Prepping is an Untapped Market, Ripe for Entrepreneurial PickingAmericans are always looking for the next big thing, the next opportunity to change the world, with an invention, a new business model or just by servicing a population that is currently under-served. On shows like “Shark Tank,” often absurd business propositions fly across the room with no real potential for success.
Why? Many of the products are novelties, or luxury items, meaning they are not recession-proof.
If you’re looking for an entrepreneurial opportunity, find a niche that has consistent demand. Even in times of recession, and especially in times of disaster or potential disaster, the firearm and disaster preparedness sectors will survive or even thrive.
Preppers, as they are often known, are people who prepare for the unknown. They stockpile non-perishable foods and hone survival skills in the hope they can successfully navigate a major emergency. They range in seriousness, and some only prepare for the need to “bug out” for a weekend (helpful if you live in a hurricane prone area). Some are ready to live off the grid entirely, farming their own vegetables and hunting their own meat.
How Can You Serve This Market?
While preppers do need supplies like specialty non-perishable foods, water storage and camping supplies, these materials are widely available for sale online. You can, however, bridge multiple niches by becoming a gunsmith. Online schools like Penn Foster offer gunsmith training programs that can be completed in as little as three months. According to the school, a gunsmith “designs, builds and repairs firearms.” The proper maintenance and repair of firearms, whether functional or collectible, is a marketable skill that simply cannot be outsourced overseas or performed better online.
What Other Markets Can You Serve?
As a gunsmith, you can also serve active hunters and sport shooters, as well as firearms collectors. A well-run specialty shop with a knowledgeable and competent staff is infinitely preferable to shopping at a big box store that staffed with untrained workers.Antique and collectible firearms require special care to keep them in working shape while maintaining their value. A reputation for quality repairs and cautious handling of valuable goods will take you a long way.
Another market you can serve is a collector of unique or custom goods that are not yet antique. Much like the show “American Chopper” highlighted motorcycles custom designed for enthusiasts, you too can create custom pieces. A good ear to understand the customer’s vision, paired with an eye for design and solid craftsmanship, is needed.
How Can You Diversify?
With any business, you should diversify enough to create stability but not so much that you dilute your brand or baffle your customers. You wouldn’t, for instance, want to sell homemade apple pies in your shop. You could, however, add firearm safety or maintenance training to your repertoire. You could sell safety gear, ammunition, specialty clothing or accessories. Lastly, if practical, you might consider building a shooting range both for testing firearms and for recreation.