You may not agree with his politics, but the swearing in of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States should have every entrepreneur salivating. The swamp in America’s economy is in fact being filled with billionaires who will put making money above all else. From schools to roads to energy and beyond, everything is up for sale. This is sure to be the friendliest administration to businesses of all sizes that you will see in your lifetime. While you may be upset about the politics of the Trump presidency, it is time to shift gears to get paid as an entrepreneur. Your own actions and results over the next four years will have a greater impact on your success or failure than any of the changes that might result from The Donald and his team.
Since the election, Trump has filled his cabinet and the positions close to him with people that have been termed “pro-business.” That is really an understatement considering most of the appointees are billionaires with the means and desire to drastically change entire industries and fundamentally reconstruct the way this country operates. And make no mistake, the changes will be for their profit and that of their close business associates. But there are still opportunities for everyone else as well. Rather than complaining about it, a more productive use of time and efforts will be to determine how you will profit as well, even if it is to lesser degree than the billionaires. As Paul C. Brunson says in his article “20 Successful Habits I Learned Working For Two Billionaires”, it is time to “Be Gritty” and “Be Patiently Impatient.” The time is now to create your business plan and get started!
After reviewing the Trump 100-day plan and digging into the backgrounds of some of his appointees, here are some business opportunities that will present themselves over the next few years in education, energy, infrastructure, prisons, housing, healthcare, politics, and more. Choose your industry, money is probably out there for the taking, you just have to do the research and work.
For Secretary of Education, Trump has selected Betsy DeVos. It only takes a few seconds of Googling DeVos to understand that her agenda will be to totally disrupt the public school system in favor of charter schools with public funds being used for private education. Here is a short background on the results that her efforts produced in the state of Michigan. Even though the results have not been very good, charter schools will be a plan that is pushed forward at a very rapid pace. The question for you should now be, “where are the opportunities?”
- Start a Charter School – This may seem far-fetched, but once you do some research you may be surprised. While this is not an easy business venture and will require some up-front capital, it can be tremendously profitable. That is the major reason for the push for charter schools: profits. It has little to do with providing a better education for students. It allows to schools to hire teachers at a lower wage than public schools can due to the absence of unions and then minimize what is provided to the students so that the owners and administrators of the schools can reap the profits. A quick Google search provides many guides and resources about how to start a charter school. Remember that you can start small and grow over time; the thought of opening a school with 1,000 students may be overwhelming, but opening a school starting with 50 to 100 students is much more reasonable and manageable.
- Meal Services for Charter Schools – If the idea of starting a school is more than you want to tackle, consider being a vendor for charter schools and providing some of the essential services that will be needed for their survival. One example is a meal service provider. Rather than hire the resources internally, there will be an opportunity to provide meal services to these schools through external vendors. The key to success will be providing quality lunches at a cost per student that is also a win-win for the charter school. If you can do that, this will be a partnership that will last and grow as most of the charter schools will likely be owned and managed by a small handful of companies. Forming and solidifying this partnership could lead to a lucrative business for many years to come.
- Bus Services – This will vary by state and by district, but most of these schools will need some type of transportation for their students. Some states still require the public school system to provide bus services for the charter schools, but in other areas it is up to the charter school itself. One thing to always keep in mind about charter schools is that their main priority is profit and providing a decent education is secondary. This means that if you can provide bus services at a rate that still allows the charter school to be profitable while still turning a profit for your own company then there is definitely an opportunity here.
- Student Recruiting Service – It might be more appropriately titled sales, marketing, or business development, but regardless of the name student recruitment is critical for the success of charter schools. Charter schools have a projected number of students needed to achieve profitability, and they need to reach this number typically very early in the school year before funds are allocated to each school based on student attendance. If you have any experience with marketing campaigns, student recruitment, or are very active in your local community with the ability to interact with a lot of people, then this could be a great opportunity for you. The key to success will be that your cost to acquire a new student is low enough to be worthwhile for the charter school. Your ability to recruit new students quickly and efficiently will determine your success or failure.
