The Hot List

Helping Seniors & Kids

Nonmedical Health Care
Years on the list: 4 out of 20

Tomorrow's forecast? Gray. According to the Census Bureau, 13 percent of the population will be over the age of 65 by 2010. By 2030, the figure will jump to 19.6 percent. Many older people want to remain in their family home as long as they can, so savvy entrepreneurs are rushing in to provide a range of nonmedical home care services that help them age in place. "We call this 'pre-assisted living,'" says Val Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice in Washington, DC. "You help people perform the simple functions of daily living and don't let them get so run down that they wind up in assisted living or the emergency room."

The biggest obstacles to breaking into nonmedical home care are often the seniors themselves, who are reluctant to acknowledge their needs. "You have to have a staff that's trained to work with seniors and help them become comfortable with the choices you offer," says Andrea Cohen, 48, co-founder and CEO of HouseWorks in Newton, Massachusetts. With projected 2006 sales of $10 million, HouseWorks provides personal care assistance, companionship, home modification, cleaning and relocation services. --K.O.

To find out how to start this business, read the complete article here .

Transition Services
Years on the list: 2 out of 20

Even though many seniors want to live in their own homes as long as they can, others need or want to move on to one of the many residential options ahead. That transition is often a daunting one, though, leaving many seniors and their families reeling from the challenges. "There are often difficult family dynamics," says Steven Weisman, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, elder law attorney and author of Boomer or Bust. "Sometimes the children have competing interests. Sometimes they're half a continent away and need someone on location to help meet their parents' needs. This is a chance for entrepreneurs to do well in this area while doing good."

After working as an assisted living administrator, Bryan Neal, 34, saw so many problems with seniors on the move that he started Assisted Moving LLC in Plymouth, Michigan. "There are often 50 years of accumulated possessions in [their] homes," says Neal, whose 3-year-old company projects 2006 sales of $225,000. "Families call and ask if I'll be the villain, because mom and dad don't understand why everything can't go into the new place." Neal's company has a systematic downsizing plan complete with software showing the dimensions of the new home. Once the seniors see what will really fit, Assisted Moving helps them decide what to pass on, holds estate sales to sell other items, discards unwanted items and moves what the seniors keep into their new homes. --K.O.

To find out how to start this business, read the complete article here .

Kids Incorporated

Education and Tutoring
Years on the list: 5 out of 20

Colleges keep getting more competitive, and parents want to give their children every possible edge. Add to that the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires schools to provide tutoring services if their programs don't meet performance standards, and you have a solid market in education and tutoring. According to data from Eduventures LLC, an educational market research and consulting firm in Boston, revenue in the tutoring, test-preparation services and supplemental content industry for kindergarten through twelfth grade grew 6 percent in the 2004-2005 school year, reaching $21.9 billion.

Online tutoring, a $115 million market, is one of the hottest areas, especially for high school and middle school students, notes Eduventures senior analyst Tim Wiley. Selling tutoring services to schools is also sizzling, though Wiley notes entrepreneurs in this arena should be prepared to meet all the local, regional and state school requirements. For grades three through eight, reading and math tutoring is always in high demand, but look to science tutoring as a growth area in the next few years. Preschool education, too, is expected to grow exponentially, says Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute of Early Education Research at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey--especially as more states mandate preschool for all children.

Carving out a niche in this market is Marc Stelzer, 41, co-founder of the Learning Breakthrough Program in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. His developmental and learning program helps children age 6 and up with academic, cognitive and even motor skills. Marketing the product online ( www. learningbreakthrough.com ) as well as through therapists and professional associations, Stelzer expects sales to reach $600,000 in 2006--his first year in business. --N.L.T.

To find out how to start this business, read the complete article here .

Sports Education
New!

Kids' sports--from baseball and soccer to basketball and volleyball--are hot, and entrepreneurs jumping into the sports education field are scoring big. With so many parents wanting to help their kids excel in their sport of choice, there's a big market willing to shell out good money to train young superstars-to-be. Just ask Ivan and Sherri Shulman, 44 and 46, respectively, who founded The Sports House in Houston. The all-inclusive sports training company boasts two facilities with camps, clinics and daily sports classes. It even hosts parties.

"[There's] something about sports I learned a long time ago," says Sherri. "A plumber is going to spend the same amount of money as a cosmetic surgeon to make [his or her] kid better." They're spending so much, in fact, that 2006 sales for The Sports House are projected to hit $1 million.

Getting into the market takes skill, notes Sally S. Johnson, executive director of the National Council of Youth Sports in Stuart, Florida. She's noticed an increase in sports interest across the board--especially in organized youth sports--and suggests startup youth-sports trainers get training. NCYS offers administrative courses for youth-sports professionals, while the American Sport Education Program offers specialized coaching training as well as many other online tools for coaches. --N.L.T.

To find out how to start this business, read the complete article here .

Kids' Cooking
Years on the list: 2 out of 20

Americans' interest in cooking has drizzled down to the nation's kids. From cooking classes and kits to full-fledged cooking parties, this still-hot category even includes kids' cookbooks in the recipe for success. "The awareness has risen," confirms Julia V. Jordan, president and founder of Spoons Across America, a New York City organization that provides food and cooking education programs to schools and community organizations nationwide. "There's much more of an interest [in] having children learn the skill of cooking."

And entrepreneurs like Barbara Beery, founder of Batter Up Kids Culinary Center, are stepping up to teach them. Batter Up Kids started out offering cooking classes, but today the Austin, Texas, business also retails cooking kits and cookbooks written by Beery, with annual sales of about $465,000. The interest has been so strong, in fact, that Beery, 52, started franchising her concept this year. According to Beery, "[Cooking] is a life skill, and if we didn't present it in a fun format, kids wouldn't want to keep coming back."

Whether a kids' cooking business takes a recreational bent or a more serious one, like teaching children about health and food preparation, the key, experts say, is to keep it fun and age-appropriate. Even kids as young as 2 can participate with doughy, cookie-type foods. Tweens are a great entry point into the market, as are simple cooking parties. Jordan suggests looking to regional food trends for what's hot with kids in your area. --N.L.T.

To find out how to start this business, read the complete article here .

Teen Party Planning
New!

Blame MTV's My Super Sweet 16 for showing teens nationwide the extremes the super-wealthy go to for a child's coming-of-age soiree. American teens, who number more than 70 million, want what's hot at their parties--from bar and bat mitzvahs to sweet 16s, quinceañeras and other coming-of-age rites. Whether you start a new specialty, add teen parties to your existing event planning business, or specialize in peripheries like security or entertainment, teen parties have an angle for everyone.

Party planner Marley Majcher, 37, who founded Pasadena, California-based The Party Goddess! Inc. in 2000, suggests walking the fine line between making teens happy and making their purse-string-holding parents even happier. "You have to be a really good listener and see yourself as a liaison," she says.

To succeed, bone up on trends. Majcher, whose company brought in $1 million this year, notes that lounge setups are in vogue for teens. Because music and entertainment are paramount to any teen shindig, hooking up with hot DJs in your area can help you break into the market. And you'll definitely want to market in areas with high disposable income. --N.L.T.

To find out how to start this business, read the complete article here .

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This article was originally published in the December 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Hot List.

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