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Shaping Small Biz in 2013

Shaping Small Biz in 2013
Shaping Small Biz in 2013

Alex Brophy investigates four trends that will re-shape the way small business is run this year and into the future...

The small business landscape is ever evolving as new technologies, markets, challenges and ways of operating constantly force us to rethink the best way to do business. In 2012 the big one was the acceptance of mobile technology into the mainstream as smartphones and tablets gained serious traction. The effect was to link consumers and businesses closer to the online world than ever before, especially with the development of location based services. While this will continue to influence central aspects of how we do business in 2013, we’re tipping a few other trends to get a grip on the small business scene. 

Funding From The Crowd
 funding is still in its relative infancy as a source of small business finance, but with a range of platforms setting up to facilitate the process it’s ready for serious expansion this year. If you’re a bit late to the party, crowd funding is just sourcing finance from a broad public audience, or ‘the crowd’. But instead of paying investors back in coins, businesses offer small gifts like goods, services, or, less commonly equity in the business. To give you an idea of the magnitude of the movement, industry experts are predicting over $6 billion worth of global successful crowd funding projects to get off the ground this year alone.

Data Driving Business Decisions
The huge amount of information gathered on consumer trends means it is no longer prudent to make business decisions without stats to back it up. And with analytics on everything from sales platforms to social pages so widespread and easily accessible, it’s an area set to gain prevalence on the small business scene. One click to check the age and location of your Facebook group, two clicks to see how people are finding your site, and a simple switch of tabs in sales software to find where your next customers will come from. It’s inexpensive and powerful, and it’s going to drive a huge amount of strategic small business decisions.

Outsourcing exploding
There was a time when outsourcing was considered a dirty word, but this is definitely no longer the case. There are so many freelancers out there ready to bid on any task you can imagine, saving small business owners admin and allowing easy access to top shelf talent in any area. It’s been a gradual shift to date, but as more small business owners appreciate the benefits of embracing outsourcing and appreciate that it is very much the future of operations, it will quickly gain momentum. And with this dynamic way of doing business so accessible, small businesses will get smaller, but there will be many more of them. In 2013, outsourcing will explode.

Smart small businesses leverage off existing and new relationships to take their brand further, sharing space, marketing capital, advertising initiatives and creative resources. The main incentives are efficiency and expansion. Co-branding saves money, time and opens up new audiences to your products and services. As online and physical networks introduce small businesses more frequently, the opportunities for co-branding will become bigger and more blaring that ever. With this, the smart businesses that embrace co-branding will be the big movers in 2013.
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