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Monthly Archives: December 2016

5 Trends Fueling Big Growth for Small Business

Propelled by access to new technology, a changing workforce and easier opportunities to reach a larger audience, small business growth is expected to skyrocket in the coming years, new research finds.

According to a study from Intuit andEmergent Research, the number of small businesses are projected to increase to 42 million by 2026, up from this year’s 30 million. The 3.3 percent annual growth rate over the next decade is significantly higher than the 2 percent average growth between 2004 and 2014, the most recent data available.

While the number of small businesses will grow over the next decade, their size is actually getting smaller. The research found that the average size of small businesses dropped by 20 percent between 2001 and 2014. Specifically, in 2001, the average small business started with 6.5 employees. In 2014, the number shrank to just four employees.

“The next few years will see an acceleration in the number of small and micro businesses, thanks in large part to new technologies that reduce the costs and risks of operating a small business and open up access to customers around the world,” Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research, said in a statement. “While running a business is always going to be tough work, economic and technological changes are making it easier and cheaper to start and operate a successful small business.”

The study’s authors highlight five key reasons that will not only fuel the growth of small businesses, but will allow them to compete with big businesses like never before.

  1. Top-notch technology: Small businesses now have the ability to build sophisticated business and technology infrastructures that previously were only available to large companies. Cloud computing and manufacturing and distributing capabilities are now available with a cost structure that allows small businesses to scale up and down and only pay for what they use.
  2. Deeper insight:  Access to insightful data is giving small businesses the capability of gaining deeper customer and business insights. Access to machine learning has taken away much of the complexity of data analysis, which allows small businesses to make faster and better decisions.
  3. The on-demand workforce: By the year 2020, freelance workers are projected to represent 43 percent of the workforce. This gives small businesses access to the right people at the right time in a flexible way, without the responsibility of hiring traditional employees.
  4. Online marketplaces: Online outlets are giving small businesses the ability to not only sell more niche products and services, but also to extend their reach to millions of customers that they previously never had access to.
  5. Affordable advertising: Online advertising has made it cost-effective to connect with customers worldwide. For a fairly low cost, small businesses can deliver their targeted messages, whether it be a sponsored photo or in-stream video ad, to a whole new audience.

“This next decade will be the decade of the small business,” said Karen Peacock, senior vice president of small business at Intuit. “Industry-shifting trends like lower-cost, scalable infrastructure to start and grow your business, the ability to build a team with amazing on-demand talent, and data that helps you fuel your business and delight your customers are game changers.”

5 Business Fads That Are on Their Way Out

Remember when there was a frozen yogurt chain in almost every town? Today, many of these once-popular establishments are out of business; like fashion, business is subject to the ebb and flow of consumer hype, and such fads tend not to last very long.

“Don’t assume your fad is going to have revenue beyond a pretty short time,” Mary Gale, a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Babson College in Massachusetts, told the Asbury Park Press. “Plan for the demise of that business, and don’t fool yourself about when it’s going to be.”

Owning of a fad business could diminish your entrepreneurial spirit, but there are ways of bouncing back. Here are the business trends that entrepreneurs think will die off in the coming years, and how they can be adapted to fit the changing market.

Subscription services are all the rage right now, but Jeff Neal, creator of a mud-run series turned project manager and estimator, said box subscriptions — a business where a company sends subscribers a curated box of items every month — will taper off because they are more interesting than practical. Over time, he said, you will end up with way more of a certain product — like coffee, wine or cleaning products — than one person could possibly need or use.

If you run a box-subscription company, you might want to consider finding a “common denominator” with another type of business and adapting, said Neal. For example, you could branch out into retail sales: Subscription services like Julep (cosmetics) and Blue Apron (meal ingredients) allow subscribers to skip their monthly deliveries and instead purchase related products individually from the service’s websites.

