Monday, July 2, 2007

The Future of Small Business

Intuit offers a fascinating look at the next decade of American business in the Intuit Future of Small Business Report, a three phase study authored by the Institute for the Future.

Phase one, released in January, focused on the dramatic changes in the face of small business, as seasoned baby boomers, kids fresh out of high school, mid-career women, "mompreneurs" and new immigrants come together to create the most diverse pool of entrepreneurs ever.

The disruptions that have beset workers -- economic, social and technological change — and an increased interest in flexible work schedules — will produce a more independent workforce seeking a better work-life balance.

Phase two of the report was released June 26, and finds that tomorrow's successful small business owners will be far more reliant on technology than their current counterparts. They'll be more connected in a mobile world, market to customers in ways only imagined today and blur the lines between the virtual and physical worlds as the hype surrounding today's technology becomes tomorrow's reality. The findings include three emerging technology trends that will revolutionize the very nature of running a small business:

  • On My Time, On My Terms – In a connected world, small business management will increasingly be "on my time" and "on my terms" for owners.
  • Global, Local, Virtual – The evolution of the Web will fuel small business formation, operations and innovation.
  • From "Push" to "Pull" – The small business marketing approach will shift from "push" to "pull."

The very nature of local business, retail and service included, is dramatically shifting. Anyone in the field of marketing to, or for, a local business should read this report.

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