Where are you looking for opportunities?

After a busy three weeks in my home town – Bangalore (called as the Silicon Valley of India) I am returning back to my home in the “real” Silicon Valley. The trip was insightful – personally and professionally. My talks were well received. I was also able to connect with a lot of my old friends. The IT and software business is booming. When I was reading an inflight magazine (in a local flight) there was an article where the author was talking about the boom. I believe there was a sign board in front of one of the large companies – “Trespassers will be recruited” 🙂 should give you an indication of the kind of demand for the business.

However, IT is not the only thing thats booming in Bangalore. Just out of curiosity, I asked around to see what else is clicking. I have listed 25 of them here:

1. Recruitment
With the demand for people on high gear, recruiters have no trouble in getting new clients. The problem is finding (or poaching) talented people.

2. Training
Several large companies have their own large training infrastructure. However, thousands of other companies rely on people getting trained outside. The other reason is the attraction of people from other professions into software – many of these people start in with a training program.

3. Plug-and-play office spaces
When people want to expand, they want to expand NOW. Ready office spaces are in huge demand and command a big premium

4. HR outsourcing
Again, lots of small and mid-size companies can’t afford a large HR infrastructure.

5. Serviced apartments
Making it easy for companies to get high-level executives settle down quickly. Costs are comparable to rental of a luxury apartment in the US

6. Medical checkups
Medical checkups and screenings of potential candidates are common

7. Verification services
There is no social security number here. To verify and validate facts there are services that start from $15 per candidate

8. Catering services
IT companies want people to focus on their work and not worrying about where to eat. Catering services are booming.

9. Transportation
My friend Naveen says, in Bangalore, speed is usually in “hours per mile” and not “miles per hour.” So when you are in Bangalore, it is common to see a lot of company buses in the morning and in the evening. Also, this is almost mandatory for call centers that operate round the clock.

10. Vehicle leasing
Direct consequence of point #9. Transportation companies are prefering leasing over buying.

11. Home tuitions
If both Mom and Dad are working, kids are not getting help they need. No problems – there is help outside and you can get teachers to come to your home and teach your kids.

12. Real Estate services
There is a frenzy in the real estate market. In many cases, both buyer and seller pay the commissions. Also, the same property can be marketed by a few brokers. So, the competition is huge over there.

13. Travel agencies
You will be amazed from how far people are traveling to work 🙁 There is not only commute, there is also a huge boom in domestic travel.

14. Hotels
Hotel accomodations are pricey. Thats one problem. The bigger problem is rooms are not available even if you offer to pay more than the rack rate.

15. Paying Guest (PG) accomodations
This is the latest craze. It is not uncommon for a 3 bedroom apartment to have 10+ people comfortably living.

16. Counseling services
Work and life pressures are at the max. People are looking for help everywhere – books, magazines and finally counseling services

17. Infertility clinics
I don’t know whether people really don’t have time 😉 or this is a true problem. I heard that there is a big spike in the number of software professionals seeking medical help there.

18. Old age care
This is another virgin territory and while the culture is shaken and stirred by this development, people are coming to terms with it (very) slowly.

19. Fashion
Most global brands are here and people are become more conscious on what they wear and how they wear what they wear.

20. Food
You can get all varieties of food at all budgets. A dosa (something like a crepe) can cost a few cents or a few dollars depending on where you eat it.

21. Resorts
Or getaways. They are a booming business. Since you don’t have time during the week, one option is to spend a fortune to drive out of the city to a resort to enjoy. Again, you can get resorts of all classes and themes.

22. Construction
I thought its hard to find a good carpenter in the bay area. Over here, it is impossible to find a good one. Everyone in the construction industry is booked.

23. Interior decoration
Ambience has become a priority and experience has become a distinguishing factor. Creative interior decorators are in huge demand.

24. Landscaping
Same argument as #23.

25. Meeting joints
Starbucks and Peets are common in the US. Here, we have “Cafe Coffee Day” and “Barista.” Prices are comparable to US.

Let me stop here and make a point. I agree there is a mad rush to go out and start an IT company and join the rat race. The temptation will always be to do what everyone is doing. “Since so many people are already doing it, it must be right” is what we think. But if that is not your cup of tea, you don’t have to feel left out. There are enough opportunities in the surrounding areas and some of them may be more profitable than many IT companies out there. The question is “Where are you looking?”

It is the same everywhere in the world. When there is a huge growth in one area (in this case IT) there is bound to be growth in several other areas. Only a few areas will get media attention and buzz. The idea is to think before you blindly get caught into a mad rush.