2020: Key Trends for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses, Part II

By at 11 January, 2020, 11:17 am

By Karen Kerrigan-

Part I of Key Trends 2020 for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses focused on the outlook for the economy, marketing and branding, technology, and finance/access to capital/DeFi. Other important areas are covered below in this blog post. Please remember to sign up for our Small Business Insider enews for the latest market intelligence, economic news, and policy developments that may impact your business throughout the year.

Business Ideas, Hot Markets and Consumer Trends

The Best Small Business Opportunities for 2020, The Balance Small Business.

“Looking to launch a business this year? Welcome to our list of the best small business opportunities for 2020, chosen from across a variety of industries.” The list includes: fulfillment by Amazon sales, skilled trades, software engineering and development, meals kit sales and deliveries, virtual and AR, self-storage units, home renovations, bike sales-service-and rentals, senior care, facilities support services, and markets on wheels.

30 Small Business Ideas That’ll Make You Money in 2020, Oberlo.

“You’ll want to create a business that’s not only profitable today, but also great for the long-term. You may notice that a lot of the ideas on this list have been growing in popularity recently. While jumping on a new trend can sometimes be risky – it can also be highly rewarding. Some of the ecommerce business ideas on this list have been popular for a long time making it more competitive but less risky.” The list of low-investment and startup ideas includes: blackhead removal (yep), photo printer, voice translator, women’s dresses, reusable bags, streetwear, workwear, posture corrector, beard oil, mediation, phone banks and covers, dash cams, anything dogs, and more.

The Rise of Re-commerce: Why Everything Old is New Again, Knowledge @Wharton.

“Rent the Runway’s success has inspired other entrepreneurs to get into apparel rental, and the industry is becoming a market worth billions, according to Baker Retailing Center experts. Analyzing this phenomenon was a panel of innovative industry players. Panelists noted that the shift toward clothing rental and resale mirrors what’s been happening across industries: less outright purchasing and ownership, more limited-time experiences. Sharing-economy businesses such as Spotify, Netflix, Uber and Airbnb come to mind.”

5 Trends for 2020, Trend Watching.

“Five powerful consumer trends. Five opportunities. Are you ready?” A deep dive into the trends, including: Green Pressure – from eco-status, to eco-shame; Brand Avatars – human brands take powerful new form; Metamorphic Design – consumers demand relevance as a service; The Burnout – smart brands rush to help those burned out by modern life; Civil Media – the future of social media is meaningful connections.

Brand Wellness, Going Retro, Green Everything and more, PR Week.

“These are the top consumer trends to keep an eye out for in 2020.” The list also includes micro-networks, 5g, “looking East” (Tokyo Olympics), and artificial intelligence.

Gartner Identifies the Top Five Consumer Trends for Marketing, Gartner.

“Too late to shop green, rise of the rewatch, socialism shift, morphing money and algorithm hacking are the top five consumer trends that will have the largest impact on marketing leaders and their organizations in 2020, according to Gartner’s Consumer Top Trends, 2020.”

6 Consumer Trends to Watch in 2020, Groundtruth.

“In an effort to help you navigate this rocky terrain, GroundTruth is once again using our knowledge, experience, and data to compile and share six consumer trends we’re likely to see in 2020 (hint: mobile, personalization, and the in-store experience will reign supreme).” More hints: digital and cashierless checkout, more BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store) to add to more BORIS (Buy Online, Return In-Store), shoppers want sustainable and local products.

2020 Retail Trends Report: Now, New, Next, Alliance Data REPORT.

“Technology has permanently shifted the ways consumers discover and engage with brands, pushing the boundaries (and consumers’ expectations) for seamless, channel-less experiences.” This thorough report looks at what’s important now (loyalty programs rebooted, the APP as hub, built-in brand virtue, sustainability, the influencer economy) along with the “New” and “What’s Next.”

6 Direct-to-Consumer Trends to Watch in 2020, Ad Week.

“As 2020 kicks off a new decade, the DTC space continues to change, with industry experts predicting more acquisitions, an expanding home category, a new kind of sustainability messaging and more.”

Human Capital and Labor Markets

How to Hire in 2020, Career Builder – Small Businesses.

“Using data from Emsi’s Labor Market Analytics, below is what we learned from this low-unemployment year and tips on how can you can prepare better for 2020.” Topics include: next gen employment, closing gender gaps, occupations that are shrinking or growing.

New Year, New Workforce: How the Entrance of Gen Z Will Reshape the Workplace in 2020, Small Biz Daily.  

“No single resource can provide an absolute guide for engagement drivers for this emerging generation in the labor market. However, we know that employers should do the following in order to attract Gen Z, based on several sources and polls.”

9 Competitive Benefits for Small Businesses, Career Builders.

“According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, benefits and perks are among the top things job seekers considered when deciding on a new a job, with 55 percent saying benefits can be more important than salary. We’ve compiled a list of modern benefits that will make any team feel happier, healthier and more engaged.”

Recruiting Trends in 2020: 6 Tactics You’ll Want to Sharpen Up On, HR Morning.

