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For a person that has a computer, an Internet connection, and a strong desire to start their own business, what are some prime opportunities to explore in 2017?

Jim FowlerWe have insanely powerful new technologies with AI and Machine Learning, and huge sums of data being collected that we can leverage to our advantage. In the 1990s, we needed to write millions of lines of code for software to accomplish simple things like booking dental appointments. If you look at all various areas of business served (from dental appointments, to lumber yards, and private airlines) by legacy software, and apply AI and machine learning, you can achieve a 2x improvement, if not more, over the existing software.
Jim Fowler, founder and CEO, Owler

Anyone with a computer and internet connection can start a business this year. There are plenty of free marketing resources out there (social media, blogging, free press releases, free website templates, etc.), all you need, then, is to have an idea that you can’t get out of your head. If you are truly passionate about something, turn it into a business. Once you lock down an idea, create a website, incorporate to protect your personal assets, file for a trademark and copyright to protect your intellectual property, and start getting the word out.
Deborah Sweeney, CEO,

Kimberly Lucas

With a strong internet connection and a computer, there are several pursuits worth looking into in 2017.  Become an eBay dealer – although that takes a bit of capacity for inventory.  Ghost-writing for company blogs, reviewing products and writing reviews if you have a gift for creative writing.  The internet has created boundless opportunity for remote working options.  Don’t let geography limit your opportunity for career success!
Kimberly Lucas, President/Chief People Connector, Goldstone Partners

Become a modern-day storyteller! Your local businesses are struggling to leverage traditional marketing tactics to tell their stories. You can be both a content creator (by interviewing these businesses) and a content distributor (via social channels and industry influencers). Content will reign supreme in 2017, but brands are struggling to deliver interesting content. Social media is home to a constant flow of short-form, disposable content. Enterprising entrepreneurs can immediately set up shop as content marketers and come to the rescue.
Dan Curran, Founder & CEO, PowerPost

The democratizing power of digital has never been more important — or more mobile. Entire businesses and their digital touchpoints can be dreamed up (via MindNode), prototyped (via InVision), and built (via Coda or Swift) on a mobile device. The past 10 years has diminished the gap between an entrepreneur’s vision and the tools to execute. Go out there, and make something!
– Shanon Marks, President, MU/DAI

When you think about business opportunities to explore in 2017, think small. Yes, I know that goes against the “think big” mantra that has become a business truism, but it’s likely where you’ll find the best opportunities for success. Trying to be the next Facebook or Google killer is admirable, but probably not in the cards for most of us mere mortals. It’s better to look for small niches to attack. Opportunities abound for every niche, topic, or hobby you can think of. Pay attention to the things you do regularly. Do you collect stamps? Do you use a pet groomer? Do you hike? Do you like going to the movies? There are opportunities for an exciting business in every product you use and in everything you do. So when you think about business opportunities in 2017, remember to think small.
– Bob La Loggia, CEO, AppointmentPlus

An easy entry point for a new business that has come up recently — thanks to advances in social media, the internet, mobile devices, and connectivity — is the shared economy. Finding ways to monetize existing assets, like Uber, Postmates, Airbnb, etc.
– Tom Alexander, Founder and CEO,  PK4 Media

The good news is that there are a ton of opportunities today that an internet connection makes possible! It’s easy and cheap to set up a very basic website with automated tools. I think some of the best opportunities out there involve consulting. And the best opportunities are what you know. Are you a great organizer? You can organize people’s homes. Can you cook? Maybe you can deliver freshly prepared meals to busy parents or businesses that want to eat healthy. The best advice I would give is to focus on what you know and love. There are always opportunities to offer services you might not have thought of selling before — the trick is to just get online and get out there!
Adam Levy, President, Magnet Solutions Group

I would first recommend you review your own skill set to see what kind of services you are in a position to provide and cross-reference that with online demand. The good news is that online-oriented work is no longer limited to tech disciplines; writers, consultants, lawyers, editors, administrators, researchers, tutoring, accountants, and a host of other services have shifted to the internet.

Once you’ve identified what to pursue, set up a website or some kind of page to provide details on your background and highlight your service offerings. Squarespace is an excellent, easy-to-use tool for portfolio sites like this. After setting up your web presence, you’ll need to find clients! There are a number of marketplace sites at this point where you can connect with potential business, although many are industry-specific and will require some research and experimentation on your part. One of the larger marketplaces that is always a good place to start is UpWork. While traditionally more tech-focused, it is open to all types of projects/freelancers, and the activity in non-tech areas has blossomed over the last couple of years.

Lastly, take advantage of geographical arbitrage if your life situation allows it. You’ll likely make less money in the beginning of your venture, and if you can operate from a location that has a lower cost of living (but good internet!) such as Mexico or Thailand, it can soften the blow in the early days.
Kevin Yamazaki, Founder & CEO, Sidebench

A computer and internet connection is the foundation any business in 2017, but they will do you no good if you don’t have a plan. While there are many things you could do, it’s best to focus on one thing at a time. Find a problem for which only you can provide the solution. By defining what your business will do and what it won’t do as one of the first steps, you’ll be able to put all of your focus toward making your business grow. Set goals for your business and celebrate hitting those milestones. That excitement will serve as motivation to continue your business, especially when you hit a rough spot in the beginning as many businesses do.

— Vladimir Gendelman, founder and CEO, Company Folders

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