The trend of e-commerce “daily deal” websites hit complete market saturation in 2014, said Mike Catania, co-founder and CTO of savings communityPromotion Code. However, with so many ties to small business communities, daily deals sites could easily morph into location-based apps that curate retail deals nearby, he said.

“Entrepreneurs in the field could also diversify by moving into the popular rebates arena, as they likely have significant amounts of purchase data from their existing daily deal customers,” Catania added.

The emerging information about the dangers of UV tanning has decreased the demand for traditional tanning beds. However, it is possible to stick with the tanning business and remain profitable, said Eric Anderson, CEO of Unlimited Tan. Switching the focus to spray tanning can increase business and even bring in a whole new clientele that would normally not visit a tanning salon.

“Adding a spray booth or custom spray tanning is a must to adapt to the changing needs of your customer base,” Anderson said. He added that creative marketing and partnerships will keep customers engaged.

Although the teeth-whitening market has been alive and well since the days of the ancient Egyptians and Romans, today’s health-conscious consumers are wary of modern methods like bleaching and laser treatments. Max Robinson, owner of Teeth Whitening Belfast, said he does far less traditional laser teeth whitening than he used to do, because most of his customers are now looking for natural treatments. As a result, he has had to diversify his business, he said.

“We use a lot of coconut oil, charcoal and baking soda, and provide different [whitening] treatments,” Robinson said.

Pokémon Go was without a question the most popular new app this summer. But how many people do you know who still play the game regularly? AJ Saleem, academy director of Suprex Learning Houston, said he expects gaming apps capitalizing on nostalgia to die off in the coming year, if not sooner, because the games eventually lose their popularity (again).

“There are definitely ways to prolong its popularity, such as adding new additions and updating, but eventually the game will die out,” said Saleem. “Those popular games aren’t meant to last forever.”

6 Businesses to Mend Your Broken Heart

These businesses understand how you’re feeling and are here to help you get back on the up-and-up. Here are six breakup inspired businesses to help you learn to love again.

Breakups are a special class of unkind. It disrupts your life and often can derail your every day. Mend aims to help the recently single with a heartbreak cleanse.

According to the site, they believe that you can not only mend, but thrive, after a breakup. “We believe an end, in whatever form it takes, is just the beginning of rebuilding the life and love you want.”

Mend comes with a blog with advice on how to move on, a newsletter, an app that acts as your “personal trainer” for heartbreak. The site offers a heartbreak assessment to better understand your level of heartbreak and the type of healing you need.

Breakups are rough. Someone is hurting from the events that transpired and often, items tied to the relationship are mementos of pain. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, the Museum of Broken Relationships may be a great place to visit to commiserate with the jilted.

According to the museum’s website, the exhibits reflect the full range of human emotions.  Some are sad; but many are amusing and hopeful and remind us that people change, grow and recover. Love relationships may end; relationships with family members, business partners, cities, religions and even with our former selves may end. But we learn and move on.

Though the museum’s location is on the west coast, anyone can donate an object anonymously. The dislocation of a broken relationship may be isolating, but the experience is universal.  No one is alone in this, the site says.

The end of a relationship can be infuriating and sometimes, unfair. If you don’t have a healthy outlet to channel that anger, consider visiting the Anger Room in Dallas, Texas, could be a good alternative for you – especially if thinking about your ex makes you want to break things.

Sign up to reserve a room and choose a package that meets your stress level. Options include “I need a break,” which lasts for five minutes, “Lash Out,” at 15 minutes, and “Demolition” mode, lasting 25 minutes. Head over 10 minutes early to get suited up in protective gear and goggles, and prepare to break things.

If you want to help others experience such smashing satisfaction, Anger Room accepts donations of items like old computers, mirrors, tables, chairs, vases and more.

When you’ve finally passed the breakup rage stage, it’s time to start ridding yourself of everything ex-related. It’s bad enough that you’re newly single and not so happy about it, but social media makes getting over it that much more painful.

Every time you sign online, you’re forced to look at Facebook posts and all the photos you’re tagged in together.

