RED HOT small business trends for 2013

I’m excited about the new year. Some economists say 2013 will be great for business, technology is doing some cool things too and let’s not forget that we were spared from the fiscal cliff.

So for the first time in a few years, we’re starting off on a positive note (relatively speaking). Plan for great things to happen at your business — and as you do, make sure to account for this five trends and how they could improve or affect your business. So if you haven’t read enough 2013 business trends posts already, here’s mine. (I promise you this one will kick all the other’s butts’ :))

1. Small business <3s virtual

love

Good people (employees) are hard to find. It’s even harder for small businesses to attract them, especially if they live in the middle of Small Town, Utah. Or if you’re looking for a very specialized or experienced candidate, there’s not a big talent pool as is, and it’s even smaller by geographical area. If you’re a small business, relocation and attractive packages for candidates might not be possible. But considering virtual employees, you open up to a whole new world of great talent.

Not only does this virtual trend apply for getting talent, but retaining talent as well. Offering remote-work options where employees can telecommute is something Gen Yers really value. As they continue to take up a larger portion of the workforce, companies must adapt to their values.

2. Our obsession with mobile will continue to grow …a lot.

As if you haven’t heard this a million times already, yes mobile is the new thing. Tablets are the only thing fueling PC growth right now, and smartphone usage is growing exponentially. Business Insider has some pretty significant data to prove it.

device shipments

Not only is mobile being used for selling and purchasing, but it’s also become part of our work flow. iPads are replacing notepads, the cloud is helping people collaborate more and manage virtual teams, and keep data safe. Questions to consider: Is your website optimized for mobile-optimized yet? If you sell products, can people make purchases from you via mobile? Can you use mobile tools for you or your team to be more productive? What is your business doing to adapt?

3. Marketers become BFFs with native advertising and earned media

bffs

People can smell advertising a mile away …and it smells bad. Advertisers and marketers are making advertising ads to be way more relevant and less pitchy. Ads will be harder to point out, less disruptive, much more personal and more engaging. With personalization comes automation. We’ll see an uptick in tools and marketing that Brad likes to call, “auto-personalized.”

Earned media took off in 2012, where the social world help brands and companies grow. We’ve all seen advertising with our friend’s Facebook pictures next to a product, app or service they use. And marketers working on getting mentions or coverage from the media as a form of marketing, rather than buying ads from the media. We’ll continue to see that grow as digital marketing budgets continue to increase amongst business.

4. Business will earn a degree in culture and employee values.

culture

Gen Ys / Millennials are causing a fuss in the workplace. Boomers are telling Gen Ys to get off their lawn, and Gen Xers want them to leave them alone. But Gen Ys are slowly taking over the majority of the workforce, and bringing their work-life values with them. Businesses are readjust their company culture and learn how to attract Millennials.

5. Value becomes the big sales pitch.


mission and value

There’s been a lot of focus on cost the last several years because of the misery of 2008 and 2009. Small business will focus more on the value they provide for their product or service, and less on the money part. Companies that don’t will have harder times closing deals, especially as small businesses are getting the courage to raise their prices.

Did I miss anything? What trends are YOU noticing?

Photo credits (Flickr): bay robertscsessums, goincase, camdiluv

Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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  • http://twitter.com/AngelBiz Angel Biz Advisors

    Devan – Very interesting list. I particularly like #2. Mobile is the future. In fact it is already here. Small businesses that do not think about their mobile strategy will stand to lose customers and sales. Just look around to find out how many people are checking Yelp before deciding where to dine.

  • http://www.enmast.com/ Devan Perine

    Thanks for stopping by! ;) I totally agree. The other thing that business owners need to keep in mind is that getting their mobile strategy figured out and executed takes time, and they need to start now rather than put it off — mobile is here, and if they’re just doing something about it, they’re already late to the game.

    What is your business doing to be “mobile-ready?”

  • http://www.twitter.com/Fancy_Lad Fancy_Lad

    While I’ll agree with you on the native advertising front (#3) I must say that you’re a wee bit late in your prediction for earned media, a.k.a. public relations/media relations. PR has been utilized for decades by small businesses, not just since 2012. It’s true that advertising clutter and cost of advertising is forcing more small businesses to advertise less and go after earned media more, but it’s hardly a new trend.

  • http://www.enmast.com/ Devan Perine

    Great points! And yes — you are right, it has been something companies have been doing. Though many recent studies and data shows how small businesses are investing a lot more into their online marketing efforts in 2013, and so we’ll see more and more companies really focusing and honing in on native advertising/earned media than ever before.