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The Future of Small Business, Part Three

The Future of Small Business, Part Three


The Intuit 2020 Report is a look at 20 trends that will shape the next decade for small businesses in demographical, social, economic and technological standards. Although it was released in February 2011, many small businesses do not have the time or simply do not know where to look to gather this type of helpful information. For an in depth look at the report and how it was developed, has all related reports and materials

Part three of our look into the 20 trends of the Intuit 2020 report focuses on a favorite in times of recession, economic trends. It is true that these difficult financial times will result in the next decade improving the economic business model to minimalist standards. Small businesses must change. The boom of the 90’s does not apply and although we have frequently discussed technology’s impervious status to fluctuating markets, things like employees and even materials, shipping and products themselves will inflate your current business model. So, let’s get this show on the road with the next decade’s economic trends for small businesses!!

10. Developing countries have a lot of people that reside in them. The keyword here is “developing” and all that that implies. Resources, exports and the like will be a big draw in a new financial market and will be taken advantage of. These new states that used to be third-world, will find themselves in a middle class situation. Small businesses cannot afford to overlook this “global middle class” and will find themselves marketing toward them. Things are not so cut-and-dry regionally anymore, as the U.S. is not a power house necessarily and is cutting the pie more thinly these days. Other countries want a piece too and, according to the report, they will get one in a big way.

11. Starting a new small business used to be a rich-or-ruin venture. Not anymore! Minimalist business models and modest start-up cost will greatly reduce the personal cost of starting up and even running a new small business. A big part of this is cheap technology. One example is an iPad with a credit card swiper that allows even the artist on the street to accept Visa and MasterCard. Another or an add-on would be the rage nowadays, and that is simply starting your business online with no need for a rented space or unneeded employees. This is what I mean by minimal. During a recession, cutting the fat will mean a lot of new things. Methods of every aspect of the business world will change and become smaller and easier, from the way we order to the manufacturing and even the delivery of the product. This new model is not a bad thing and can even end up better for you, the business owner. 

12. Is “being green” really just a trend? Not according to the report it’s not. It will become a “competitive requirement to reduce your carbon footprint” as the owner of a small business. Regulations and taxes will surely help you in this endeavor. As the economy bounces back, resources will be strained and prices will increase. There will be more population, pollution and an overall lack of supplies. “Being green” isn’t just the new thing, it’s the only thing.

13. Another smart trend, and one that we all have been feeling the pressure of for the last few decades, is the trend of health and wellness. Not only being and feeling healthy, but the way it will affect your financial model. In short, health and wellness will be the largest economic industry in the world. Seniors are not stopping anytime soon and increases in other chronic illnesses from pollution, will send the health and wellness field up, up and away. Yes, high-tech procedures and equipment do not come cheap, but when these uses are expanded, they will be. A large part of this is due to a health-conscious society. It’s like the exercise boom of the 80’s, multiplied by a hundred!!

14. It is strange, but I do like the term “flexible workforce”. That is what the next trend focuses on. The lack of the normal work hours and pay will develop into a contingent force, such as free-lancers. This does flow with the previous trends we have discussed, such as a lack of institutional insurance and retirement packages. No 9 to 5 here, minimalism ensues with more efficient workers, pay and hours.

15. Originality among small businesses is a game-changer. This will be the trend, also, for the next decade. Consumers will demand it. Unique products and services will be in-demand, but more importantly, easier to deliver. With the help of the internet and social networks and reduce-cost tools, these “niche markets” will find their way into everyone’s lives. New ideas have always helped small businesses, but now it will direct them in a way that is different from every business model since the beginning of the industrial age. Far from the assembly lines and mass-production of factories, minimalism (I know, that word again!) will really make its impact in the production phase.

16. Large corporate giants will eat mid-size businesses. It’s a fact that you see every day in your “financial” section of the paper. Google just bought Motorola and AT&T is trying to buy T-Mobile. These acquisitions will not change overnight and the fatties will keep getting fatter. According to this trend, though, the winner is you. Small businesses will flourish. With “niche” products and services to cheap start-up costs, small businesses win out, hands down. The “mid-size” company’s business model doesn’t work anymore. In the next decade, the costs will be too high and the demand too small for a mid-size business with mass production of products and services. The same could be said for large corporations, but the difference is the different products and services that they offer. It’s like comparing a local restaurant chain to Johnson & Johnson, which sells over 200 different brands. It’s a completely different monster, but, not one that you will be worried about. While they are busy with billion dollar mergers, small businesses will be more than happy with original ideas, cheaper methods and (hopefully!) larger profits.

Except for the business model, I do not thing so much will change in the next ten years. Big businesses will stay big and small businesses are already seeing so much change. The things that do not stay the same will not be big BOOM! changes, but simple day-to-day differences that you will not notice right away. But that is how life works. I hope reading this article will give you the heads up that your business needs to what? STAY ON TOP OF THE GAME!!!

Part four, and the final part of this series, will delve into one of our favorite subjects on this blog… Technological trends of the next decade!! I won’t give too much away, but as you might suspect in this minimalist future, technology rules.

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