3 Really BIG Small Business Trends for 2020

There's never been a better time to start a new business in North Carolina. We have some of the best tax incentives for entrepreneurs in the country. We have more resources than ever and a state-wide culture rooted in Southern hospitality. 

Our region just has “something special.” 

And two decades into the 21st century, it's never been easier (or more affordable) to start your own business.

With every improvement in technology, more and more people are seeing entrepreneurship as a possibility instead of a pipe dream. Infinite knowledge and tools are yours for the taking. In some cases, all you need is a great idea and a smartphone.

Small business ownership is turning out to be the preferred option for many, thanks to the flexibility that comes along with it. 

You don’t need to become the next “big thing” to take the industry by storm. But if you follow any of these 3 Really Big Small Business Trends for 2020, you just might be able to go your own way and find success! 


Rise of the Side Hustle

Not too long ago, learning that one of your coworkers sold t-shirts out of their garage would have become a joke around the water cooler. Moonlighting was considered a shady practice, something that you didn’t want your bosses to find out about. 

Not anymore.

Moonlighting is now known as "side hustling," and nearly half of all Americans have side hustles. Forty-three percent of those side hustlers work full-time, while 51% are part-time workers, according to a new Bankrate.com survey.

A side hustle is, just as the name implies, something you do "on the side" and in addition to your main job. You can do it at night, on the weekends or whenever you find spare time. Thanks to the internet, today’s entrepreneurs can keep their 9-5 while growing their dream business as a side hustle.

Entrepreneurship used to be about building a solid business from the ground up and working on it your entire life. You'd put together a business plan and go find money and people. Then you'd jump off the cliff and hope that your parachute opened before you hit the ground.

Today, many modern businesses have started as a side gig. It's a less expensive and much less risky way to start.

But they are NOT easy.

If you’ve really got that entrepreneurial spirit, you can find ways to start small and start slow. Dedicate at least an hour a day to your side gig: posting on social media to grow your audience, writing blog posts to educate customers about your products/services, do industry research… you get the idea.

Side hustles are still work, but if you’re passionate and persistent, they could become something bigger. 


Socially and Environmentally Conscientious Businesses Will Soar

Customers care about companies that care about people and the planet.

The market is rewarding businesses that keep their carbon footprint to a minimum while providing ethical workspaces for their employees. These days it’s not enough to have a great product, your business needs a great story. 

According to Small Business Trends, when it comes to tapping new consumers in an already crowded green market, “The answer may lie in supplying consumers with details and authenticity.” It’s not enough to be green anymore; you have to help the customer understand what making eco-friendly choices means for you and them.

And when it comes to people, your employees are the ones who determine if your business succeeds. If the people who work for you are excited about their job, then that excitement will extend to the customer. 

This year, consider learning more about building diverse teams, bringing out the best in your employees, and creating the sort of work culture where the best employees want to stay.

With unemployment at record lows, a lot of entrepreneurs are struggling to find talent. The solution is to invest in team members’ personal growth. That means providing a flexible work environment, plenty of autonomy, and performance-based compensation, like profit sharing, to maintain motivation.


E-Commerce Will Continue to Dominate

When you think of e-commerce, you probably think of Amazon and other online retailers. The fact is, however, that many brick-and-mortar businesses are learning to profit from the e-commerce revolution. This can be a way to expand your business without the need for more physical space.

Any business can become an online business.

Storefronts are no longer a requirement, businesses can launch (and be run) from home (with extra tax benefits). Almost any skill, passion or profession can be leveraged into an online business, giving you the freedom to become a “digital nomad” and work from anywhere in the world, at any time. 

Anyone can sell anything online. If you have a restaurant, consider bottling your signature sauce or finding a co-packer to make a frozen version of your most popular dish. Massage therapists can market eye pillows, candles, and oils to help their customers with their self care. Affiliate marketing can help you expand your profit margins without having to actually make a tangible product. 

You don’t need fancy web coding skills to get started selling things online, either. Sites like eBay and Etsy have been around for years, giving individuals and small businesses access to an enormous online marketplace by charging a modest hosting fee.

Recently, other industry giants have joined the race and you can now sell through Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, Twitter, and Poshmark

Niche websites can help you find a narrower (and even more loyal) customer base. For a list of specific categories and 65 more places to sell your stuff, click here.


How to Take What You Do and Generate Revenue

Want to be an entrepreneur but don’t know what to do? Whatever your skill, chances are you can find work virtually. Here are just a few passions and professions that can help you generate new online income streams: 

Writing: Upwork, Fiverr, Guest Blogging

Teaching: Tutoring, VIPKid, Online College Courses

Pet Care: Dog-walking, Pet sitting, Answer Veterinarian questions

Therapy: BetterHelp, TalkSpace, 7 Cups

Bookkeeping: Bark, BooksTime, Supporting Strategies

Consulting: Experteer, Arise, CoMatch

Still looking for that perfect fit? Here are 1400+ new business ideas that should help get your creative juices flowing. 

Hampton Roads Business Resource Guide

Ready to get going but don’t know where to start? Check out our 2020 Hampton Roads Business Guide or Call Larry today! No matter where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, Currituck’s Economic Development Board is here to help. We will do everything we can to smooth out the process and get your business up and running.

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