Times are changing fast – and business trends are changing even faster. Topics such as cloud computing, “green” business and mobile devices are top of mind for many small business owners and entrepreneurs. Small businesses are exploring how to take advantage of these new trends and tools and successfully incorporate them into their small businesses.
In this special episode, Anita Campbell, the host of Small Business Trends Radio, provides listeners with her top 10 list of trends driving small business, six of which she discusses in detail. To accompany this special episode, a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation was prepared titled, “2010 Small Business Trends and Opportunities.” Download the visual presentation and follow along as Anita discusses her picks for the current trends driving small business.
Below is a sampling of 6 of the trends Anita discusses:
- (3:12) It’s the Cloud, Stupid - Cloud computing is a term that refers to software applications and tools that “live on the Internet” – or “in the cloud.” Google’s popular email system, Gmail, is an example of cloud computing. It’s an email application that is hosted “within the cloud.” Cloud computing is an increasingly popular form used for software applications such as accounting software, collaboration platforms, data backup services, email services and more. Cloud computing offers a reduction in complexity and can be very beneficial to your business. Speed, cost and efficiency are the true benefits. Even better – you don’t have to eat up precious memory by storing the software on your own computer.
- (9:29) Do It Yourself Marketing Grows – “DIY” tools can be accessed over the web. These are tools that help you perform one or more of your marketing tasks better – by yourself. Google Adwords, Constant Contact and PRWeb are examples. DIY tools give you a lot of leverage and save you a lot of money. Anita explains, “You get a lot of capabilities from these tools that would be very expensive and would cost a lot of money to duplicate if you did this on your own.” But she warns, “You’re only as good as your knowledge of the tool. Unless you can master them, you won’t get everything out of them that you hope to. Pick and choose your tools wisely and make sure master them to get as much value as possible out of them.”
- (15:18) The Color of Business is “Green” – Anita explains, “There is a very large segment of the population that is committed to sustainability and will look for that in their service providers.” However, not everyone has the same level of commitment to “green.” Keep that in mind and realize that it may not matter as much to some – as it does to others. However, Anita warns to steer clear of the practice of “green washing,” a term that relates to a business with “green” claims or techniques that really doesn’t have a strong commitment to the cause. In other words, their claims are purely for public relations purposes.
- (17:36) Everyone Can Be a Celebrity – Personal branding is important today. Anita states, “With so many blogs and social media sites, everyone can have a presence online. Your name can become very well-known with enough time and enough attention.” It’s important that people recognize you. Take a lesson from some executives that use their personal brand to promote their businesses - Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV.
- (20:55) The “Carry Your Computer” Trend – It’s no secret, computers and cell phones are getting smaller and smarter while becoming more portable. They seem to be morphing into one universal form. As Anita stated, “It may be a long time before a computer becomes as small as a cellphone, but there’s no doubt that’s the direction we’re going.” Some 80% of the population have a mobile phone – but 80% of the population does NOT have a computer. Anita suggests that you, “Install a mobile template on your website. Use the Mdot mobile domain structure for a full mobile web site and begin building a text message list because 96% of them are opened.”
- (24:07) Location Based Presence Online – “There are now more and more online applications, as well as mobile applications, that tell the world where you are or provide information to you based on where you are.” Google Latitude and FourSquare are two examples. Small businesses are figuring out ways to get involved by providing loyalty rewards in the form of discounts and coupons to customers who sign up.
To see all 10 of Anita’s chosen trends driving small business, download the visual presentation titled, “2010 Small Business Trends and Opportunities.”
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