5 Interesting (and Successful) Small Businesses to Invest In That Aren’t Restaurants

Here's what to do with that extra cash you have lying around.

Someone like equity-firm director Gary Sernovitz might consider losing money in a restaurant to be part of the thrilling charm, but some people (maybe yourself) might want to invest in things that actually make them money or don't fail. Every good thing comes from an idea and every idea needs money. Here are five things that might make you money and make the world a better place!

Health Care!

It takes a lot of work to get any kind of medical certification and the dream is generally to open a private practice, usually in a community where the practitioner services a particular need that not many people consider optional. If you have to get braces, you get braces and the profit margins show. Before taxes, dentist offices make, on average, a 15.4% profit margin, outpatient care centers make 14.8%, and general physician practices make a solid 15.5%. Here's Modern Healthcare Magazine on more reasons why more and more people are investing in medical practitioners.

And you're also investing in an essential part of many communities and are in a place to use that profit margin to actually change people's lives.

Food Trucks!

While the brick-and-mortar establishments ebb and flow with vast amounts of money lost in between, their more mobile cousins have been shown to be more resilient. In fact, according to Josh Tang, founder of mobile food behemoth Mobi Munch, the failure rate for food trucks is only between 10 and 20 percent (compared to 60-90% for restaurants, with much geographical variety). With widely popular street vendors The Halal Guys set to become the 'Middle Eastern Chipotle' and minting out franchises and other studies predicting that food truck revenue will hit $2.7 billion by the end of 2017, it's time to hit the street with your hot cash.

Women-Focused Platforms!

With the results of last Tuesday's election still very much on our minds, people are already turning toward the private sector for the kinds of leadership and administration that people have good reason to believe a Trump White House and a Republican-controlled Congress will provide. Election results or no, both 2015 and '16 have been great years for companies geared toward that underrepresented half of the human race. Back in September, tennis superstar Venus Williams and Mellody Hobson, lesser-known investment superstar, invested big in the Finnish startup Ellevest, a digital wealth management service that focuses explicitly on the needs of female investors, taking into account factors like the longer life expectancy of women.

Also big: new health services and companies that are taking the taboo out of women's healthcare products. Companies like thinx, icon, and the flex have made a place for themselves in the marketplace by aiming directly at women and no one else. Investment, I'm sure, they'll take from anyone.

Hip Retail!

While foodie waves ebb and flow in an impossible-to-keep-track-of litany, retail is a bit easier to follow. But what's yesterday's fashion in New York and L.A. can remain popular in Midland, USA for decades! And there's no better time to get into the world of selling product like 2016: with the snap, the 'gram, and Pinterest still flowing, it's easier than ever for businesses to get oodles of free advertising that's just a click away from a purchase. And the money's there: the Dow Jones U.S. Retail Index has consistently outperformed the more glamorous S&P 500 over the past decade. People, at the very least, are always buying things.

Spot the next new thing?

Buy it!

Religion!

While investing in faith-based organizations may seem counterintuitive, Entrepreneur magazine writes, "being not-for-profit doesn't mean your goal shouldn't be." If you want a good place to invest good money that won't just be a sinkhole for operating costs, religious organizations are known to, on average, pull ahead and into the black. Last year, religious nonprofits netted, on average, a solid 12.41% margin. Not a bad profit for a nonprofit!

Any of these industries is a solid place to start for the investing beginner, or a good place to diversify for the investing pro.

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