Top 10 Entrepreneur Trends for 2011
1. Small is better. There’s been a fundamental cultural change toward small business. Many of those who became unemployed have taken control of their own destiny by creating their own work and boosting local economies. Being small allows for customized, quality customer service which everyone appreciates (see trend #10).
2. Niche it even more tightly. Entrepreneurs have to be known. To get known you have to show that you, your service or product can solve a specific problem. Be the “go to” person in your field. You can market narrowly and deliver broadly -so don’t worry about not having enough business. Those who specialize make the most money hands down.
3. Multiple profit centers are mighty. I just discovered a fine example of this at the Hacienda de las Rosas wine tasting room in Old Town San Diego. The proprietors, a husband/wife team, raise Peruvian Paso Horses and make wines from local grapes, a dream come true for both of them: fine horses + fine wines = fine profits. Having multiple profit centers can buffer an entrepreneur in any economy.
4. Home is where the money is. The number of self-employed who work exclusively from home increased from 3.47 million in 1999 to 4.34 million in 2005 and has continued to increase since then (2005 Census report). And don’t think people aren’t making money at home: home based businesses had a median family income of $63,648 in 2005 compared to the national median of $46,242 that year.
5. Collaboration is Queen. Women entrepreneurs are leading the way by aligning with others who deliver similar and even the same services leading to expanded business for all. When it’s time to take a vacation (and yes that word is in the entrepreneur’s vocabulary) they may even ask a competitor to provide service to their clients -the client is appreciative and the “competitor” will return the favor.
6. Bootstrapping makes sense. Entrepreneurs work smarter when they don’t have a whole lot of money to throw around. Many businesses can be started without a bank loan. A lot of motivation can be uncovered when you have to generate profits quickly.
7. Social media expanded the entrepreneur’s universe and will continue to do so. Even entrepreneurs with brick and mortar businesses are smart to use Facebook and twitter. Use of these free tools allows businesses to build relationships, establish their brand and have fun too.
8. More discounts. Customers are watching what they spend and expect a bargain. Rewarding frequent customers with discounts is a smart way to keep them coming back for more.
9. Have fun -make money. Customers and clients like to be delighted and everyone loves a laugh. Entrepreneurs are lightening up and enjoying themselves.
10. Personalization leads to profits. Everyone wants to feel special. Customizing emails with customers names, sending birthday cards with discounts, personalizing offers -successful entrepreneurs are jumping on this trend with great results.