Trends in Entrepreneurship

Sometimes I get the feeling that some small business owners open their businesses and expect the customers to find them.  Reminds me of the quote from the movie Field of Dreams: “Build it and they will come.”  This mindset will destroy even the small lifestyle business.  No longer a trend, but reality, building something with the customer is the only way to position a business for success.

So what are some trends for the coming year that the small business entrepreneur should be aware of?  I’ve collected a few trends from several industries and thoughtful resources.  Whether you are part of one or none of the industries here, jump the fence and recognize that whether its flying cars or robotic care givers being discussed as future prospects, the trends will affect you and your business.  Reading about trends can spark your own ideas.

Neil Patel on technology and disruptive innovation.

In this blog post Patel explains the differences between sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation.  You may think you are not in a business where you need to even understand “innovation”, let me assure you everyone needs to understand.  Innovation simply defined: The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. It is disruptive innovation that has challenged established industries, and turned some small businesses into innovative companies.

(the Harvard Business Review, January-February 1995 article by Bower and Clayton),

Airbnb was a small startup that successfully disrupted the established hotel industry, not with some unique technology but with only a few resources.

Patel’s major idea on trends is that connecting more resources into a network can cut costs for you while offering more benefits to your customer, and perhaps challenge the established industry.  Think of what URBER and LYFT have done for the ride-sharing concept. offers their trends expectations for 2018.  One particularly important trend for small business to be aware of is how the App “Instagram” has increased in popularity.  Instagram shares stories.  Everyone loves a good story. And it is the stories everyone remembers.  Storytelling has become the new paradigm in marketing. For a small business, share your story, with a genuine and sincere message, and you will find your customers feel connected to you.  As a humorous example, look at Dollar Shave Club’s commercial, available on Youtube,

Watch it and tell me if you know the problem experienced by the customer, especially when you look beyond the humor and listen to the story!

Forbes offers their perspective on how management styles have changed since the days I worked in corporate. I don’t know if I would call it a trend, because the change in thinking on management style is so prominent in business models. It is no longer Total Quality Management (TQM) but Total Experience Management (TEM). TQM is the management experience that integrates all organization functions to focus on meeting customer needs while also meeting the organization’s objectives.  TEM may seem the same, the customer is first, but it is the experiences the customer enjoys when interacting with you and your business that is paramount.

Not to overlook the Simon Sinek “It’s not what they do but why they do it” TED talk and books, we have come to see that the customers, are concerned with the business purpose and mission, and the business could do well when the business model is not financially-driven but purpose-driven.

The new buzz word in business? Empathy, and showing your customer they are the reason you exist but if you look at this as only a buzz word, then you are not purpose-driven.

It’s a worldwide concern that innovation is stagnated and the skills gap experienced in the current workforce translates into open positions, and nearly $1mil loss of productivity and growth.  The problem is a not just a major supply and demand issue but a call for action even to the small business owner to ‘reskill and upskill” its employees.

According to Gallup, 51% of currently employed adults in the US say they are searching for new jobs.  WHY?  Many people leave the jobs they love doing because of bad managers.  The best advice offered here is to help your talented employees grow with you.  And remind your employees what they can gain in remaining in your organization.

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