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The Future of Small Business, Part Two

The Future of Small Business, Part Two


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. 

In Part two of our glimpse at the Intuit 2020 Report, the focus steers away from Demographics and the effect the changes of them in the next decade will have on your small business, and steers us toward Social Trends for the next 10 years. Social Trends are important to your business so you will know what your consumer and client needs before they do. Staying ahead of the game is what it is all about and social trends are a big way for you to change your business accordingly. It may be small changes that increase revenue and overall benefits to your success. One through five of this series was geared toward demographics so, with the report guiding us, we start off with number six.

In this part of the Report, it is stated that technology will transform communities. I am sure you are not only seeing it out of your window right now, but it is inside your own home. Your blackberry, your laptop, your tablet, your TV… technology has taken over our lives. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it is just so mundane to our everyday existence that we don’t necessarily notice how every aspect of our lives is consumed with microchips. It already affects whole communities, but in the next decade as technology becomes cheaper and easier to access, the social trends will start to depend on it even more.

6. Social networks will leave your aunt’s status update behind, and converge as a whole new medium. Politics and economics will depend on social networks to reach the people. These reaches will ultimately be used to make decisions on a civic level. Seems a lot to put onto your Aunt Milly, right? Think of the people that could be touched and the votes that could be encountered once Facebook goes political… It’s only a matter of time. It is true that more people spend time paying attention to their “farms” on Facebook than attending politically driven parties. To use social media for important decisions affecting our communities seems like the best way to go.

7. People will invest their time in their own locales as a way to tie family into their work. “Local economic development” will create new ties to the community. Yes, in demographics we discussed the urban trend increasing, but that was not to say impersonal trends were increasing also. It seems, according to the report, that personal is the new black. Since urban trends are the wave of the future, it seems there are no more dreams of making it to the “big city”. Little Martha Anne will just have to focus on her own community and make it bigger and better to fit her liking.

8. In the next decade what we knew was coming will arrive. Many have been feeling the heat for years but finally the government will take off its gloves and let us go by ourselves into this world. No longer will social support systems carry us, but things like healthcare and retirement will be our own burden. Growing up I was always told that I was paying social security now out of my own paychecks (I’ve been earning a paycheck since I was 15) but would never see it come to fruition. This is happening now, my friends. All of those years of hard work and my generation will never see a dime of social security. Seniors are living longer, doing more. Retirees a.k.a. Baby Boomers are sucking up all of our security. But, we knew it was coming. Just as New Orleanians have been joking for decades about the “big one” that turned out to be Katrina, my generation has been joking about social security. It’s like a pretty little myth we always read at bedtime. All of this just means that we will have to figure out our own retirement and insurance issues. We may be “shouldering the risk” but it is a risk we don’t have a choice but to take. I’ve been beefing up my 401K, I hope you have too!!

9. This next trend is really interesting. It states that consumers are becoming all-to-aware of the products and services that infiltrate their lives. Soon, customers will be seeking you out, instead of the other way around. This is a great thing for most. If you produce a quality product, there is no reason this should hurt your small business. It’s just another trend to become familiar with. When the balance does shift from your hands to your clients’, then quality will outweigh quantity. I hope you have been doing your homework because it seems your consumers have.

These social trends may seem small on paper, but in the next decade (out in the real world) they will change everything. It will be small and big changes and you may not even notice them until one day you read this article again and that AHA! moment will hit you. But social change is always expected, day to day and decade to decade. It is nothing to fear. As a small business owner you must stay ahead of your clients and consumers no matter what product or service you offer. Ahead of the game is mantra on this blog, but it is imperative if you don’t want to become the next MySpace of small businesses.

Part Three of the Intuit 2020 series will focus on a favorite in recession times, Economic Trends. Yay! Stay tuned…


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