Top 10 Small Business Trends for 2013
Below is our sixth annual Top 10 Small Business Trends list. Last year's trends and links to our trends lists from prior years are available here.
Our overall economic outlook for 2013 is for continued moderate growth with U.S. GDP increasing 2.25% to 2.75%. We expect hiring and the job market to continue to improve with unemployment falling and finishing the year in the 6.8% to 7.2% range.
1. Big Data for the Little Guy: Big data is big news these days. Yet much of the discussion has been about how big data will help big businesses. But the data and analytics revolution will also benefit small businesses. 2013 will see rapid increases in the number of small businesses using powerful yet inexpensive cloud-based data and analytical tools. These systems will deliver meaningful insights on customers, markets and competition and will also improve bottom-line business results. This trend comes from our work with Intuit on The New Data Democracy.
2. Smartphones, Tablets and the Cloud Rule the World: The growth of smartphones, tablets and cloud computing – and their impact on business – is hard to overestimate. In 2013 small businesses will need to do more than just make their websites mobile device friendly (few currently do), they will need to re-think how they operate and serve customers in a world dominated by mobile and cloud computing.
3. The Solo Support Industry Grows Up: 2013 will see the continued growth of products and services designed to make it easier for solopreneurs and the self-employed to start and operate their businesses. Expect more niche online marketplaces like Elance and Task Rabbit to connect independent workers with the organizations looking to tap their services; more educational programs and government support for starting and operating a self-employed business; more services and tools to help manage a solopreneur business; and more coworking and solopreneur-oriented commercial workspaces. We borrowed this trend from the 2013 Future Workforce Trends from our friends at MBO Partners.
4. Small Business Hits the Road: One of the most interesting findings from our food truck research project is how quickly other industries are discovering the advantages of taking to the road and going to their customers. We expect this form of “mobile commerce” will take off in 2013 as personal service firms, retailers of all kinds and even industrial firms take advantage of the lower costs, increased flexibility and high levels of customer satisfaction that mobile business provides.