New technologies, evolving customer demands, and societal shifts are rapidly changing the business landscape. These factors paved the way for location-independent companies, niche markets, disruptive industries, as well as closely-knit global teams. However, to reap the benefits that these changes have to offer, you must keep yourself up-to-date on the emerging entrepreneurship trends.
To help you out, we have compiled some data on the different industry shifts to look out for in 2020 and beyond. With this, it’ll be easier for you to fully grasp the changes that can affect your entrepreneurial endeavors and update your strategies accordingly. As such, you can keep your business moving forward in the changing times and keep your edge against the competition.
Many people put entrepreneurship on a pedestal. As a result, people at a very young age are being encouraged to become entrepreneurs when they grow up. This idea took deep roots in many of America’s young people’s minds. In fact, in the last five years, about 16% of their new entrepreneurs were Millennials.
However, it is really hard to become a successful entrepreneur. To illustrate, of all the new startups that were put up in 2014, only about 56% survived until their fifth year. This is attributed to the many hurdles and challenges that lurk in the ever-changing business landscape. Many new (and even seasoned) entrepreneurs fail to keep up. Thus, they get selected out of their respective evolutionary markets.
What’s more, external market forces are not the only things to overcome. Some entrepreneurs may have started on the wrong foot altogether. Researchers found that about 42% of failed businesses were not needed by the market at all. This means that these entrepreneurs offered products and/or services that nobody really wanted. Moreover, about 17% marketed non-user-friendly products.
You don’t want to fall into these early traps. So, it might be best to keep up with emerging trends in entrepreneurship today. This way, you’d get more chances of lasting longer in your market’s evolutionary path.
A few years ago, we started witnessing the rise of digital nomadism. A huge percentage of the workforce has chosen to work from home or to keep several freelance jobs. This, as many can attest, is a gateway to entrepreneurship. Many who start out freelancing end up creating their own consultancy or professional services business.
Moreover, this gives other established entrepreneurs more employment options. Having remote workers may help entrepreneurs save money on electricity, overhead costs, and equipment upkeep.
Digital nomadism has been trending for quite a while already. It isn’t a new trend. However, experts feel that its relevance hasn’t reached its peak yet. In fact, 57 million Americans freelanced this year. This number is still expected to rise even higher in the next five years.
Thus, by 2020, we expect that digital nomadism will cease to be just one of the most popular and fashionable workplace trends. It will soon become the norm for many entrepreneurs, particularly those who are just setting up their businesses. Also, more established entrepreneurs will more likely hire remote workers to man digital touchpoints.
With the popularity of online shopping, the prevalence of social media use, the nearing implementation of 5G networks, and the increasingly sophisticated computers available on the market, it seems that having a commercial space is no longer a requirement for building a thriving company. You can easily facilitate transactions from the comfort of your own home or virtually anywhere in the world.
Source: And.Co Anywhere Workers Study
The same conditions that spawned digital nomadism to happen have also allowed for globalism. While digital nomadism enabled entrepreneurs to manage their business all around the world, globalism is the practice of working with international teams to build, support, and expand their businesses.
The truth is that globalism has been a general trend for many years already. But, sometimes, we mistake it to be just an option for bigger companies. Some also have notions that globalism is just a choice for companies after years or a few months of starting out. However, many entrepreneurs started their businesses with globalism already embedded in their DNA. In fact, 29% of start-up employees are foreign on average. For those in Silicon Valley, it’s a significant portion at 45%.
This globalism trend is really hot in particular sectors especially media and professional services. To wit, it is perfect for the knowledge economy. For example, a US green energy start-up can tap an independent Japanese-led engineering design team to work on a bid to construct a hybrid plant in Afghanistan. They don’t have to meet often for this to happen. More so for IT security consultants and software developers.
In years to come, working with a global mindset will largely continue to be the norm among top-performing businesses. In fact, this has been a long-time trend in tech in America. This is because first-and-second generation immigrants like Elon Musk are the founders of 50% of America’s tech giants.
Modern business seems to have an overarching tenet–get to customers wherever they are. This is part of the strong general trend of going customer-centric today. And, at a significant portion of the time, consumers are now glued to their phones. People clock in around three hours and fifteen minutes a day on average on their phones. Most people also check their mobile phones about 58 times a day. Thus, clever entrepreneurs leverage this to their advantage.
