Entrepreneurship and Startup Trends

Small Business Trends for 2012

With the global economy still struggling to regain its footing, several trends have the potential to significantly impact small businesses in 2012.

As a growth-minded SMB owner, you've already started to lay the groundwork for the new calendar year.

Marketing strategies, capital acquisitions, new market opportunities and many other factors are all in the mix.

For planning purposes, it helps to have some idea how business will change over the next twelve months. Although total 2012 visibility is a pipe dream, the more information you have about where the marketplace is headed, the more effectively you can position your company to achieve strategic business objectives.

Christian Lanng, CEO of Tradeshift, one of the fastest growing social networks for businesses, shares his predictions of trends that are sure to impact small businesses in 2012:

  • Local is the new global. Rising transportation costs and concerns about the quality of production in foreign markets will drive manufacturing and the sourcing of services back to local markets. The next generation of low cost, automated manufacturing equipment will restore a competitive edge to localized, small businesses.
  • It's all about jobs. The U.S. economy's current job crisis is shining a spotlight on the need for companies to create sustainable job growth. Companies that create jobs will be politically rewarded. But more importantly, the public will expect the brands they patronize to actively engage in job growth, making a job creation a hallmark of corporate social responsibility.
  • Innovation trumps capital. Growing momentum for startups and venture funding is translating into an environment where ideas the ability to execute them trumps the size of your bank account. Small companies are poised to be the rock stars of 2012, due to the fact that they can execute faster and access infrastructure at increasingly lower costs. Since commercial funding will continue to be limited, innovation capital will be the name of the game in the new calendar year.
  • Business software actually designed for businesses. While the last generation of business software was created to optimize the back-office (making accounting easier and keeping up with tax rules), this year's crop of business software will focus on creating value for your business, connecting your customers and suppliers in a network and making it easier for you (not your accountant) to do business.
  • Technology will shift the business landscape again. Business technology will be dramatically affected by three major trends: Cloud computing, mobile and social media. Software costs are plummeting, allowing you to access solutions and data no matter where your travels take you in the new year.

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