Top 10 IT Consulting Business Opportunities

Over the past 20 years, IT consulting has become one of the largest industries in the world. Everything is now connected to the Internet, and nearly all businesses require substantial information technology networks in order to conduct their operations. For competent IT professionals, there are a number of profitable opportunities that exist as it relates to starting and expanding a business. In this article, we are going take a look at the top 10 business opportunities that exist in the IT consulting and general IT services market.

General IT Consulting

One of the best things about owning and operating a general IT consulting firm is that these businesses generate highly recurring streams of revenue. Most businesses usually contract with an IT consulting firm to develop their networks, maintain database systems, upgrade software, and ensure the security of these networks. These businesses are able to remain profitable and cash flow positive at all times given that they generally bill their clients directly via credit or debit card. Even in more rural or suburban markets, IT consulting firms are able to operate with a large number of small business to medium-size business clients.

Cloud Application Development

As more and more people use a number of devices to conduct their business operations, the cloud has become the most cost-effective way for an individual or business organization to manage their information. One of the nice aspects of developing a firm that focuses on cloud applications is that these businesses, much like general IT consulting, are able to produce recurring streams of revenue from these operations.

These businesses are able to develop substantial revenues from the initial development of the application while enjoying recurring revenues from the ongoing maintenance and upgrading of this technology. Once a client is secured for this aspect of operations, they will typically stay with the firm given that they have a substantial understanding of their developed cloud technology.

IT Training Services

As many large organizations use both in-house employees as well as third-party contractors for these services, many IT consulting firms have taken on the role of tutoring and providing education as a relates to people that will be directly managing installed systems on a day-to-day basis. In fact, IT training is one of the fastest-growing segments of the overall information technology market. As such, a strong ancillary revenue stream for an IT consulting firm is to provide these services to clients that use the company’s services on an ongoing basis. These revenue streams can be substantial, and some firms charge much $1,500 per employee for properly training them on how to use and manage installed network systems.

Remote Assistance Services

Given the ubiquitous nature of information technology, many IT firms will often act as a outsourced service desk for employees that have specific issues with their work computers. One of the best aspects of this, but like every other aspect of IT consulting, is that monthly fees can be charged to small, medium, and large scale businesses that have an IT consulting firm operate on a remote basis in order to manage support tickets. Due to the the constantly changing nature of technology, many firms feel that it is economically advantageous to use a remote help service desk in order to fulfill employee support tickets.

IT Security Consulting

There is hardly a week goes by where it is it announced that a major corporation has suffered a data breach. While many hackers typically target larger corporations and financial companies – any business that has their networks connected to the Internet is a potential risk for having their systems intruded.

As such, one of the most profitable aspects IT consulting is by rendering security services that include penetration testing, WiFi security, database security, and other protocols that ensure that a system can remain nearly safe at all times. IT security consulting businesses typically generate very high per hour fees for providing the services to their clients.

Website Development

Although it is usually uncommon for an IT consulting firm to maintain a web development arm, this aspect of operations can be just as profitable as any other aspect of information technology management. Nearly all businesses maintain some form of web presence, and as such, the demand for comprehensive web development is substantial.

In many cases, IT consulting firms will often act as a general contractor and outsource the actual development work to a qualified third-party. One of the important aspects of these operations is that companies that will frequently use a business for the web development needs will also use them for their IT management needs as well. Many smaller and medium-size businesses always want to work with one company as it relates to these types of operations.

IT Product Sales

Although most of the revenues generated from information technology consulting and management are from services, almost all businesses need to acquires computers, servers, monitors, and related peripherals for their installed networks. Often, given the myriad of products that are available, many small to medium-size business owners will often pick products that do not exactly suit their needs. As such, IT consulting really businesses can generate substantial secondary revenues by selling the specific products are needed to develop a full-scale network. Generally, the markup over the direct cost of inventory ranges anywhere from 30% to 50%. This can be a substantial additional revenue center for these types of businesses.

Network Architecture Development

For many large-scale businesses, it is very difficult to have internal staff maintain a multi-site network. By providing comprehensive planning specific for network architecture, medium to larger scale enterprises are able to operate their diseases much more effectively.

It should be noted that network architecture services are typically something that is only done by a highly qualified and certified professional. As such, integrating network architecture design and development services into an existing IT consulting firm can be a lucrative secondary or tertiary stream revenue. These fees are typically billed on a per project basis.

Onsite Assistance Services

Over the past 10 years, many people have turned to on-site assistance as relates to managing their IT needs. During outages, system failures, and other issues that may arise from operating a IT infrastructure, many business feel that it is imperative to have an individual or business that is contracted that will come to the location to remedy any issues at any time. Typically these fees are charged in a per hour basis, and monthly retainer may be required in order to maintain a service agreement contract. Generally speaking, only large-scale businesses typically require this type of attention given that they store substantial amounts of sensitive data.

