Category Archives: Market Trends

Getting Started: What Markets are Best for Startups

You want to break away from your day job, but you’re not sure if your industry is ready for a new voice. Well, here are the best industries for startups right now.Getting Started: What Markets are Best for Startups

1. Environmental Consulting

Going green is going anywhere. IBISWorld valued environmental consulting is valued at $17.8 billion. A 9% growth is expected in the next five years. If you’re an independent contractor, your installation skills will be put to good use with gear like wind turbines, solar panels, and eco-roofs. Now’s a good time to get your green consulting going.

2. Tea and Healthy Drinks

Tea is the 6th most popular beverage in the U.S. after carbonated soft drinks, bottled water, beer, milk, and coffee. However, the top 4 teamakers control 88% of the market. The 12% represents $264 million in the market controlled by small, independent growers. On top of that, the market has grown 5% over the last five years.

3. Mobile app design

Does it seem like apps are flooding the market? Maybe, but there’s still a need for more. Mobile app design growth might be linked to location services. In the last three years, location-based apps have received $656 million in 67 deals, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. If you have the know-how, definitely go for it!

4. Testing

Do you want to help other companies test the quality and safety of their products? Now is your time. Laboratory testing is a $15 billion industry, according to data from IBISWorld. The industry is expected to grow 5% every year for the next 5 years. As companies increase their funding for research and development, the testing industry has nowhere to go but up.

5. Crafts, hobbies, and musical instruments

It seems oddly specific, but craft stores, hobby shops, and musical instrument retailers have been performing better than traditional retailers across the board. AnythingResearch.com found a growth rate of 9 percent, which also took into account toy and game retailers. If this is a product of the recession, ride it out. The industry says go.

What are you thinking of getting into? Have you done your market research to see whether or not it’s a good time to get started on your startup? Share in the comments below.

Inspiration: Infographic – The Evolution of the Entrepreneur

Homestead-Infographic-Entrepreneur

Inspiration: Freakonomics The Movie

After Chad Troutwine read Freakonomics and its exploration of neoclassical microeconomic principles in rational utility maximization, he thought, “This should be a movie!” As an entrepreneur and filmmaker, he actually was able to pursue his crackpot fantasy with the zeal of a young Howard Hughes.

Hounding the authors’ talent agency for nearly a year, Troutwine eventually saw his perseverance win the day. He optioned the cinematic rights to Freakonomics and began assembling a team of directors to each tackle a different Freaky topic. He met Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) at the Sundance Film Festival and quickly enlisted him. Next, Troutwine recruited Academy Award-winner Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) who suggested adding the directorial team Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp). Spurlock recommended Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight), and Troutwine invited Seth Gordon (The King of Kong) to share in the producing duties and to direct the film’s introduction and the connective interviews between the four primary segments. Freakonomics: The Movie was the Closing Night Gala film at the Tribeca Film Festival, premiering before a capacity crowd of more than 1,000 Festival attendees … and Robert DeNiro.

Staying true to the irreverent spirit of co-authors Levitt and Dubner, Troutwine pursued a risky and unprecedented theatrical distribution strategy. He and Magnolia Pictures released Freakonomics: The Movie in the Apple iTunes Store and on pay-per-view before exhibiting it in theaters. An instant success, the film jumped to the top of the Documentary film category in iTunes and spent months in the Top 30 ranking of all films (just above a little film called Avatar). Further challenging conventional wisdom, Freakonomics: The Movie premiered in 10 large U.S. cities with a catch: moviegoers could pay whatever amount they wanted for tickets. The “Pay What You Want” screenings and unorthodox release strategy have prompted several commentators to wonder if Freakonomics: The Movie has ushered in a new era for independent film distribution. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences recently added Freakonomics: The Movie to its permanent collection at the Margaret Herrick Library. It is currently available for rent or purchase digitally and on Blu-ray and DVD.

Inspiration: Infographic – Everyone Will Become An Entrepreneur

Are you ready to innovate?Everyone will become an Entrepreneur

Capitalizing on Opportunity

According to the papers, the Ravens won the Super Bowl.

