Small Business Trends for 2010

The Trends in a Nutshell

No. 1:  Human-Centric Businesses

Business used to be about companies.  Now its about people.

No. 2:  Collaborative Markets 

Markets are no longer about selling to buyers, but collaborating with them to develop better and more sustainable solutions.

No. 3:  Sustainable Communities

Organizations of people are evolving from exclusivity to inclusiveness.  This creates more sustainable communities where members place their trust in each other.

What do you see for your business?


The Evolution of this Perfect Storm

All of these trends are simultaneously converging to create a perfect storm of opportunity for businesses, especially small or entrepreneurial business that are characterized as having personal relationships with customers.

If you go back to the late '50's and early '60's, there was an emerging technology that changed the world of marketing.  That technology was television.  In the midst of an expanding post-World War II economy, middle class consumers embraced television.  Television had reach.  People had discretionary income.  And all of this created a new era of consumerism that helped make many brands household names.  

Television was a marketing technology that made everything more expansive by bringing it to a larger stage, and that fit perfectly with the growing economy.  What followed was a love affair with the automobile, highly stylized fashions, and countless consumer products guaranteed to make your life a dream!  Those companies were at the right place at the right time to capitalize on the converging trends of the day. Needless to say, some of those industries and companies are faltering today.

Human-Centric Business is Local

If you are an entrepreneur, YOU are now at the right place at the right time.

The technology that is transforming the business environment in your favor is social media marketing. It is giving everyone a voice at a period when people have gone through some tough experiences.  They want to move forward, but it is still uncertain where this economy is going.  Until that happens, they are looking for people to trust.  This means they are going to be doing business in their local communities.

This is why every Fortune 500 corporation has a presence on social media.  They know that business is going local.  They are seeing how social media is leveling the playing field to create equal opportunities for every company. In a nutshell, they want to be more like you.

Your challenge is to be who you are, a human-centric business that is willing to reach out even further than you already have.  Social media is a tool that is ideally suited for that, and most significantly, it's influence is sustainable.

What's the next step?  Collaboration. 

This morning I am presenting these trends to a group of green industry CEO's here in AL.  I'm sure our collaborative time together will generate rich insights.  I look forward to sharing them with you on parts 2 and 3 of this series.

Until then, leave a comment and tell me what you are seeing?

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  1. Jeff…this is a great post, very thought provoking…how can the association community connect and help facilitate these trends? Let me know your thoughts

  2. Brian – Whoa – you ask mega questions.:) Let me give it a try.

    The first step with this is awareness. It has to be a process that requires education, and that is what associations do well.

    Entrepreneurs need to understand that there isn’t one size that fits all, not that there ever was. I’m not even sure if that model will work well for too many organizations in the future.

    The trick is being able to look at those calm waters and see the storm in time to adapt to the trends. Entrepreneurs should be able to do this very easily – for the most part they are already there.

    Where are your members now with social media? If the rate of use is low, it may be helpful to take a “bottom-up” approach and start with a discussion of community. That I continue to discover is where most entrepreneurs are very comfortable.



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