Internet-of-Things Product Development

More and more companies are seeking to develop proprietary products that can be seamlessly connected to the Internet. One of the challenges that these businesses often face is the connectivity issue as there are a number of protocols that must be addressed in order to have any specific device be able to communicate with other devices via the Internet. Product development can be a very profitable sideline for an IT consulting firm that has a substantial understanding of the Internet of things (“IoT”) and how devices communicate with each other. Product development is also one of the types of revenues is typically done on a per project in per hour basis.

Hemp Farm SWOT Analysis

Since 2018, the production of hemp has now been legalized within the United States. The key strengths for the hemp farming and hemp cultivation market is now the incredible demand (with CBD products as the primary driver behind this growth). The gross margins generated on a per pound basis are substantial. These farms and cultivation businesses can achieve profitability very quickly once their first harvest has been completed. One of the other key strengths for hemp farming is that it is relatively easy to do as compared to other types of cash crops. Given the strong demand (and now complete legality of hemp cultivation), most financial institutions are willing to provide substantial capital injections for farmers and entrepreneurs that want to enter this industry.

As it relates to weaknesses, the primary issues faced by these businesses are two fold. First, there is now a tremendous amount of competition as it relates to number of producers growing hemp. Venture capital firms and other private funding sources have been a three-fold spike in the number of farmers seeking capital to develop large scale hemp producing enterprises. This competition will eventually push down the prices of hemp (for both flower and hemp biomass sales). The second issue regarding these businesses is that they have substantial operating costs (including facility expenses, land leases, irrigation, and processing costs). The other weakness faced by the business is that there are high operating costs related to distributing raw and processed hemp to third party wholesalers, retailers, and dispensaries.

The opportunities for hemp farming businesses are substantial. First, many farms seek to produce their own CBD products, which carry substantially high gross margins. Second, many hemp farms will often seek to produce crude hemp oil (which as numerous purposes) from their hemp biomass. This can be a substantial secondary stream of revenue for hemp farms and cultivators. The continually changing regulatory and legal framework of this industry will continue to allow hemp producers to develop new revenue streams over the next ten years. One of the other major opportunities that hemp farms enjoy is their ability to process their hemp onsite (for flower and oil), which produces substantial profits for these businesses on a monthly basis.

For threats, these businesses will face downward pricing pressure as more and more farms produce hemp as a primary or secondary crop. It is very rigid and grows in most climates. As such, a new hemp farm operation should prepare for downward pricing once this now nascent industry becomes more mature. Now that the legal issues surrounding hemp have been remedied, this fast growing industry is expected to triple over the next five years. The other threat faced by the businesses may come from the improper production of hemp, which may fall outside of the currently permissible legal framework for this crop.

Bitcoin Trading and Mining Business Plan

1.0 Executive Summary

The purpose of this business plan is to raise and examine the allocation of $225,000 for a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading business located in Philadelphia. Bitcoin Trader, Inc. (“the Company”) will be actively engaged in the buying and selling of digital currency (both long term and short term strategies). The Company will also use a number of computer nodes in order to generate ancillary streams of revenue from mining digital and cryptocurrencies. The business was founded by John Smith. Revenue generating operations will commence in 2020.

1.1 Operations

As stated above, the principal revenue stream will come from the ongoing acquisition of digital currencies for capital appreciation purposes. The business will also use trading strategies that provide short-term yet consistent profits on a day-to-day basis. Regarding the pricing of crypto currencies and digital tokens, the founder sees a substantial opportunity to generate ongoing profits by examining the market and making appropriate investments on both a short-term and long-term basis.

On a secondary basis, the Company will be actively engaged in the mining of digital currencies. This will consist of acquiring large inventories of computers – equipped with high-powered processing systems (CPUs and GPUs) – that will allow the business to generate income by processing transactions on block chain ledgers. Unlike the trading business, the Company will be able to generate ongoing profits by providing this service. A substantial portion of the capital sought in this business plan will be used for the acquisition of computers that can allow the business to cost-effectively engage in the mining of digital currencies.

1.2 Financing

At this time, the founder is seeking $225,00- in capital in order to commence revenue-generating operations. The terms of this investment are to be determined during negotiation. The funds will be used for the following:

Capital for treating it coin and related digital currencies

Acquisition of computer equipment for digital currency mining

General working capital

Office development

The next section of the business plan will further discuss the usage of investment funds.

1.3 The Future

As time progresses, the Company will make continued and sustained investments into the businesses operating infrastructure. Given that the business will operate within exchanges of digital currencies, there is no need to create a marketing campaign and less the business decides to accept funding from third-party investors that want to use the company for digital currency trading.