According to Twitter, the winner was Oreo. And they won with an ad that didn’t go to CBS.

Everyone knew that this Super Bowl was going to be big for second screen viewers. If you aren’t familiar with “second screen” yet, the second screen refers to when television viewers have another screen in front of them, be it a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet. Super Bowl XLVII generated 231,500 tweets a minute, racking up 24.1 million tweets over the course of the whole game.

  • The big moments included:The power outage (231,500 tweets per minute, or TPM);
  • the 108-yard kickoff return by Raven’s Jacoby Jones (185,000 TPM);
  • the Raven’s winning moment (183,000 TPM);
  • Jones’ 56 yard caught pass for a touchdown (168,000 TPM);
  • Gore’s 49ers’ touchdown (131,000 TPM).

Beyonce’s halftime show generated 5.5 million tweets itself, which was more than was tweeted during the entire Super Bowl last year.

Most of the Super Bowl ads had some kind of hashtag tie-in to get people taking it to the second screen.

So why is Oreo the winner?

Oreo jumped on the blackout with this picture attached to a tweet. Their tweet read “Power out? No problem.”

The message caught on almost immediately, getting nearly 15,000 retweets (as of this writing) and more than 20,000 likes on Facebook.

Oreo has a 15 person social media team standing by to react to whatever happened during the Super Bowl. They had their own ad that aired which featured it’s own social media call to action to get people to pick sides: Creme or cookie? (We all know the answer is that it’s a perfect balance.) The team featured copywriters, artists, and strategists to respond to any situation. The company that handled the game day tweeting for Oreo was digital marketing agency 360i,

Oreo proves that while you can’t plan ahead for what might happen on social media, you can plan ahead with the right people to respond to whoever does.

While you might not have the budget for a 15 person social media team, you should still be aware of the trends are where your customers are. Don’t be afraid to drop a relevant tweet. You might just go viral.

The Domestic Production Comeback

As potential business trends are identified for 2013, one of the ones that stands out is the return of domestic production. Will we start seeing “Made in USA” stamped on our goods again? Let’s take a look.

In September 2012, PricewaterhouseCoopers report alluded to a “renaissance” in U.S. manufacturing stemming from factors like more affordable labor, higher shipping costs and a better financial climate–and the fact that “re-shoring” (returning production stateside) could mitigate $2.2 billion in losses from supply-chain disruptions in 2011.

Another factor is innovation of the startup kind. One of the biggest examples, Tesla Motors, focuses on how things have gotten more efficient in the light of economic downturns. What was originally filed as a lower priority has turned into companies trimming the fat on production and distribution.

As some retailers and startups are either heavily represented or exclusively active online, keeping production in the US can give them a home court advantage. What might have taken an extra day or two to travel from an overseas supplier can now be sent straight out the door.

Perhaps the biggest indicator that domestic production is making a comeback is the growth and sustaining power of local businesses. People have been making a living off Etsy stores and “local” businesses have a strong appeal because they are local.

While all these things factor in bringing more production stateside, will it bring more jobs? Maybe not as many as you would hope. Robots tend to keep the prices down and so far haven’t formed any unions.

What do you think? Is there a future for “Made in USA?” If so, is it coming this year or will we have to wait to see much of a difference?

Let us know below!

How to make working from home work

More often, it seems entrepreneurs and small business owners are falling back on the home office. It is their base of operations, their command center, but it’s still where you call home. Having home life and work life butting against each other can be a difficult adjustment. The sink is full, the lawn needs to be mowed, vacuuming needs to be done.

Here are some helpful tips on adjusting to the home office:

1. Give yourself structure

Segment out your day in a way that makes sense to you. Make sure you know when all your meetings are, when you have to be on a call and make sure those times are set aside for those activities. Then, over the course of the day, make sure you know when you’re working and when you aren’t. Make sure your office is set up in a room with a door that you can close. If people bugging you is a possibility, make up a Do Not Disturb sign. It might feel strange doing that at home, but it could offer you the peace and quiet you need to do your job.

