely, customers are going green themselves and demanding of the companies they frequent to keep up. One great way to appeal to your customers who are eco-friendly is to use recycled products whenever possible and cut down on paper use. In a similar vein, customers are deliberately purchasing their products from stores that promote local products. Grocery stores with produce from local growers are especially popular right now but it goes beyond that to local designers and manufacturers. If you can find some way to take advantage of this niche and work it in to your business model, all the better for your business.

2. Health and Fitness. Along with being good to the environment, consumers are focusing more and more on healthy living for themselves and their families. Organic eating and focused workouts are taking center stage in the consumers’ minds. Parents are even bringing their children into the action with family exercise and totally organic meals. This new spotlight on health and fitness has brought specialty food and drink stores to the forefront of the market as customers are choosing to spend their money on fit living. If you make any type of product, it might be a good idea to market your product or modify it to appeal to this specific type of consumer. This will expand your customer base immensely and allow you to satisfy this desire of people for healthy living, especially since a common New Year’s resolution among people is eat better and exercise more.

3. Search Engine Optimization. The Internet. Has there been any bigger game changer to the business sector in the last ten years? The introduction of the internet has been huge for businesses both big and small and has shifted the way businesses present themselves to their customers. Now, consumers turn to the internet for information about the companies in their area, and online shopping has become almost a hobby for the young and old. A company that takes advantage of this is very smart. All companies, regardless of size, should have a website; however a website alone can only do so much. The key to internet presence is search engine optimization (commonly called SEO). SEO is basically the use of key terms within the text or coding of your website to bring it up higher in the search results. Since many consumers only look at the first page of hits after searching, this means the higher you are in the search results, the more customers will see your business.

4. Technology Security Consulting. With the increasing use of the internet, thieves have found better and less obvious ways to steal from unsuspecting consumers. Identity theft is a big threat to consumers that shop online and in order to keep their customers from leaving, companies are always looking for bigger and better ways to protect the online realm. Even a one-time incident of stolen credit card information can deter customers from coming back to your site forever. Improving the security precautions of your website and computer systems says to customers that you care about their protection, encouraging them to feel safe shopping with you, and safe shopping can lead to frequent shopping.

Think about how you can incorporate some of these industry trends into your current business plan. Maybe you can market yourself better to certain consumers or run a recycling campaign in your community. There is always a way to expand your business somehow, whether through advertising, customer base, or products offered. Don’t let 2011 pass you by without taking advantage of some of the hot trends!

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