Mike Lambert, Market Research Center Manager
Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network
As the manager of the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network’s Market Research Center, one of my jobs is to keep an eye on business trends that look like they will impact the businesses in our state. The list is a long one, but the following are my bets for trends that could impact you, your business and our state economy in the coming year.
- Remote Workers
Remote work, especially for office workers is fast becoming common place. Remote workers don’t generally work 100% of the time from home or a remote location but allowing workers to work remotely two or three days a week gives both the worker and the business added flexibility. Younger workers find this type of flexibility important and studies show that remote workers put in a full day’s work or more. It also helps small businesses, who can’t always afford to hire a full-time person for a special project but by hiring a temporary person can fill an immediate need.
- The Gig Economy
In addition to working remotely, around 36% of workers — and especially younger workers — are involved in the gig economy. Many workers have a side hustle or secondary job. Many entrepreneurs start their businesses this way, but estimates indicate that it is not just business owners, as 36% of workers are in the gig economy. With Wyoming’s independent mindset, it is likely that more of our workers will like the flexibility of the gig economy.
- Employee Happiness
Businesses are increasingly focusing on employee happiness. If you look at Wyoming’s job market— with our nearly full employment — you can understand why finding ways to keep your current employees happy and engaged is important. Keeping your best workers is no longer simply reliant on competitive wages, so companies are focusing on boosting morale and engagement while retaining top performers.
- E-Commerce is Dominating
E-Commerce is expected to reach around $5 trillion in the next few years. Many retailers are moving from brick and mortar storefronts to online stores. If you aren’t online, how confident are you that your physical store will be able to continue to succeed?
Other trends that Wyoming businesses need to consider are the growth of the green market, the increasing importance of online user reviews, the shift to stories — short video content that disappears after 24 hours, the fact that personalized customer service is vital and the need to address the way you need to reach younger consumers. The only thing that seems to be constant in today’s business world is that change is constant!
If you would like to learn more about these topics and you can apply them to your small business, contact your local Wyoming SBDC Network advisor for no-cost, confidential assistance at WyomingSBDC.org.
###About the Wyoming SBDC Network:
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers no-cost advising and technical assistance to help Wyoming entrepreneurs think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. In 2019 alone, the Wyoming SBDC Network helped Wyoming entrepreneurs start 108 new businesses, create or save 3,402 jobs and bring a capital impact of more than $24 million to the state. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by the University of Wyoming with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council. Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.