Small Businesses of the Future

Intuit just released the first installment of a report called, “Future of Small Business.” The report forecasts what the small business landscape will look like in the United States over the next 10 years, to 2017.

And it is a fascinating picture:

(1) More diversity — Small businesses are more diverse than ever, with women starting businesses and immigrants refreshing the ranks of business owners. Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) — their numbers are rising faster in small business than any other age group. This chart outlines the demographic characteristics of key small business owner segments (click image below to open PDF in new window):

Small Businesses Changing

(2) Rise of the Personal Business — The “personal business,” which is a new term to describe a business with no employees, is growing in numbers and in economic influence. These businesses now number roughly 20 million. These personal businesses are a large presence in our economy. “Free agent” working relationships are now seen as more attractive by younger and older workers.

(3) Entrepreneurial Education Grows — Entrepreneurial education is growing, especially at the university level, with over 1,600 higher education institutions offering such entrepreneurship education in some fashion. More people starting businesses will have training in the skills necessary to be successful as an entrepreneur. And it’s a good thing, because with the increasingly complex marketplace, they are going to need them.

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I was fortunate to play a part in the development of this report. Last summer I participated in an expert workshop at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California. Professor Jeff Cornwall, over at the Entrepreneurial Mind, also was one of the participants, along with the rest of an impressive panel. It was stimulating and fun to share ideas.

It is good to see that Intuit and the Institute for the Future are releasing the report publicly. Many educational institutions, economic development authorities, and even smaller vendors that sell to other small businesses, can get value out of this report. Download your copy of the first installment of the Intuit Future of Small Business Report.

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

12 Reactions
  1. Just think–if a lot of people link to the report and/or reference the information, it will have monetized itself very nicely over time via new leads and eventual customers.

    Often times the potential longer term benefits aren’t valued as heavily as the nearer term revenue which leads to quick hits versus sustained success.

  2. Hi Roger, I think that’s right. By publicizing the study, it shows a longer-term perspective — and a commitment to the small business market.


  3. I love the fact that personal businesses are on the rise. I believe there’s more fullfillment and satisfaction that come as a result of it. Not to mention it’s providing a wonderful niche for the retired community that has so much to offer by way of their experience.

  4. Wow!!! This is an opportunity that one should not miss especially those people who have plans in venturing into business sooner or later. Young businessmen should give attention into these kind of education for it will provide them the knowledge they might need in the long run.

  5. I downloaded and quickly scanned the report. American people do not find big companies very attractive. They want to have their own businesses. I also agree with them. In big companies, when the employee grows old the company throws him/her out and brings in another new employee. From business point of view, this is fine but personally, I think this is not fair. A man gives his/her best time of life for a company. He deserves better. Long live small biz!!!

  6. Hi Anita,

    Thanks so much for the link. I downloaded it and is making it as one of the recommended readings in my entrepreneurial class in the master of management program.

    Best regards,

  7. Boy, I wish people would talk about the “lack” of credit and money available to small business. I live in El Paso, and it is almost impossible to get funding to businesses that are not in “perfect” health. I heard the President say that monies are available! Where????I have looked everywhere..SBA, community banks, Larges Banks etc. I have been in business 11 years, and this is the toughest two years I have seen. Let’s not be naive, who and where are the banks… ray

  8. This was pretty nice review.