2.0 The Financing

2.1 Use of Funds

Below is a breakdown of how the $225,000 of capital will be used:

Use of Funds Table and Chart
Use of Funds Table and Chart

2.2 Investor Equity

This will be discussed during negotiations

2.3 Management Equity

Mr. Smith anticipates that he will retain 50% ownership of the business once the capital in this business plan is secured

2.4 Exit Strategies

In the event that management finds it financially prudent to do so, a qualified business broker or mergers and acquisitions focused investment bank will be hired in order to manage the sale of the business to a third-party. Although this is a nascent industry, be price-to-earnings multiple for a digital currency trading firm typically ranges around 2 to 3 times the previous year’s earnings.

3.0 Operations

3.1 Buying and Selling of Digital Currencies

The primary focus of the Company’s operations will be on the acquisition of popular digital and cryptocurrencies that will allow the business to profit once the price of these instruments increases. The business will use both long-term and short-term strategies in order to provide daily profits, which will be smaller, as well as larger long-term gains.

Given the prevalence of digital currencies, the founder sees a substantial opportunity to invest among a number of different types of digital currency asset classes with the intent of producing capital appreciation. The business may also use options and short selling techniques to profit from declines in these currencies.

Digital currencies traded by the business will include BitCoin, LiteCoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Libra.

3.2 Digital and Cryptocurrency Mining

A strong secondary aspect of the company’s operations, as discussed in the executive summary, will come from the ongoing mining of digital currencies. This is an important revenue stream for the business given that it will provide highly predictable streams of daily income. The business will spend approximately $2.5 million (leased) on computer equipment that can process block chain ledger transactions. For providing the service, the business will receive digital currency that can then be converted into traditional US dollars. The revenues generated from this aspect of operations will generally finance the entire operation the business.

4.0 Market Analysis

4.1 Economic Analysis

Currently, the worldwide economy is going through a continued growth spurt. Although unemployment rates have declined sharply and asset prices have increased substantially – worldwide interest rates remain relatively low. It should be noted that the revenues generated by the Company will be relatively immune from negative changes in the economy. This is due to the fact that the business will be engaged in open market transactions, and as such – the business will be able to remain profitable and cash flow positive at all times.

4.2 Industry Analysis

Although this is a nascent industry, there are approximately 200,000 people and companies that are actively engaged in the trading and mining of digital currencies and cryptocurrencies. Each year, these firms generate approximately $8 billion in fees as it relates to these operations.

 It should be noted that there are now a number of major investment banks that have developed trading desks as well as options exchanges specific for a number of different types of digital and cryptocurrencies. This trend is expected to continue in perpetuity as the prevalence of digital currencies as a form of payment becomes more prevalent.

4.3 Competition

Given that there are now more than 200,000 firms actively engaged in the trading and sale of crypto currencies, it is very difficult to determine the competitors that the business will face moving forward. The company will need to engage in a number of best practices in order to ensure that it remains on the forefront of technology related to digital currency trading and mining. The Company will reinvest a substantial portion of its after-tax profits in order to ensure that it’s infrastructure is state-of-the-art.

5.0 Marketing Plan

As the business will be engaged in open market transactions, the Company will not need to maintain a formal marketing plan or advertise its operations to the general public. However, as the company develops a strong track record for engaging in digital currency trading – the Founder may seek to acquire capital from third-party investors that can be managed by the company.

This would require a substantial marketing campaign that specifically targets qualified and accredited investors that are able to properly place funds with the Company for this purpose. In this event, Bitcoin Trader, Inc. will hire a qualified advertising firm as well as a law firm to properly develop advertisements that can be shown to prospective investors.

6.0 Financial Plan

6.1 Financial Assumptions

The Company will acquire $5 million in capital in order to engage in the activities outlined in this business plan

The Company will have a annual revenue growth rate of 20% per year in each of the next three years

Bitcoin Trader, Inc. will settle most short-term payables on a monthly basis

6.2 Financial Highlights

Profitability in a positive cash flow in each year

Assets that are highly liquid in the digital currency exchange market

6.3 Sensitivity Analysis

The Company’s revenues are not sensitive to changes in the economy. The business will employ tactics will that will allow the business to generate profits regardless of whether the prices of digital currencies are increasing or decreasing. Additionally, the business will maintain a very low cost infrastructure that will ensure that any short-term losses will not impact the company’s ability to operate on a day-to-day basis

6.4 Source of Funds

6.5 Profit and Loss Statement

Profit and Loss Statement

6.6 Cash Flow Analysis

Cash Flow Analysis
Cash Flow Analysis
Cash Flow Analysis Image
Cash Flow Analysis Bar Graph

