There are nearly 30 million small businesses in U.S. and another estimated 400,000 will start up in 2018. And thanks to technology, the internet, and social media, there are constantly new factors in play. Here are five trends to keep an eye on this year.
Hiring freelance help. While there are many perks to hiring full-time employees (loyalty, dependability and oversight are a few), the advantages of hiring an independent contractor are many. Maybe you only need extra help a handful of times each year, during surge times. Maybe you only need someone for peak hours each day — but not enough to hire a full-time employee. Depending on what type of help you need, you can hire freelance accountants, personal assistants, data entry specialists, computer and IT technicians and recruiters on Thumbtack.
Marketing to niche markets. Millennials and Generation Z (people born in the mid 1990s to early 2000s) don’t want to buy the same products or services that everyone else is buying. They want microbrews and artisan coffee. They want to support businesses that give back. And while it’s hard for a big business to cater to those desires, small businesses are uniquely positioned to take advantage of specialty markets and offer something very specific. It eliminates competition and allows business owners to focus their marketing efforts on one defined base.
Raising money through crowdfunding. Cash flow is one of the biggest factors in deciding whether or not to start a small business. Most businesses don’t break even (or actually make money) for a while after opening their doors. Instead of taking out loans or putting everything on a credit card, small business owners are using crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and Crowdfunder to raise money. Beyond providing cash and a low-risk start, crowdfunding helps create buzz in the months before you open, and can help you see how well an idea resonates with customers.
What trends are you seeing in your business? Tell us here.