Just like how the internet and the rise of mobile technology allowed for digital nomadism and more globalism, it also paved the way for more and better mobile commerce. Now, entrepreneurs can manage to chip away at their giant competitors even from the comfort of their homes. In fact, it can be claimed that they’ve had a hand at doing so.
Experts expect major US and international brands to close 12,000 stores by the end of this year. Moreover, as malls were built twice as fast as population growth from 1970 to 2015, they are now getting torn down at a similar rate.
From 2010 to 2017, ecommerce total sales rose to 166%. This is thanks to companies like Amazon and entrepreneurs that use the platform.
In fact, current Amazon trends and programs seem to ensure that businesses with ecommerce will have the upper hand over those with purely traditional distribution avenues.
Moreover, by 2021, mobile commerce is expected to account for 54% of total ecommerce sales. Market watchers also expect total ecommerce sales to significantly rise during the same time period and beyond as well. Thus, entrepreneurs and start-ups should keep this trend in mind. The pie is growing and there may be more slices for them.
As mobile phones became an avenue for ecommerce, so has social media. Social commerce has risen organically out of social media use. As social media becomes more popular, many people just started doing something quite natural — they started selling and buying online social media sites and apps. After all, social media have people and people like and buy things. So, why not sell on social media?
Social commerce is a natural progression as ecommerce and social media both become widely used. There are many species of social commerce from user-curated shopping (like Lyst, The Fancy, Svpply) to group buying (like Groupon) and from peer recommendations (like Amazon and Yelp) to social network-driven sales (like in Facebook).
Also, speaking of Facebook, in 2016 the social networking giant relaunched Facebook Marketplace. This project came to the fore as executives noticed how their platform was being used by customers for buying and selling organically.
In fact, 450 million people have visited “buy and sell” Facebook groups. Thus, Facebook leveraged this use and made social commerce better. The Facebook Marketplace function allows users to post their wares. Also, it is integrated with Facebook Messenger, which allows your customers to arrange a meeting or haggle for the price.
And, based on current social media trends, we expect other social platforms to follow suit in the next few years. Also, many people are not just getting into social selling, they are also getting good at it. Thus, we should not only expect an increase in the number of people in social commerce. We should also anticipate that social selling will be more sophisticated in the coming years. This comes with shiny new digital tools and sets of best practices for each platform.
The gig economy is pretty big. Globally, it is about $204 billion worth. However, with a 17.4% CAGR up to 2023, experts predict that it will be worth $455 billion. Also, just last year, the US gig economy accounted for 44% of the Gross Volume of the global gig economy.
Last year, the US gig economy is around 57 million people strong. It also accounts for around 36% of the American workforce. Moreover, it has decacorns in it as well. If you haven’t heard of the term yet, decacorns are private companies valued at $10 billion or more.
Decacorn companies in the gig economy include Uber ($68 billion) and Airbnb ($31 billion). These are companies that investors are gung-ho about. Companies like them cater to people who want gigs or temporary employment setups. Gigs are pretty attractive to people, and entrepreneurs should take advantage of this trend.
One way an entrepreneur can leverage this is by creating a “gig scheme” for her business. This is not new. In fact, some athletes (especially in combat sports) and entertainers (like stand-up comedians) are independent contractors. They have gigs. Their “employers” benefits from not paying for employee benefits like regularly-employing firms do. Furthermore, they do not have long term commitments to their suppliers or independent contractors. Additionally, many gigs require workers to bring their own equipment. So, entrepreneurs seeking to take advantage of a gig scheme can find ways to eliminate overhead costs. Again, this seems to work best in the realm of professional services.
Of course, this is easier said than done. There are also many risks when it comes to managing a gig-oriented business. Owners must balance the demand side against the supply side, just like what the Uber algorithm does. And, as you may know, this takes a long while to perfect. Also, as markets change, the algorithm needs to learn. But, if you are doing this on a small scale, you may do okay using spreadsheets. However, you may do great using project management platforms.
Source: Mastercard, 2018Designed by
Most people want to be unique. This is a universally shared preference. After all, nobody wants to wear the same clothes as the other person does at a party. Moreover, an increasing number of people want highly-specific and sometimes customizable products. To wit, this is the trajectory where being customer-centric will lead. And, high customer-centricity is the breeding ground for more niche markets.