6.7 Balance Sheet

Balance Sheet
Balance Sheet

6.8 Breakeven Analysis

Breakeven Analysis
Breakeven Analysis

6.9 Business Ratios

Business Ratios Chart
Business Ratios Chart

Assisted Living Facility Industry Analysis

Assisted living facilities are rapidly growing given that many Baby Boomers are now entering the later stages of their lives. Several market studies indicated that nearly 50% of all people over the age of 65 will require some form of ongoing living assistance as they age. One of the best aspects of operating an assisted living facility is that these businesses’ revenues are relatively immune from negative changes in the economy. These companies are able to produce revenues directly from residents (or their families) as well as from private insurance companies and publicly funded healthcare systems. The month to month charges for a resident typically ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 depending on the level of care required by the resident. Many assisted living facilities are also integrating memory care services into their operations in order to treat residents that suffer from dementia or progressive neurological disorders.

Within the United States, there are nearly 50,000 locations that provide assisted living services. Each year, these businesses generate nearly $190 billion of revenue. It should be noted that these revenues do not include services that operate within a resident’s home. The industry employs over two million people (including both medical and general facility staff). The growth of the industry remains around 2% per year, which is expected to remain stable over the next twenty years (again, as a function of the aging Baby Boomer population).

One of the common trends within this industry is to have a number of specialized medical personnel on staff in order to render specific medical services to residents of these facilities. This can drastically boost the billings of the business given that these fees are often paid by private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. Larger scale assisted living facilities retain a medical director (a physician) in order to provide consultation when necessary for a resident that has a specific medical issue.

Given the increasing level of competition among assisted living facilities, many of these businesses have begun to offer a broad spectrum of amenities in order to differentiate themselves from other market agents. This includes providing specialty meals as well as transportation services to local destinations (so that residents can enjoy time outside of the facility). Transportation services are important to residents that still maintain modest employment (among residents that are younger, able to work, and want to retain employment).

Overall, the industry outlook for the assisted living facility is very strong. The increasing age of the Baby Boomer population is continuing to increase demand for comprehensive in-facility services. This trend is expected to continue indefinitely especially as families have become busier, and cannot directly care for an elderly individual on an ongoing basis.

HVAC Contractor Industry Research and Analysis

Very few people can complete repairs on their own heating, ventilation, and air conditioner systems. These services generally can only be provided by a competent and licensed contracting professional. Although the bread-and-butter of HVAC contractors comes from the installation of new systems, these businesses are always able to remain profitable and cash flow positive from repair and maintenance services. Additionally, for commercial and industrial buildings – many state and municipal building codes require that these systems are inspected by a licensed professional from time to time. This lends to a great degree of economic stability for these businesses. Additionally, HVAC contractors enjoy readily available access to capital given that they can always generate profits from repair and maintenance services. Most financial institutions are willing to provide nearly all of the necessary capital in order to get these businesses often the ground (or for expansion purposes).

As it relates to the size of this industry, there are approximately 110,000 companies that are actively involved with HVAC services. The industry employs more than half a million people. Each year, the industry generates nearly $100 billion of revenue.

The growth of this industry has remained strong over the past five years given the strong demand for new housing (as interest rates have remained low). In each of the last five years, industry growth has remained above 2%. It should again be noted that even in times of economic recession – the industry remains profitable (although with flat revenue growth).

One of the common trends within the HVAC industry is to aggressively use online platforms in order to market these services to the general public. Almost all contractors maintain a proprietary website coupled with a moderate scale presence on social media platforms. As it relates to social media (with a focus on FaceBook), these businesses are able to develop profile pages that can feature reviews from prior clients. This is important given that many people will seek honest reviews on these pages. One of the other trends is to join independent review platforms such as Angie’s list in order to further boost the visibility of the business. Over time, positive reviews from these platforms can be an invaluable source of revenue for HVAC contractors. Many HVAC contractors will also engage in a regional search engine optimization (or “SEO”) campaign in order to ensure that their proprietary websites are frequently found in search results. Although this type of marketing has high upfront costs, the results can last for several years if this is carried out properly. Most companies outsource this type of work to a qualified digital marketing agency or web development firm.

Overall, the industry outlook for the HVAC industry is strong. Interest rates remain low, and many homeowners are taking advantage of low cost borrowing in order to upgrade their systems to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Many HVAC contractors maintain relationships with specialized lenders so that these systems can be financed by home and property owners. There are numerous companies that act as a financing partner for contracting businesses. Additionally, new housing demand remains strong (again, as a function of low interest rates). As such, the demand for new system installations by real estate developers is consistent.

It should be noted that one of the best features of the industry is that HVAC contractors can scale down their operations during difficult economic conditions. This allows for a core focus to be shifted to profitable maintenance services.