There has been a dramatic influx in small business owners and first-time startups over the last few years. People ditching traditional career paths in favor of pursuing their professional dreams.
The pandemic has been a major driver. However, numerous market trends have also spurred this growth in entrepreneurship, which will likely continue into 2022 and 2023.
Let’s take a look at the latest entrepreneurship trends to pay attention to over the next few years.
1. Working from home and hybrid work
Remote work was once seen as an option for a select few industries. The pandemic revealed that many people could work successfully from home, especially those in IT-related businesses.
These days, lots of entrepreneurs work exclusively or mostly from home, as do many entrepreneurial ventures with small workforces. This is a benefit for many startups. After all, it eliminates a major expense by not having to pay for office space.
That being said, many organizations are trying to shift their employees back to the office. Not every employee or business owner wants remote work as a long-term option. Nor is remote work a suitable option for every kind of organization either.
This is why we will likely see most businesses embrace a hybrid work model. Employees and contractors will retain the flexibility of working in a remote location. It will also encourage in-person collaboration for more exploratory or hands-on work. Potentially providing the benefits of both remote and in-person, while removing the drawbacks.
2. Mobile optimization
Companies that want to succeed online need to begin or increase investment in mobile optimization. The mobile version of their online stores must be easy to navigate. It should reflect the capabilities of the desktop version, and ideally, work consistently between the two.
Just remember that being present and optimized for mobile is only one part of the overall equation. You need to be optimized and consider user experience anywhere.
3. Increased diversity in the workforce
Diversity is increasing in the workforce like never before. No longer is the professional and entrepreneurial sphere relegated to men, for example. Women make up a large proportion of working-class professionals and even entrepreneurial leaders. In large part thanks to major societal shifts.
Furthermore, many entrepreneurial companies employ diverse workforces of people from many races, creeds, and religious faiths. This is a great thing, and it ties into profits at the same time. Millennials are more likely to shop at places they know are appropriately diverse and dedicated to social justice.
There is undeniably a revitalized focus on diversity, especially from the consumer perspective. However, there’s still a struggle to make businesses and their respective hiring practices more diverse as well. Businesses that truly embrace it will:
- Develop more well-rounded teams.
- Have a better chance of hiring the best employees.
- Ideally, help make the business landscape truly diverse.
But those that fain diversity or ignore it entirely in favor of outdated biases will become left behind.
4. Niche market service
At the same time, many companies are specializing in offering increasingly niche market services. Why? Simply put, lots of people want to be unique.
Therefore, companies are changing their brand identities, taglines, and even offering products to provide niche, specialized things for their target audiences. You can even see this at fast-food companies that claim that customers can order food “their way”.
Bespoke options are now the name of the game. Especially for eCommerce businesses or online markets such as Etsy. Simple things like adjusting your email marketing message with a personalizing a greeting are just the baseline.
Having options to create a personalized product or even add a name or color can be incredibly worthwhile. Consumers want something unique that most people will never get their hands on.
5. The rise of the gig economy
It’s no surprise that the gig economy has risen in tandem with all these other trends. The gig economy relies on front-line or working-class employees. People constantly moving from gig to gig, always chasing another payday and working for clients on a per-job basis.
Businesses like Uber and DoorDash have proven the profitability of this business model. One where they technically don’t employ anyone but which connect independent contractors with customers.
Whether this is a good thing is up for debate, of course. But there’s no denying the influence the gig economy has had on the workforce. Freelance websites such as Upwork are just the start. They now allow individuals with in-demand skills to advertise themselves, build brands, and essentially run their own businesses.
As more and more workers feel empowered to pursue new endeavors, the need for gig economy platforms will continue to grow. However, the expectations from those that leverage them for work will also increase. There’s an increased willingness to step away from poor working conditions. This means current and emerging gig-economy services will need to step up in how they treat contract workers.
6. Long-term cash planning
More entrepreneurs are looking into long-term cash planning for their budgets. Rising inflation alone is pushing entrepreneurs to ensure their cash remains solvent and stable. This includes investing in long-term growth initiatives or commodities associated with your business. While it may be an upfront cost, it encourages long-term stability and insures against rising expenses.