Take the food industry for instance. Many giants are now catering to niche preferences by customers. Vegan and vegetarian consumers are given attention now by fast-food joints. Just take the Impossible Burger. It is being marketed by Burger King to appeal to a smaller non-meat eating portion of the demographic.
Additionally, fashion collabs are everywhere. These deliver niche products to specific segments such as shoes and whatnot. Some people may not even like the shoe brand itself. They just like the artist that co-created the shoe design. As a result, they buy. Thus, they are part of the small niche of people who are patrons of whatever that artist puts out from music, movies, or shoes.
In the coming years, experts believe that many new niches will become very profitable. Some that are currently trending will also be discussed in other sections in this article. But here are a few niche markets that are forming and becoming stronger today: LQBTQ+, gamers, environmentally-conscious people, remote workers, and locals.
We can say that locals inherently form niche markets for businesses. However, consumers want to uniquely represent where they are from through fashion, accessories, and food consumption. Some are more passionate than others. Thus, extremely specific products are a hit in some niche markets.
Compound shifting societal preferences with social and mobile commerce and you get more digital business niches popping up. Thus, entrepreneurs need to keep an eye on these niche developments. There may be opportunities there. Also, there might be threats. Some niche players may be eating up your market shares.
According to recent research, the global subscription market will be worth $10.5 billion by 2025. This is because of two main factors–the rise of subscribers to existing brands and the increase of new subscription-based models. Moreover, the end-user industry segments are aplenty. They include telecom, healthcare, media and entertainment, retail, and IT among many others.
Today, the subscription-based model in businesses is picking up more steam. Think about music and movie streaming or even planned meals. Our local gyms have a subscription-based scheme as well. Now, online classes and apps do too.
According to Tien Tzuo, subscription-based models are the future. Getting steady revenue streams just makes more sense than intermittent sales. He also went further by saying that “if you’re not shifting to this business model now, chances are that in a few years you might not have any business left to shift.” Subscription-based models are also more convenient to customers, especially with automatic recurrent payment schemes.
Also, this is not limited to straightforward digital offerings. Even businesses like Fender guitars got into a subscription-based model. The Fender Play subscription service offers a video music teaching service. This goes hand-in-hand with its overall business. It builds a long-term relationship rather than just a sale.
Big industry players do it too. Take Amazon, for example. The company has been doing well with its Prime subscription service.
Today, aspiring entrepreneurs and ones with established businesses are thinking of ways to create their own consumption-based models. Why? The main benefit is you get a steady income. Also, with a scheme primed for easy automation, you can get your costs down. Earn steady income while paying less? That is a good deal. However, it must be done right.
Additionally, businesses that adopted subscription models started using club management platforms and payment gateway services to help automate their processes. However, we recommend that you start using digital automation tools early rather than late into rolling out the scheme. The transition will be easier.
Disruption has been a buzzword for many years now. It is being easily thrown around in many sectors. Thus, many believe that the word is being watered-down. They might be right, especially when they coined the term.
In the original intent of its authors, a disruption only happens when a product or service takes root in simple applications at the bottom of a market. Then, it moves up this market and eventually displaces more established competing businesses. Also, innovations are disruptive only when they allow a whole new population of consumers at the bottom of the market access to products or services that were inaccessible to them before. Thus, disruptive innovations democratize goods, services, and the benefits that come with them.
Thus, in the preceding section, technologies like Uber and Airbnb can be considered as disruptive technologies. The same with SaaS that allows for remote work, globalism, and digital nomadism. We can also consider social commerce to be a disruptive technology. It allows customers to bypass traditional e-marketplaces dominated by big-budget online retailers.
However, both new entrepreneurs and established businesses are aware of these disruptive technologies. They have been democratized after all. Thus, these technologies pose new opportunities and threats to both as both camps have the chance to use them.
One threat towards more established entrepreneurs is that the cost of entry to their markets is lowered. Think of Airbnb providers taking up chunks of hotel revenues. In fact, Airbnb beat Hilton.
These technologies also pose a threat to new entrepreneurs. This is because more established businesses can also leverage these disruptive technologies too. They can take advantage of remote work technologies and digital subscription plans. By doing so, they free up resources to invest in other brand activities.
