Know Where SMBs are Headed for 2018

BY Courtney Huckabay
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From crowdfunding, to diversification, to tech startups, Groupon sees trends emerging among its small business clients. Here are six top small business trends to look for in 2018, as laid out by Groupon's Jacqueline Emigh.

Crowdfunding Will Flourish

"More and more small businesses are gaining financing through crowdfunding organizations like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, in which individual people and organizations kick in with small investments toward an overall campaign goal. Small businesses also use crowdfunding to validate products, making sure there is enough market demand before throwing substantial resources behind an item, notes Forbes."

Business owners in the know make great customers. B2B advertisers can talk about crowdfunding pros and cons through ad campaigns. An advantageous place to start is in business sections. The new AudienceSCAN survey revealed 8% of U.S. adults enjoy reading their local weekly business newspapers in print, online or on a touchscreen tablet.

Freelancing Will Spawn New Services

"Some 35 percent of the U.S. workforce already consists of freelancers, according to Forbes. Freelancing also ushers in opportunities for new types of service businesses. These range from specialized freelance job-​matching sites, to credit services for the self-​employed. Self-​employed individuals need insurance policies in areas such as health, disability, business, liability and life insurance, according to SmartAsset​.com."

Freelancers and contractors can market their services to Business News Readers. The most recent AudienceSCAN study revealed 10.5% of U.S. adults said business/​money/​finance titles are their favorite types of magazines or newspaper sections to read.

On-​Demand Will Expand in B2B/​Companies Will Cherish Customer Info

"Inspired by the current popularity of on-​demand consumer businesses like Uber, Airbnb, and Taskrabbit, more companies will launch specialized on-​demand sites on the B2B side, becoming one of the most popular business trends in 2018. Sites in expert areas like on-​demand law and marketing consulting can work well with only a handful of staffers on board, says Business News Daily. A few examples of existing on-​demand B2B firms include Shyp (for companies with erratic shipping needs), ezCater (for quick catering), and Getable (for fast equipment rentals), points out Inc​.com."

Non-​Tech Folks Will Launch Tech Businesses

"Sites such as WordPress are making it easy to publish online without investing in complex and quickly outmoded content management systems, notes Inc​.com. Small businesses can also use tools like Zapier and Bubble to build highly complex apps without the need to hire costly software coding personnel. To compete effectively against bigger companies, new and established businesses alike will also need to keep pace by leveraging technologies like AI (artificial intelligence), CRM (customer relationship management), video, big data, and cloud-​enabled SaaS (software as a service) customer apps."

This presents opportunities for tech service providers to target B2B prospects. Tech businesses could appeal to Business New Readers by mentioning their charitable efforts. The latest AudienceSCAN research showed Business News Readers are 91% more likely than average readers to be members of charitable organizations.

Targeted Industries Will Be Diverse

"One niche that will fly high over the next decade is the drone industry. BI Intelligence expects this market to surge to $12 billion in 2021, a CAGR of 8.6 percent from $8.5 billion in 2016. Drones crash quite often, too, which will lead to opportunities in drone replacement and repair. Early entrants into the drone repair business include companies like Deviceer and Expertdrones."

"In another arena entirely, home care is heating up fast. As baby boomers retire and get older, many find home care a financially attractive alternative to nursing homes. You can launch a non-​medical home care business with little startup expense. Medical home care, which typically requires state licensing fees, brings even more opportunities. The global home health care market is anticipated to grow from $228.90 billion in 2015 to $391.41 billion in 2021, for a CAGR of 9.4 percent, according to Zion Research."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.