- Curriculum Development – Where some of the charter schools will need help is with a well-developed curriculum. Although many may already have a rough idea of how the school will operate, almost all of them will need someone to evaluate their existing curriculums against the new standards that will be introduced, while some will require full curriculum development. One key to success will be the ability to move quickly and develop a curriculum that meets all of the standards required by each state and the federal government while identifying all supporting resources and materials that are needed to implement the plan. This includes book selection, as well as electronic resources like promethean boards, computers, tablets, etc. Developing a detailed curriculum for charter schools will be a profitable business in the very near future.
- Staffing Services – As the charter schools are being established, they will have a need for teachers, administrators, and other school support staff. Someone who can efficiently vet applicants and provide the best and most qualified candidates will be in high demand for charter schools. This will include background checks, reference checks, and skills evaluation. Reducing the risk of a new hire for a charter school should lead to repeat business each year and a sustainable business for years to come. If you have any doubt that staffing services can be very lucrative, learn how Janice Bryant Howroyd Built the first black-owned billion dollar staffing agency.
- Security Services – In most cases, charter schools are opened in lower income neighborhoods because these are the areas where public schools are not meeting the required minimum passing levels on standardized tests. Today, particularly in major cities, there is a police presence at the schools in the inner cities. Charter schools that are also located in the inner cities will need to duplicate that police and security presence. This includes monitoring and securing the facilities, but also working on-site to help manage students. Charter schools will need the equivalent of what city police provide to many schools today.
- Lobbyist – There is a skill set and a background required for this opportunity, but don’t think that the public school system and its associated unions will go away without a fight. One of the reasons that charter schools can profit from education with the same allocation per student as public schools is because they typically pay their teachers much less than the wage at a public school. It also gives charter schools much more flexibility with their workforce than unionized staff at public schools. To prevent a total takeover by charter schools, public school supporters will fight to the end to prevent the expansion of charter schools. This will require a lot of lobbying of state legislatures and elected officials. The ability to influence state legislatures will help to determine how quickly and aggressively charter schools expand. This is an opportunity that is best suited for people with a legal background, but there are also creative opportunities for phone calling to constituents to help influence legislatures as well as targeted marketing campaigns to reach voters and legislatures in ways that are not typically used by lobbyists.
- Online Universities – You can almost guarantee that the rules for online universities will be eased after Donald Trump had to pay $25 million to settle three fraud cases against Trump University. The extremely high cost of traditional universities has made online universities more attractive, as evidenced by University of Phoenix being one of the largest universities in the country. While it is very capital-intensive to start an online university from scratch and build the brand needed for success, partnering with existing traditional universities that do not yet offer online classes could dramatically shrink the learning curve and shorten the path to success. This opportunity is suited to a very technical person or company with the resources to build a secure platform and manage a complex backend. This could be challenging to start, but could be very lucrative for years to come.
Trump has stated that he will roll back many of the energy industry regulations and work hard to make America energy-independent. The two areas that he mentioned specifically are oil drilling and coal mining. Obviously, these are mature industries and while there are opportunities to begin drilling, it is unlikely that most entrepreneurs have the resources to tap into these industries. The opportunities for the entrepreneur with less experience or less capital are in the support services around these efforts, such as restaurants, hotels, housing, and entertainment. Using Watford City, North Dakota as an example, there are many millions to be made where oil drilling is taking place. When oil was discovered in North Dakota, the area saw an immediate boom in population and wages. Jobs that formerly paid $12 were now paying $25-$30 and there was a lack of people to hire. With that understanding, here are the potential opportunities:
- Food Trucks – Not as lucrative, but owning a food truck near the oil drilling and coal mines could be very profitable, and not the fancy food trucks that are featured on the Food Network that offer specialty cupcakes and decorated waffles. The kind of food truck that will be most successful is the kind that offers cold sandwiches, possibly with a microwave, and a hot cup of coffee. The type of food trucks that are common around construction sites. The trucks that offer a little bit of everything and caters to a more rugged clientele. Those cups of coffee and cold sandwiches will add up quickly to be quite profitable.
- Property Managers – When the drilling and coal mining begins to happen, it will happen fast. This will cause an influx of people in a very short period with a very high demand for housing. In most locations where drilling and coal mining take place, these are not big towns with a large selection of available housing. The ability to learn the local town quickly and serve as a resource to local property owners can be very lucrative. This includes preparing properties for rent or purchase, as well as matching interested and qualified tenants with suitable properties.