Luckily, there’s an app for that. Killswitch gives you the power to set and identify your target (your ex) and what kinds of posts you want to hide, like photos and status updates, then the app goes through your account to hide everything.

Killswitch also saves all of those old photos in a hidden album on your Facebook page. So if you and your old flame rekindle your relationship (or you just want to laugh at them later when you’re finally over it), they’re not gone for good.

The app is available free in the App Store and in the Google Play store. The company also donates a portion of its proceeds to the American Heart Association “so broken hearts can help broken hearts.”

Never Liked It Anyway is the website you can turn to when you realize you really never did like that necklace those poorly-chosen gifts from your ex.

With Never Liked It Anyway, you can sell all the gifts your old partner gave you and buy new items to treat yourself.

The best part? Each item displays the original cost of the item and the new “break up price” so you can see what kind of deal you’re getting. You may not be able to put a price on love, but with Never Liked It Anyway you can put a price on getting over it.

I Do Now I Don’t is the more serious version of Never Liked It Anyway. Instead of selling your old unwanted gifts, I Do Now I Don’t is there for you when your wedding gets called off or you get divorced and you need to sell your engagement ring, wedding band and other expensive pieces of jewelry.

The business operates on the concept that jewelers often markup diamonds by 200 to 300 percent, and when you try to sell your pieces back they offer you much less than what you paid. Another alternative, pawn shops, will probably offer you only 10 percent of what your items are worth, according to the I Do Now I Don’t website.

7 Places to Find Businesses For Sale Online

Want to be an entrepreneur? You don’t necessarily have to start and build your own brand-new business; sometimes the best move is to buy and grow an already-established company.

Aspiring owners who don’t know where to start should consider looking into websites, which direct you to the best businesses and properties for sale. From there, you can decide which best fits your entrepreneurial goals and budget.

Here are seven companies to find a business to take over:

BizBuySell.com boasts that it is “the Internet’s largest business for sale marketplace” and offers users options to buy a business, buy a franchise, sell a business, get help with financing and more. Users can search for businesses by category, state and country, and even set a minimum and maximum price. You can also search franchises by type, state, and amount of capital you have available to invest. Or, you can search for a business broker near you.

Search on BizQuest.com for your desired businesses, franchises or business brokers by location and business type or industry. And perks for sellers are good, too: BizQuest.com allows you to post ads in just five minutes. The ads are then shared on the company’s partner websites, like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. BizQuest.com also gives you the option to browse listings in top cities as well as the most popular franchises and industries.

BusinessBroker.net has more than 30,000 business-for-sale listings just waiting for you to sift through. As with the other websites, you can search for businesses and franchises, find brokers and see listings by industry and location. BusinessBroker.net also has a finance and loan center that offers professional help to guide you in your business purchasing decisions.

MergerNetwork.com has more than 15,000 active business-for-sale listings around the world. It allows sellers to post ads for their business for free and connect with over 14,000 entrepreneurs, investment bankers and business brokers.

This website currently has more than 62,000 business listings in the United States and around the world, including available franchises. Users can search by business sector and location to find the perfect business for them.BusinessesForSale.com also has features like email alerts and a services directory for those who need accountants, brokers, lawyers and more.

With more than 800,000 listings available, it’s easy to understand whyLoopNet.com is a reliable resource for discovering businesses for sale in your region. If you’re already a business owner or an entrepreneur with a busy schedule, LoopNet is available in app form (on Google Play and in the App Store) to peruse listings on your schedule, from wherever.

Additionally, the site is partners with commercial real estate firms like Century21, Chusman & Wakefield, CBRE, Sperry Van Ness, and Re/Max Commercial.

On the other end of it? If you’re looking to sell your current business, LoopNet provides the opportunity to list your business.

BusinessMart.com, like many of the other websites, has both businesses and franchises available as well as resources and services to help you get funding. It also allows you to search by location and business category, or search franchises by your available capital.