Top 5 Business Trends in 2011

By now, most entrepreneurs have their  business goals written down with specific measurements as to how they’re going to accomplish them in 2011. Prior to the end of the 2010, these same entrepreneurs took time to take note of all the mistakes made in the previous year and determine what can be done differently in the following year. Depending on the type of year you had, rough times may call for drastic measures. Therefore, it’s necessary to understand and be in “the know” by asking yourself how you measure up with other business competitors by learning the latest and greatest business trends. Take a look at Futurepreneur’s Top 5 Business Trends to investigate and see how your business measures up.

Social Media Marketing 

Social Media Marketing will continue to rock! Operating a small business can be challenging, but  joining the social media revolution is well worth it. Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and don’t forget YouTube are becoming standard operating procedures as real time marketing strategies for many companies. Theres no way you can deny not having the opportunity to market your business through to Facebook with over 500 million  and 200 million mobile active users strong. Believe it or not, small businesses are catching on too by using blogging, tweeting, and Facebook as their key presence on the web. In fact, companies are hiring social media consultants and social media experts to their personnel roster. So what’s next, adding social media marketing as a major in college?

Hand Held Treasures (Mobile Devices)

Are you addicted to your iPhone or your iPad? Nowadays, carrying a laptop is obsolete, especially when you can do everything on your mobile device (email, search the web, and update your tweets and FB status). In fact, a Forrester study shows that 49% small business owners use smartphones. Using mobile advertisements, creating mobile applications and offering mobile payment options are just a few ways that mobile devices are changing the way that companies are doing business.

Bootstrap Financial Strategies

Doing more with less is evident in today’s economy. Everybody’s feeling the crunch. So downsizing the budget and realizing that “hey we survived just fine” provides ongoing incentives to continue with bootstrapping your way through as a viable financial management strategy. So what helps? Finding ways to cut cost and doing it for less, so when the economy picks up, you’ve already adopted good cost containment solutions to maintain a steady cash flow. Start-ups aren’t going to banks…because they can’t. Asking friends and relatives to fund your small business instead of using traditional lending options are great alternatives.

Go Green!

“Go Green!” To know what that means is a step up from last year. If you want to get ahead, start educating yourself on the efforts involved in the “going green” phenomenon. Whether it’s providing energy efficient solutions for your clients or including energy efficient mechanisms inside your business, either way, don’t miss out on the growing epidemic. There are all kinds of creative ways to include green initiatives for your products and services. For example, I use hair products owned by a local hair salon. When I run low in consumption, I simply take back my empty bottles and get them refilled. Doing so allows me to receive a discount (which is more cost effective than buying a whole new set of products) and it allows the company to decrease the number of plastic bottles used to distribute their product to their customer. It’s also no secret that the federal government will spend an estimated $19 billion by 2015 on green hardware and cloud computing to reduce energy consumption.

Health and Fitness

While most of us have cut back on expenses, many of us haven’t canceled our gym memberships. The fitness industry is continuing to explode and with the new healthcare initiative, health and wellness will continue to grow with enormous business opportunities. Fitness clubs and health stores are now a $14.4 billion industry. WOW! Take a look around and take notice of how health conscious our country is becoming (i.e., TV infomercials, low-fat items on fast-food restaurants, low-cost gym memberships, child obesity programs, etc.) Even the video game industry has tapped into this industry with fitness videos available to play on your Xbox 360 Kinect or Nintendo Wii consoles.