4 Trends Your Business Should Take Advantage of Now

Every once in a while it’s a good idea to sit back, take stock and assess how some of today’s current trends could benefit your business. Here are four to consider that have both marketing and operations implications for your company.

1. Going mobile. Mobile marketing is becoming increasingly important as consumer adoption of smartphones increases. Whether you market to businesses or consumers, your customers are increasingly accessing the Internet and using phones as shopping tools. But according to the fifth Small Business Success Index survey released recently, few small business owners currently use mobile marketing methods such as texting promotions to customers, creating a mobile site or mobile application, and advertising on mobile sites. Just 15 percent of entrepreneurs surveyed said these activities have the potential to be “extremely” or “very valuable” to their businesses. I think this is a big mistake. Young people are an obvious market for mobile marketing, but with smartphones becoming essential tools for everyone from soccer moms to businesspeople, no business can afford to ignore this trend.

And speaking of busy businesspeople, are you taking full advantage of your smartphone’s capabilities? With phones doing more and more, lugging your laptop is becoming less and less necessary. Whatever type of smartphone you have, explore its features so you can streamline essential tasks you need to do on the road.

4 Trends Your Business Should Take Advantage

2. Social deal sites. Social deal sites—where customers sign up to get daily emails of deep discounts on products and services in their areas—are sizzling hot. Currently, Groupon and LivingSocial are the biggest names in this industry, but there are plenty of local and regional offerings too. If your business caters to local customers, you’ll want to explore these sites as a marketing tool.

Wish there was a social deal site where businesses could sign up to save on the products and services you need? Then check out Bizy, a company I’m working with, which just launched this week.  Bizy bills itself as the first dedicated deal site for small businesses. The site (BizyDeals.com) offers discounts of 50 percent or more on a range of products and services including office supplies, software and hardware, shipping, legal and accounting services, travel and insurance.

3. Subscription services. Slowly but surely, subscriptions have become woven into our daily lives. I’m not talking about magazine subscriptions (although they still exist) but the subscription business model in which everything from software to IT services to consulting is paid for on a monthly basis by automatic charge. Subscription services can streamline your expenses because you pay only for what you need. On the flip side, remember to keep track of your subscriptions and reassess them regularly, or it’s easy to end up paying for things you never use.

For your business, providing products or services on a subscription basis can be a smart way to boost your cash flow by generating recurring income streams. Just about everything can be sold on a set-it-and-forget-it basis, whether it’s a quarterly shipment of skin-care products, a monthly phone consultation or ongoing access to premium information on your website.

4. Seniors. Americans age 65 and older are a hot market, but one that’s too often ignored by small business. A recent MarketWatch article cited one expert who noted that while the teenage market is trendy, “there is … 10 times as much money to be made from seniors.” In fact, Census data show seniors are more affluent than most segments of the population, with the median net worth of households aged 65 and over at $108,885 in 2000, compared to a measly $7,240 for households under age 35. By 2030, people over 65 will account for 20 percent of the population—so if you’re not already targeting this market, figure out how you can.

Seniors can benefit your business in another way: as employees. If you’re like most small businesses, you could use some extra help right now, but you’re not ready to hire a full-time worker. Consider hiring retirees as part-time employees. Their experience and work ethic can make them valuable assets to your business, without the full-time commitment.


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

6 Reactions
  1. Rieva,

    Social deal sites can be used as a great vessel to drive volume of new customers into a business. A couple things small business owners need to consider…

    1. Depending on your type of business, do you really want to compete on price and sell your products or services for 40-80% off? I sure don’t. Are you selling a commodity or a unique product or service. If you are selling a commodity and you are competing on price, a deal site may be a good fit for you. My recommendation is you identify a way to make your product or service offering unique so that you don’t have to compete on price ever again.

    2. If you choose to use a deal site, what is your plan or strategy to follow up with these new customers after their first purchase to ensure they come back for more in the future? What is your plan to maximize their customer lifetime value over the next 5-10 years? If you have a solid follow up and nurturing process in place to get these people back into your business, using deal sites as a loss leader may not be a bad idea.

    Ryan Mettee

  2. Thanks Rieva for pointing out the 4 trends that business can use. Also appreciate your quoting the Small Business Success Index findings on mobile.

    I had not thought of the 4th trend of utilizing the power of seniors and thus was very useful.

    Shashi Belamkonda

  3. My first reaction to a couple of these was similar to Ryan’s. Why would anyone want to be a trend chaser? However, every business needs growth and each of these trends needs to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Seniors may not be too excited about mobile (print is often too small and their dexterity isn’t what it used to be) or deal sites, so how are you going to reach them? Deal sites are “expensive” to the business, but if you know your lifetime value of a customer, is that an acceptable acquisition cost? They call them trends for a reason.

  4. Hi Rieva, I enjoyed reading your post. In my experience social deal sites are not a trend I’d encourage business owners to join in with, especially small businesses.

    The trouble with offering a crazy one-off discount is that people will then expect it all the time. I personally don’t think it’s a good way to build a business long term. I know I wouldn’t be happy if I went to a local barbers and paid £5 for a haircut with one of these deals and then next time I went I was charged the full price of £15.

  5. Hi Rieva,

    I agree that with changing times, one must adopt to the news of doing business and all the points you mentioned were exceptionally good and up to date. Companies can benefit tremendously with these various techniques especially the social deal sites as they give a good platform to market to a large target audience. Thanks for sharing!

    Riya Sam

  6. As a business, subscription services are definitely a great way to boost your income but can be a huge hassle when it comes to the billing end of it! Making sure your customers are billed monthly and that you are getting your payments monthly (and on time) can be extremely time consuming, especially for small business owners whose time is already limited as it is! For this exact reason, we created Chargify, because we were in this situation a few years ago and needed to free up our time to focus on building our business and not on billing and collecting from our customers.