- Hotels and Motels – If you ever had the desire to own a hotel, then building close to newly-found oil drilling and coal mines might be the time to move forward. Since the drilling is typically found in smaller towns, the existing hotel rooms are usually booked up very quickly and often leaves people driving long distances to neighboring towns in search of a place to stay. Now would be a good time to start talking to hotel chains and understanding how franchising works so that you are prepared when the opportunity arises. A conversation with a local Small Business Association lender might reveal that it will take less of your own money to open a hotel than you may think. And based on the demand, it should pay for itself very quickly.
Trump has stated that there will be massive infrastructure spending with private-public partnerships that reduce that amount of investment required from the government. The number that was stated in Trump’s 100-day plan was $1 trillion. If the spending is anywhere close to that level, there will be opportunities for profit.
One important aspect of these opportunities is that for most major road and infrastructure projects, there are mandates on what percentage of the bids should be awarded to minority-owned and women-owned businesses. This does not require your company to win the main bid, but to partner with a larger company that has already won the bid. It is more than worthwhile to pursue MBE or WBE certified status as it opens opportunities to work with companies that are looking for people to partner with.
- Subcontractor for Roads and Highways – While you may not have the resources and experience to rebuild a 20-mile stretch of highway, you could serve as a subcontractor for these companies and offer the services that they typically outsource. The contractors in your area will vary, but a good place to start is to look at the companies that are currently handling road construction in your area as they are typically the major players. In Chicago, it is very common to see Walsh Construction on road projects and their website lists several subcontractor opportunities. Another option would be Kokosing Construction who do not list their bidding opportunities on their website, but would be a good company to contact for details. There will be many other companies as the projects roll out and there is increased chance of success by contacting these companies and establishing a relationship as soon as possible.
- Site Cleaning – Often overlooked in construction project is the cleanup that is needed when the project is complete. This is a service that is very often subcontracted out and has a fairly low cost of entry which should make it attractive. A quick search of findRFP.com reveals 53 open opportunities, but this will increase as the plan rolls out.
- Environmental Services – Like site cleaning, but at a higher level, are environmental services. This includes waste removal and disposal, on-site safety, remediation, and assessments. This requires a higher-level skill set, but hiring an experienced team would be the jumpstart required for this opportunity.
- Portable Bathroom Rental – Needed at all construction sites are portable bathrooms. It is not as simple as dropping off a portable bathroom at the start of the project and picking it up at the end, but it is a business that can be understood quickly and implemented. Several people who have found success with portable bathroom rentals are Eliza Kendall and the Gordon family.
- Wall at the Mexican Border – If this happens, in addition to subcontractor services and the opportunities listed in the energy section, there will also be the need for security services, equipment transportation, and contracted labor.
Since Trump won the election and appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general, stocks of prison companies have soared. Add to that Trump’s statement in his inauguration speech that this will be a country of “law and order” and his support of “Stop and Frisk” while campaigning, it is not unreasonable to believe that there will be an increase in the prison population. Here are a few opportunities that might be worth pursuing:
- Stocks – Not entrepreneurial and you have missed the initial boom since election day, but this may be an easy opportunity. Stocks are risky, but the new president and his attorney general could possibly remove much of the risk of these stocks with their decisions in the next few months.
- Food Services – Much the same as with charter schools above, these prisons are for profit so their goal is to feed the prisoners for as little as possible to reap the benefits. The upside for you as an entrepreneur is that while there may only be a small profit in each meal, there should be a large enough volume of meals to make it worthwhile. While some of the major catering companies are already serving these prisons, it is likely more prisons will be opened which will present an opportunity.
- Prison Guard Staffing – With the increase in prisoners will be the increase in demand for prison guards. The process of finding, vetting, and training prison guards is time consuming and can be expensive. Developing a streamlined process for finding employees and preparing them to be prison guards could be beneficial to the prisons and profitable to you as an entrepreneur. The increase in prisoners, prisons, and workload will leave officials looking to outsource lengthy processes such as recruitment and staffing and that is the service you would be providing to the prison system.
This list first appeared on blackentrepreneur.com. You can read 21-38 here
Hopefully we ALL make the best under a Trump presidency by getting as much money that is available to us to get. Don’t sleep!