Business Ideas for the Next Decade

Too many wannabe business owners build their business ideas from their experiences in the past, but the truth is that the world is changing at a rapid pace. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur with a valuable company that continues to grow, you need to focus on the future.

By reading industry research, following thought leaders and industry influencers on social media and consulting various analytics to understand trends, you should be able to come up with a business idea that will continue to be profitable into the future. Alternatively, you could consider building a business around any of the following ideas, which are all but certain to become lucrative within the next decade.

Virtual Reality

Many tech leaders have a deep and abiding belief in the inevitable shift of humanity into virtual reality, and perhaps their convictions alone will make the imagined VR future come true. Already, VR is a popular tool for gaming; the VR gaming industry is currently worth about $12 billion. It might be a prudent business plan to develop a VR social platform, where friends and strangers can meet and interact comfortably, much as they once did through social networks like Facebook and Instagram.

Alternatively, if you can develop a VR system that is less likely to make so many people nauseated, you could stand to make a fortune with your VR business.

Artificial Intelligence

Science fiction authors have been predicting the rise of artificial intelligence for over a century, and it seems that functional AI is finally here. Though AI is not the sentient (and evil) machinery depicted in dystopian media, it has nearly unlimited benevolent applications, all of which promise to improve efficiency and perhaps generate better outcomes for the entire world.

AI businesses might produce AI programs for different businesses or industries; they might help train existing neural networks or create new systems that push the boundaries of artificial intelligence; or, as AI becomes more widespread, there might be demand for AI consulting firms, which help businesses adjust to the new technology.

Virtual Learning

In the cultural imagination, online education has evolved from somewhat sketchy to inescapable. Today, nearly half of all university students are enrolled in fully online programs, and tens of millions of professionals take individual classes or short courses to boost their skills or gain valuable certifications. The value of the global eLearning market is estimated to be well over $210 billion, and it is continuing to grow.

There are several business ideas that allow you to capitalize on the trend of virtual learning, from providing instructional design services to schools and companies interested in developing online courses to developing virtual homeschooling programs and more. You might want to engage with some eLearning yourself to develop a foundation from which to build your education business.

Co-working Spaces

During the pandemic and afterwards, the American workforce has participated in a mass exodus from employed positions and toward more autonomous, more flexible and more rewarding work. Today, experts estimate that over one-third of the workforce participates in freelancing, and that number continues to grow. Though many freelancers can work comfortably from home, many prefer to commute to a dedicated office space.

Thus, demand for co-working spaces could explode over the next decade as so many sole proprietors and micro businesses look for a simple, affordable place to work. You might look into getting a small business loan to acquire commercial properties for renovation into co-working spaces.

3D Printing Shops

The nature of manufacturing is changing. Thanks to the invention of 3D printers, more people are becoming adept at the design and development of bespoke products. Still, not everyone can afford a 3D printer — and not everyone has the space to keep one in the home — which means that many skilled engineers and artisans will be looking for other ways to gain access to 3D printing capabilities.

A 3D print shop is a potentially groundbreaking business idea. Like copy shops of the past, a 3D print shop might have various 3D printing tools and services for customers to take advantage of. Primarily, you might 3D print designs produced at home, but you could also offer bespoke design services in house.

You might make a good living off a basic business idea, but if you want to establish a legacy for yourself, you need to think bigger and look farther into the future. By considering rising trends and technologies, you can build a business that makes a difference for decades to come.