It’s that time of the year, when all the trends for the following year come out… soothsayers, psychics, and data crunchers alike are helping to predict and guide you through what the new year is about to bring. But, what I find important is that understanding trends is relevant to building and growing a great business. With technology leading the way, the trends continue this year from last year, only it’s at an accelerated pace. Clearly, technology has dramatically changed the way we do business, the relationships we manage, and speed with which we can create and bring a product or service to market so you MUST adapt to that.
I’m particularly fond of the top trends from Entrepreneur Magazine for two reasons: #1- There’s a direct application to how you can leverage the trend for your startup success; and #2- I’ve seen, from multiple sources several of these trends percolating, which means that Entreprenuer has done a great job distilling the insight. I believe that the biggest trends to think about are:
1) Big Data: With technology evolving at lightening speed, there is more data than ever circulating in the cloud, out of the cloud, or in the library. All things- from pollen counts to tagged Facebook photos- become bits of data and moves online, that information needs to be catalogued, managed and analyzed. This can help fuel new product development in all facets of life from manufacturing to taking tests since there will lots of data to crunch and help customers make decisions.
2) Domestic Manufacturing: There has been a rise in domestic manufacturing. Partly, it’s due to feeling good about “made in America”. However, with the advent of 3D printing (on demand manufacturing of basic household plastics and items from buttons to toasters), highly skilled labor, lower production costs, manufacturing in this country is super appealing. Businesses can customize more quickly and can provide superior customer experiences.
3) Funding: Crowdfunding is only gaining in popularity with a proliferation of new online platforms to facilitate funding of new ideas. These platforms are making it easier to raise capital to fund and grow new businesses. Right now, these platforms are donation based only, meaning that you can’t receive equity. However, the saavy entrepreneurs know that this can be a great way to give away future products or services and secure a potential customer based in advance of a product launch (think of this as pre-selling.) The SEC is even considering legislation to allow crowdfunding for equity (more to come on that one).
Think about these trends for your startup as you plan for 2013. What trends can you leverage to your benefit?