Thus, more established companies can also gain more competitive advantages over new entrepreneurs. They just have to look for them in the right places. And, many of those places are in disruptive SaaS platforms that smaller entrepreneurs use for online business and support as well.
Many approach corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts as just another type of PR stunt. Some companies have these departments just to keep up appearances. However, in the age of social media, this has changed. People tend to find and share information in an instant. Insincerity is therefore easily detectable. Sometimes, it can be easily fabricated as well. Digital backlash is real. It doesn’t matter if the information is true or not. Printed words on some social networks like Twitter can mean the rise or fall of trust and revenue.
Thus, companies are now being more careful about how their operations affect their external stakeholders (e.g., the communities surrounding their operations and even non-customers affected by their products). Also, many entrepreneurs take advantage of this trend as well. Socially-mindful business is now big money. And it is only gathering steam.
Today, around 92% of Millennials prefer buying from ethical brands. That said, the younger generations seem to be more conscious. For them, it’s all about ethically-sourced raw materials, better working conditions for employees, gender equality, and environment-friendly policies.
This is one societal shift that creates new niche markets. Many entrepreneurs also take advantage of them somehow by providing the right products for the socially-responsible consumer. Moreover, entrepreneurs can also attract great talents through socially-responsible policies and programs.
To wit, brands such as TOMS, Starbucks, and Dr. Bronner’s already take up ethical marketing well. They serve valid causes and provide value to customers at a healthy profit. These are modern socially-conscious brands that new entrepreneurs should try and emulate.
One piece of advice, though. When you take up ethical marketing, be authentic about it. Don’t just do it for the bucks. Sure, the bucks will come when your selling point resonates with your target customers. However, when ethical branding is not consistent, you’d get backlash. And, this is bad for business.
Today, we see a surge in demand for diversity. This is not only in the media we consume. It is also in and about the bigger business landscape. However, diversity has always been around. It’s just not as recognized and valued as it is today. It brings many business advantages. So, maybe it is really about time that we recognize orange chicken and hard shell tacos to be as American as apple pie.
But, many feel that we still need more diversity. Many people in minority groups still do not have equal opportunities to succeed. Take for instance that in recent years, only 13% of venture capital (VC) funding went to founding teams that have at least one woman. This, for many, is not ideal.
Furthermore, records show that black women have only raised 0.0006% of all tech venture funding since 2016. However, in the coming years, and as social responsibility trends up, many businesses and entrepreneurs will likely go for diversity as a metric. Well, this is a murky subject. It may have its businesses. But, it may also have its faults.
Researchers found that diverse teams gain around 20% higher revenues from innovation. Not surprisingly, many feel that diversity plays a big factor in their success.
However, the correlation of data does not necessarily mean causation. Maybe, high-performing companies just have more talented people as its founders that just happened to be members of minority groups. It might have not mattered if they were women or of a minority at all. They might have been just people great at their jobs regardless of race, creed, and gender. It is also entirely possible that diversity indeed makes a team better suited for business.
This trend, one may argue, is more of a societal shift than a pragmatic need per se. But, there may be pressures to have more diversity in the next few years in the workplace. This makes it a pragmatic concern for companies and entrepreneurs as well.
Yet, diversity is undeniably an asset. It is also arguably better for entrepreneurs to have a diverse set of points of view to draw information and inspiration from. In this way, entrepreneurs can see their businesses from many more angles.
Thanks to the changing business landscape and new disruptive technologies, many educational programs need revamping. Moreover, business education is looking to add more specialized programs as well. This is a major shift when it comes to entrepreneurial and business education. In fact, in 2017 and 2018, enrollment in many business master’s degrees decreased slightly. However, those with more specialization in finance and data analytics increased.
Business schools are trying to rapidly meet the demands of the evolving business landscape. To start, there is more ongoing cross-disciplinary collaboration going on between business schools and other academic disciplines such as engineering and computer science.
What’s more, this trend is likely going to continue. According to recent analytics statistics, more and more companies will demand data-driven decision-making. Thus, this requires new tools and expertise for them to accomplish. As a result, schools are getting ready to fill this need.
