Great Expectations

Journey's Beginning

As it goes, virtually anything can happen in the coming days to confirm or deny our experts' predictions. Yet the possibilities behind our educated conjecture remain genuine. So what exactly will 1998 hold for small business? Of course, no one can answer precisely; the story, as yet, remains untold.

But a look into the recent past supports a promising outlook for the weeks and months ahead. For those tracking the trends, experts predict health care will continue its dominance of the business landscape--thanks to an aging population with access to substantial disposable income. Homebased businesses should also continue their rapid growth. And outsourcing, the cost-effective alternative for large corporations and small businesses alike, will continue to nourish the country's independent contractors.

The good news is that the businesses reaping profits today can be found in all types of industries. "We don't see a particular industry focus," says Birch. "We find rapidly growing companies in all sectors of the economy, in proportion to the number [of them] in the economy. Entrepreneurs are having a field day."

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