It’s similar to taking out a life insurance policy. Which requires individuals to pay more initially but save money as they get older. To that end, lots of entrepreneurial companies are investing in their employees, retirement packages, and so on. As a bonus, this is also ideal for attracting top talent across industries.
7. Subscription-based businesses
Subscription-based businesses have exploded due to the pandemic. As lockdowns began in 2020, many people turned to these online purchases initially for safety. According to a recent study by McKinsey, 49% of shoppers currently use a subscriptions service. However, the added convenience is expected to continue stimulating continued growth.
With these businesses, clients rarely purchase or outright own the products or services they use. However, they get constant management support, tech help, and other benefits by subscribing to the ongoing oversight of a company. For items that they do own, they’re locked into a monthly membership that may include exclusive items, discounts, etc.
These can be broken down into three types of subscriptions: replenishment, curation, and access. It involves the likes of streaming services, SaaS companies, and more traditional physical retail items like food, beauty, and apparel.
Adapting a subscription-based business model is a major focus for most established businesses moving forward. Consistent revenue, better engagement and brand loyalty, and increased customer value are all major benefits. However, it will take investing in excellent service and online infrastructure to be truly effective.
8. Eco-friendly business practices and products
Millennials and younger shoppers are increasingly concerned with the health of the planet. They tend to shop with brands that make a show of being eco-friendly or practice green product manufacturing standards.
Entrepreneurs are paying attention to these business trends and are dedicated to reinventing their companies to be more eco-friendly. That may require changes such as:
- Auditing and adjusting business partnerships.
- Investing in green initiatives for the office like solar panels or emission standards.
- Donating a portion of profits to green initiatives and non-profits.
- Providing incentives to employees for participating.
Keep in mind, that you don’t need to make all of these changes overnight. However, it’s worth outlining how to integrate these practices into your business within the next five years. Consumers are beginning to care more and eco-friendly practices are here to stay.
9. Social commerce
Social commerce is where a business sells products directly on social media, and it has risen into an $89.4 billion market. Product or brand discovery, exploration, potentially engaging with micro-influencers and finally purchasing. It’s all done on social media platforms.
It’s designed to remove friction with your customers and be present where they are most engaged. However, there are often specific requirements to participate meaning you’ll need to grow your social following. This may require you to focus more on social media as part of your digital marketing strategy.
Thankfully, it’s an investment that will likely pay off. This market is expected to grow past $735 billion in sales by 2025. More and more people are using social for product research. Plus, if you want to attract a younger audience—social media is the place to be.
If you’re not or barely using social, now is the time to start. You’ll likely be surprised by how cost-effective it is and how well it integrates with other business operations.
10. Crypto acceptance
Cryptocurrency has evolved far beyond a short-term fad. Bitcoin and other crypto coins are now incredibly popular thanks to the ease of selling and buying them. Now, more companies than ever are accepting cryptocurrencies at their online stores.
This has several important benefits, including:
- The ability to accept money from anywhere in the world
- The ability to hold currencies that aren’t overseen by a national government or bank system
- The ability to accept more customers at one’s online store
All of these benefits may make crypto tokens very attractive for eCommerce enterprises. Businesses generally make more money as they offer more payment methods. So this trend will likely continue, with more options emerging, for some years to come. The only major drawback to consider is increased government scrutiny over this payment model, which may hamper adoption.
Take advantage of these trends for entrepreneurs
Some of these trends may feel familiar. Things like mobile optimization, working from home, and environmental considerations have been brewing for years. Others, like subscriptions services and crypto acceptance, have seen new life due to the pandemic. Regardless, it’s becoming natural for consistent entrepreneurial trends to take hold and see consistent growth for years at a time.
While all of these current trends in entrepreneurship may not directly impact you, they’re worth keeping in mind. Having a better understanding of the overall business landscape can better prepare you to successfully start a business. As well as make it easier to strategically navigate your current business through these changes.