It is predicted that the demand for business analysts is expected to grow by 14% from 2018 to 2028. Thus, more offerings are expected to be rolled out in the next few years. Specialized entrepreneurship courses will also likely be offered. These courses will teach students and entrepreneurs leadership skills, negotiation skills, how scaling ventures work, and many more.
Many of these will be offered in brick-and-mortar campuses. Meanwhile, others will be available through online courses like those of Harvard’s.
So, in the next five years, you should expect more specialized courses to pop up in your local colleges, universities, or on e-learning platforms. Entrepreneurship is a life-long commitment to learning. Thus, you better keep yourself up-to-date about emerging trends in entrepreneurship and business education. You don’t want to be left behind.
The recent “Great Recession” created economic conditions that made it hard for Millennials to find good-paying jobs. So, many seek out non-traditional career paths like going into business. Thus, the entrepreneurs of today are younger than ever. This also creates other entrepreneurship trends as well.
Young entrepreneurs today are aplenty. Take for instance Jack Kim. He started Benelabs, a search engine that generates donations. He started his entrepreneurial venture when he was in high school. This allowed him to learn how to create income from a search engine from little traffic.
Also, there is Willow Tufano, a 14-year-old girl from Florida. When Florida was hit by the recession, she convinced her real estate agent mother to buy a house together. So, the plan came together and Willow rented the house out at $700 a month. Now, they got their investment back and she is planning to buy her mother out in the next few years.
These are just two of the many stories about younger entrepreneurs out there. There are many more, and more will come.
Many younger people have strong motivations to become businessmen. Moreover, they possess positive outlooks when it comes to business. In addition, those that own small businesses are pretty confident of the political climate of today. They are also happy with their roles as business owners. And, they will likely continue to do so for a long while.
Entrepreneurship for many is all about freedom. It is the American dream. Many young people (26%) go into business because they want to be their own bosses. Others want to pursue their passions (23%). Young people don’t seem to lack reasons to become entrepreneurs. So, let’s just expect to see younger successful business owners in the future.
Many entrepreneurial young people resort to creating internet content. The Great Recession and other factors have contributed to creating this type of niches. Gamers, comedians, artists, educators, and many more flock to social networks to create and monetize content. Enterprising young people don’t have to start their own brick-and-mortar business. They can now create media outfits on their interwebs.
There are many avenues to share and promote media. Gamers have Twitch. Musicians have Spotify. Everybody else, including musicians and gamers, have YouTube.
According to the YouTube statistics we compiled, in the last five years, they already paid out $2 billion to partners that monetized their content. These content creators are young people. Being on YouTube is not just a fad anymore. It can be a job or a business. It is the same thing on other video sharing sites.
Twitch, the streaming service for gamers, is also a popular platform for young people to make money in. In fact, streamers can make $3000 to $5000 per month from subscribers. Yes, even streamers that aren’t of legal age yet. Of course, more successful ones can make so much more. If they are really good, they may get sponsored by top brands as well.
Others do performance marketing which includes affiliate marketing. In this setup, companies provide content creators with unique links that they can use to promote the product. Depending on the agreement, producers get paid per the desired action. It is worth checking out.
Internet media and content seems to be a good fit for entrepreneurial young people. This is because 96% of internet users that are on YouTube are in the age range of 18 to 24. This makes it easier for younger creators to make relatable and engaging content for their peers. In the next few years, we expect more and more entrepreneurial youth to venture into creating internet media outfits.
Mobile businesses are booming. In fact, experts estimate that the food truck industry is worth more than $2.7 billion today. This is more than five times the revenue the industry accrued in 2014. What’s also great about the food truck industry is that it is made up of a diverse set of people.
In Chicago, around 80% of local food trucks are minority-owned. This entrepreneurial opportunity doesn’t require expensive equipment, degrees, connection, and an excellent command of the English language. It is all about providing consumers with good food at good prices.
Non-culinary-inclined entrepreneurs have other mobile business options. They can venture into other services like moving services, health services, beauty services, junk removal, cleaning services, tutorial, auto detailing, and many more. In this way, they can monetize the skills they pick up from their hobbies or their backgrounds and upbringing.
