Emerging Business Trends That Are Rocking the Business World

4 Business Trends That All Small Business Owners Should Know About

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The Great Recession has altered the very foundations of life and business and set-off changes that are transforming industries and companies. The emergence of earth shattering business trends redefines the way business is conducted and profits are realized. 

Emerging Business Trends to Know About

The following four business trends are reshaping business. Understanding them will help you to respond and redefine your go-to-market process to capitalize on the new reality.

1. Information Inflation

Information has never been so free and readily available as today. While the price of information has dropped, the supply of data has exploded creating information inflation and a whole set of new problems for the future. This is often referred to as "Big Data."

Businesses can use data to increase revenue and reduce costs. For instance, according to Inc.

"Businesses successfully mining Big Data are cross-referencing their internal information-pricing histories, customer traffic patterns-with multiple outside sources to increase revenue by understanding customers' behavior better, reducing costs by eliminating inefficiencies and human bias, strengthening client bonds by anticipating clients' needs, enriching service offerings with new knowledge, and giving employees new tools to perform their jobs better."

Information forms the basis of decision making. For businesses to compete, they will require skills and technology to find the truly valuable data in a universe of exploding content.

2. The Frugal Consumer

Consumerism will not be the same following the great recession. We have entered an era of the frugal consumer according to economist Peter Dawson. He views this trend as a shift towards a more permanent condition of consumerism which will change the way businesses operate.

Dawson isn't alone in his theory; he is backed by market research.

McKinsey & Co. conducts an annual survey of consumer buying behavior. Their most recent report noted that "in general, consumers are making cautious financial decisions," which isn't surprising considering that over half of the survey respondents indicated that they are "finding it harder to make ends meet than they did a year ago" or living paycheck to paycheck. The report also noted that approximately one-third of the respondents agreed that their financial situation was "causing them to delay purchases and cut back on spending."

Companies of all sizes will need to re-evaluate old business assumptions and adapt to new conditions. People of all income and demographic levels are reducing compulsive spending and carefully looking for value and products that provide greater meaning to their lives.

3. Mighty Millennials

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are people born between 1978 and 2000. Millennials are 77.5 million strong with over $1.7 billion in spending power (so far). This cohort has lived the digital life and their entrance into the workforce has enabled them to be more adaptable, collaborative, and innovative than any other generation. What is most earth shattering about this generation is their diversity and how they embrace community as well as all cultures and classes.

The key for companies will be capturing millennials' interest and business. According to the American Express Open Forum, businesses -- particularly small businesses -- can capitalize on some of these Millennial traits and interests by making things easy to share, emphasizing local connections, and "gamifying" Millennials' loyalty.

4. Clean and Green

Green business has now accelerated into overdrive. With billions in government stimulus and venture capital, the earth-friendly companies in bio fuels, solar, wind and more will stand to reap big rewards going forward as the face of commerce changes for the benefit of Mother Earth. Consumers respond to your businesses green efforts in the materials you use, the manufacturing process, and how you bring them to market.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA):

"There’s a new focus on environmental responsibility, and as a small business owner, you can make a difference. Help protect our ecosystem and serve your customers who value your environmental efforts."

The Bottom Line

These four business trends will pose a challenge for business and society as a whole. What we see now is an entire restructuring of the world as we know it. Business will need the agility and adaptability to ride these trends into the future.