The opportunities entrepreneurs are chasing now

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Entrepreneurs are by definition opportunity-seekers, but to stay ahead of their competitors, every entrepreneur worth his or her salt has to be alert to new opportunities and new market trends. Here are a few that we can expect to see come to the fore during 2017:

Reinventing real-estate investment

You might not think that US fixer-upper reality show darlings would necessarily find innovative new ways to reinvent the world of property flipping, but Chip and Joanna Gaines have done just that. They’ve gone from barely being able to pay contractors who were working on their properties to fixing up a whole town. They took a willingness to do what it took to make it work, and stayed loyal; not just to each other, but their workforce and their supportive suppliers. Now their design and construction company gets live-tweeted by followers who are keen to do the same thing. They didn’t stop there – Waco was a dying Texas town, infamous for the siege that left multiple cult members dead in the early 1990s. Keeping investment local, and even starting businesses within the town refurbished the town as surely as their property portfolio.

Key opportunity: using local businesses where possible builds local trust and custom, and increases local spend.

Discovering smart tech

The really big story of 2017 is likely to be smart-tech – anything from stethoscopes which upload to the cloud so that a database of potential abnormalities becomes available, to intelligent ovens with a bank of recipes to help determine optimum cooking time. Pet feeder regularly being emptied by next door’s cat? No problem; emerging technology will use facial recognition to unlock for your cat, and keep the other pesky moggy unfed. A variety of Internet of Things devices and innovations are enabling us to streamline and foolproof ever greater areas of life and work – smart co-ordinating devices from companies such as Amazon and Google pull our home technology together, meaning we’re never more than a voice instruction away from the latest news or our music library.

Key opportunity: identifying gaps in the market where existing smart technology can be used to problem-solve both in the workplace and at home.

Here comes the internet generation

Generation Z are likely to be the most entrepreneurial yet, and those born at the start of the curve in 1994 are now graduating and making a splash on their own terms. Rejecting a life of day jobs and side-gigs, they are increasingly using always-on connectivity from smartphones and tablets to educate not just themselves, but others – the Generation Z entrepreneur is all about information.

It’s no surprise that the Generation Z entrepreneur is already carving a niche when still at school. They have access to tools to build their skillset and a marketplace to sell their specialism on to the highest bidder; the teenage bedroom entrepreneur used to be rare and newsworthy. Now, the business-minded teenager who hasn’t already made money online, either via an app, or piece-work through job sites, is equally rare.

The modern work practice would seem to be think globally and act locally. However, one thing always stays the same; the opportunities are there for those who look for them.