Whether it’s the technology that’s changing or consumer tastes evolving, there are some trends that every entrepreneur should put into practice. You may be a seasoned entrepreneur or just getting started, but either way, the business landscape has a way of rapidly changing shape so the further ahead of the curve you are, the easier it will be to navigate.
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a challenging year for many businesses, especially those small businesses that fall into the 31% rendered non-operational as a result of COVID-19. For other businesses and entrepreneurs, it was a challenge they were able to meet by restructuring on the fly, and the good news is that upcoming generations of entrepreneurs are reportedly more likely to start a business.
As we prepare for a new generation of entrepreneurs entering the market, it’s important to note the emerging trends that will help keep your business running smoothly among the 520,000+ new businesses created in the US each month.
Here are the trends to look out for:
The number of niche markets is increasing due to consumers demanding more unique, personalized, products. This is apparent throughout many industries where we can see customers spending more on specialized products. Some examples of niche markets are meal plans, eco-friendly products, and shapewear. Each of these markets has businesses that offer highly focused products, like vegan, keto, or vegetarian meals, or simply eco-friendly versions of everyday products.
Find the specific gap in your broader target market that you can cater to with a unique product. You can find more examples featuring niche markets here.
The subscription-based model has really taken off in recent years and it’s a trend that won’t be fading away any time soon, with a reported estimated worth of $10.5 billion by 2025. The steady revenue promised by subscription-based businesses has proven to be successful for many businesses compared to sporadic or irregular sales. They’re also easier for customers to manage.
Subscriptions have a wide range and it seems like most products or services can be remodeled into subscriptions. For example, there are streaming services, meal plans, gym memberships, styling services, pet food, etc. If it makes sense for your business to offer subscriptions, don’t hesitate.
Consumers are doing their research when committing to a product or service, and if they aren’t, they will most likely see any negative publicity circulating around social media. Ethical brands are preferred. Your operations should make a positive impact in your community and the more ethically sourced materials you use, the better. People, more specifically, millennials, are more conscious of where they are spending their money and will pay more for a product they know comes from a company with high ethical standards.
One of the first pieces of information you should be getting from your target market is emails. Leverage your email list to follow up, promote, and offer rewards. Here are some of the best practices for email marketing. The control you have over your email list is what sets it apart. Unlike social media platforms, you can easily segment, and rest assured the right information is reaching the appropriate audience.
Just as you should focus on niche markets, micro-influencers have proven to be invaluable. They may have a smaller following, but that’s what sets them apart. They have built loyal followers who trust their reviews and product recommendations. These make perfect sense for the small business owner.
Interested in how to grow your business using influencer marketing? More on that here.
Mobile businesses, such as the food truck industry, are gaining steam with an estimated $2.7 billion worth. With a diverse workforce and plenty of minority-owned food trucks, this industry has really made a name for itself. You pay less for overhead costs and can relocate based on demand. Some successful restaurants even offer a food truck across town or in a different state altogether to capture more revenue.
While food trucks easily come to mind when thinking mobile business, there are plenty of others, such as pet grooming, transportation, salon, professional organizer, technology repair, and catering.
Specialized Skills Demand
A jack of all trades still makes for an impressive business owner, but more and more entrepreneurs are honing a specialized skill and outsourcing other tasks so they can focus fully on what sets them apart. We see this with the rise of virtual assistants and independent contractors. If possible, hire an assistant and redirect your energy to maintaining your competitive edge.
The remote workforce has grown by 400% in the last ten years. Even before a global pandemic, business owners were realizing the benefits of working remotely. With the right team, the productivity and performance of remote workers exceed that of staff working on site. This results in less turnover, less overhead, and better engagement.
You can downsize your office space or even take advantage of a shared workspace, like WeWork.
Real-Time Customer Experience
Consumers expect, or at least highly desire, for businesses to be available 24/7. The sooner you’re able to respond, the better. This is where small businesses have a tough time meeting demand. However, it’s also where there is an opportunity like chatbots and FAQ sections to keep customers interested until a representative can speak with them directly. An organized and cohesive website can make all the difference.
The Future for the Entrepreneur
The waters may look murky at the moment and some entrepreneurs may hesitate to get going until the dust settles, but the truth is that people need entrepreneurship now more than ever. If not for the innovation, then for the job creation.
As Barbara Corcoran, business woman and entrepreneur, says “You can’t study to be an entrepreneur. Sometimes, you just have to jump”