What’s great about these businesses too is that you don’t have to put up a front office. You can just advertise on social platforms and via word of mouth. However, there is a danger here especially when you want to put up a business and not just being self-employed. Why? Many entrepreneurs get stuck in their self-made jobs because they don’t have the time or knowledge to grow their business.
So, if you want your business to work and make money even when you are physically not providing the main services anymore, you should consider learning more about how to grow and scale your small business.
There are many kinds of hyperlocal specialty businesses out there. Their common ground is that they sell products and services uniquely relevant to their localities. Of course, there are many segments in one locality. An example of a hyperlocal specialty store that can cater to the younger crowd is a mini-brewery that also sells organic foodstuff that also sports a library. They don’t go for big. Instead, they go for unique.
Thus, many aspiring entrepreneurs find this attractive because they can express themselves. Remember, many Millennials open businesses to pursue their passion. Also, the barrier to entry is not too high. Therefore, we expect more of these shops to pop up soon.
Hyperlocal specialty shops examples include religious shops, thrift stores, fireworks retail, smokers’ accessories, art supplies, and antiques among many others. They cater to the interests of various segments or niche markets in their localities. They also exude a community vibe with close-knit ties. Thus, many are just primed to amass a steady stream of passionate local patrons.
As niches are getting created, many localities are getting fertile for specialty shops. In the food and beverage market, many entrepreneurs now offer super-specialized products like Vegan cheeses and health food delivery.
Today, many hyperlocal businesses in these markets position themselves to be environmentally-conscious. You can too. This brand personality seems to be a hit today but it is kind of hard to pull off. Thus, great local roots and connections are needed. Once you take up this mantle, you should make sure that you source ingredients locally and, better if, organic. Also, don’t be shy to make this known. This is your selling point.
As mentioned in the previous section, many entrepreneurs are gunning for environment-friendly products. This is a big segment today. The eco-conscious movement spans different industries, including green consulting, green app development, energy efficiency auditors, and recycling businesses. Moreover, this includes the green products mentioned before.
Environmentally-conscious policies, products, and information drives have affected the psyche of consumers. In fact, the automotive industry which is identified as a culprit when it comes to pollution is slowly going green thanks to the pressure.
Now, the market for more environment-friendly electric cars is getting bigger. The global electric vehicle market rose by 63% in 2018, reaching 5 million. China leads adoption accounting for 45% of all the electric cars in the world. Europe comes in second at 24% while the US is at 22%. Many more industries and markets will soon follow.
With the green movement slowly getting traction, we expect more businesses that cater to this niche. These include companies offering recycled office supplies, green architecture services, non-toxic cleaners, and social innovation firms.
Also, young entrepreneurs could ride the wave of this trend. Professionals like accountants and engineers can put up green consultancy businesses. Organic food delivery is also a hit. In fact, it is not that hard to think of green businesses to put up. They can range from green products to professional services like solar panel installation.
As you may have noticed, many (if not all) of these trends are very related. The same conditions that made it possible for digital nomadism to come about are more or less the same conditions that made room for globalized businesses. Moreover, the business and societal trends that emerged from the very same conditions are quite related as well.
Take, for instance, the rise and adoption of disruptive technologies. This has helped increase the number of niche markets in industries. Moreover, this led to the trend of the creation of more specialized entrepreneurship and business education. Furthermore, these specialized education courses are partially in reaction to other overarching trends such as the demand for more diversity, eco-friendly practices, and general social responsibility.
In fact, this is corroborated by recent entrepreneurship statistics. The current trajectory points towards more enterprises that focus more on helping society as a whole.
No trend is in a vacuum. All of these play different roles in the concurrent shaping of the socioeconomic landscape today. It is wise for entrepreneurs and, more so, to aspiring entrepreneurs to recognize the interrelations between them.
Many times, greener pastures and bluer oceans with no intense competition sit along the borders. It sometimes takes a long time to find the right and ripe niche for putting up a small business. It likewise takes the right conditions for it to thrive.
However, technology will have an increasing role in business in the future. All of the emerging trends in entrepreneurship we listed here are affected by technology development and use. The exponential rise in the use of SaaS has already changed how entrepreneurs do business.
But, tools are just tools. It is up to the person and the organization to use them right and well. To wit, if you want to learn more about what it takes to be a better businessman of today, read our guide on the ten ways to become a more effective entrepreneur.
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