“Recruitment will be defined by innovation and technology — and the organizations that embrace both will have greater success at recruiting the right employees for the long haul.” A look at culture, hiring outside your target market, employee referrals, video recruiting, and more.

3 HR Trends for 2020: What’s In Store?, Forbes.

“Many consider the U.S. economy at full employment and we have more open jobs than we do people to fill them. The voluntary quit rate is 2.3%, the highest in 15 years. We need to give people a reason to work for us and a reason to stay.” The importance of “super recruiting,” deep talent pools, flexibility, an authentic culture, inclusivity and diversity, quality onboarding, intentional relationship building, and more.

Five Recruiting Trends for the New Decade, SHRM.

“From relying on predictive analytics and chatbots to using enhanced candidate vetting strategies – and myriad other up-and-coming trends – the recruiting industry is shedding old habits and trying some potentially game-changing new approaches as a younger, tech-driven generation of workers and managers slides into the driver’s seat.” And, texting is a thing for recruitment.

These Will Be the Buzziest Trends in Work Benefits in 2020, Experts Say, CNBC.

As we head into the new year with record economic expansion and strong job market figures top of mind, employers across the country are strategizing how to attract top talent to fill roles in 2020. One way to do this is by offering the workplace benefits people want most. And according to early predictions, employers are stepping up to meet the demand.” The list includes: getting paid anytime, work from anywhere, expanded health care, more diversity and inclusion, ultra-personalized career development, student loan repayment, managing everyday finances, catering to different types of families, and caregiving benefits.

Policies to Watch

How California Bill 5 Affects the Gig Economy, Fortune.

“The bill, which went into effect this month, may impact thousands of self-employed individuals and could have a devastating effect on many new and popular technology companies, such as Uber, Lyft and Grubhub. Moreover, several states, including New York and New Jersey, may look to introduce similar legislation in the coming year(s).”

Who is an Independent Contractor? Gig Economy Law Forces Small Businesses to Rethink Staffing, AP.

“Although the law affects companies of all sizes and out-of-state businesses that use California contractors, it likely will have a greater impact on the many small businesses that have hired independent contractors because of limited staffing budgets.”

On Trade, Trump Had a Rocky 2019. Will 2020 Be Any Different?, World Politics Review.

“It seems likely that the coming year will provide some relief from the chaos and uncertainty of 2019 when it comes to economic and trade policy.”

2020 Outlook (Privacy and Data Protection), Markets Media.

“The U.S. takes a “patchwork” approach to privacy and data protection laws, with a mixture of various state and federal laws, each directed to specific business sectors or types of personal information. In 2019, we saw significant increases to requirements and the complexity of that patchwork, with new laws passed and coming into effect at the state level..[without a consensus around a federal framework] businesses will need to grapple with the uncertainty inherent in a fractured and developing legal landscape.”  Additional Resource: PWC’s Top Policy Trends – Privacy: “44% of CEO respondents rank data privacy among top 3 policies most impactful to their business.” (the outlook and the influencers.)

The Outlook on Immigration in 2020, Forbes.

“For the fourth straight year, we should not expect Donald Trump to visit the Statue of Liberty and deliver a speech celebrating America’s tradition as a nation of immigrants. But here’s what we should expect to happen on immigration in 2020.” Issues include: H1-B and L-1 visas, H-4 EAD, legislative proposals, DACA, new restrictions on international students, refugee and asylum programs, temporary protected status, workplace enforcement, EB-5, and “the wall.”

Federal Regulation, The Federal Register and the Fall 2019 Regulatory Agenda (published 12/26/2019.)

“This Fall 2019 Regulatory Plan continues to reflect a fundamental shift of the Regulatory state. Starting with confidence in private markets and individual choices, this Administration is reassessing existing regulatory burdens.” The plan lists rules across agencies that are in their various stages, proposed and final, and the general thrust of the document – and policy message – is the Trump Administration will continue to reform federal regulation and remove outdated and unnecessary regulatory burdens. An analysis by Bloomberg Law, however, found “Of the total number of economically significant rules in the new agenda, 39 were listed as being regulatory in nature, compared to 20 that were labeled as deregulatory actions.” The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) also reviews the regulatory state in 2019 and where new activity will take us in 2020: “Deregulatory efforts will likely continue in 2020, but will likely to be more than offset by regulatory increases elsewhere.”

Policy Outlook 2020 (Healthcare): Expect Loads of Talks and Little Action Around Biggest Healthcare Issues, MM&M.

Other than possible movement on drug prices (an international pricing index, for example), health insurance reform is not in the cards given the big election year. Morning Consult predicts another crack-at-bat for “surprise billing” along with more advancements on price transparency by the Trump Administration.

In Case You Missed It…Tax Provisions in the Year-End Spending Bill, MBAF Certified Public Accountants.

“Of particular note, the bill included an extension for several expiring and expired temporary tax provisions known as ‘tax extenders,’ and it repealed three healthcare taxes that were originally enacted as part of 2010 health care reform legislation. The year-end spending bill also made many changes to retirement plan rules, extends several expired tax provisions, provides disaster tax relief, and repeals the provision that taxed exempt organizations when they provided parking to their employees. It also included tax relief for taxpayers affected by natural disasters.”

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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