2. Use the amenities of home

Just because you’re working doesn’t mean you should lose sight of the fact that you have you’re whole home right in front of you. Take a lunch break and watch something on Netflix. Turn up your stereo. Buy that yogurt that your coworkers usually steal. Make an individual cup of coffee because you don’t have to make one for the whole office. When you’re working from home, hours can be flexible. Just don’t lose your sense of structure.

3. Leave the house

Some of the appeal of an office is seeing different people and talking around the water cooler. You have a chance to break away from the usual. When you work from home, you fall into the same patterns. If you start to feel overwhelmed or stuck, find a coffee shop with WiFi or somewhere with the same resources you have at home. Spending three hours working at the library may be all you need to knock you out of a funk.

4. Get dressed

One of the big draws of working from home is staying in your pajamas all day. While one or two days like this might work, you’re much more productive if you take a shower and put on some real clothes. The habit of getting ready for the day can jump start your creativity.

Do you have any tips for working from home? What works and what doesn’t? Share your thoughts below.

The History of Black Friday

Remember when all the deals on that Friday after Thanksgiving were called “Day After Thanksgiving” sales?

Black Friday has changed over the years. The term, meaning businesses go from “in the red” to “in the black”, originated in Philadelphia in the 60’s, but spread throughout the US in the 70’s. The Philadelphia police coined the term to describe the out of control atmosphere of the crowds, but the term has now been used as a term of tentative endearment. Black Friday is the official kickoff of the Christmas shopping season. While the day has often been the benchmark for deals and spending sprees, it wasn’t until the 00’s that stores crept from 6:00AM openings to 5:00AM or 4:00AM. The ’10’s became the first time that stores opened at 12:00AM. It’s described as the busiest shopping day of the year, known for aggressive crowds and mob mentality.

Black Friday has inspired a sort of fandom of its own. There are the ones who brave the crowd every year and see waiting in line as a kind of tradition with store schedules and maps while others hunt for their deals whenever they want to find one.

In 2005, a Shop.org press release coined the phrase Cyber Monday for the online deals that flood e-commerce sites the Monday after Thanksgiving. Consumers spent $1.028 Billion online on Cyber Monday, the highest spending day of 2010 according to ComScore.

In 2010, small businesses launched a counterpart to Black Friday called Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday encourages shopping at brick and mortar establishments as opposed to the big box retail and department stores that benefit from Black Friday. American Express conceived of the holiday and promoted it across social media. Small Business Saturday isn’t limited to the Saturday after Thanksgiving. There are a few Small Business Saturdays throughout the year, often popping up as trends on Twitter when they occur.

The weekend after Thanksgiving launches the holiday shopping season.

Share your deals and Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday stories in the comments!

Crowdfunding for the Entrepreneur

The term “crowdfunding” was originally coined to describe the process of raising money for video projects online. Since then, sites like Kickstarter have increased the prevalence and notoriety of crowdfunding services. Crowdfunding replaces the need for grant applications and other traditional fundraising techniques. Crowdfunding relies on the community that you have already built around your project or idea. It aggregates your social networks to give everyone the chance to be part of your project.

Many of the popular crowdfunding sites that are out now are reward based. This is a tiered system that offers rewards based on how much money is contributed. The contributions can be a wide range. The initiator of the crowdfunding project must set a goal and a time limit.

A successful crowdfunding project depends on your pitch. It isn’t simply asking for money, it’s showing your potential investors why your project is important. What is your message? Why are you passionate about your business? How can you turn your customers into investors? A large part of crowdfunding is reaching out to people who will make a commitment to your business and these committed fans are poised to become the advocates of your business.

One crowdfunding site, Rock The Post, is a site specifically for small businesses. The team at Rock The Post not only get your project up and running on the site, they also offer consultations on how to make to make your crowdfunding project a success. You get expert advice from people who know how to launch a successful campaign. From pitch to reward system, you’ll have a quality project to present to your community.

If you decide to use crowdfunding with your business, make sure you find the site that’s right for you. Kickstarter tends to fund media projects, from video games to music videos.  IndieGoGo is a mashup of projects, including causes for the Red Cross. Make sure you know where your project belongs before you try to raise your money.

This is my baby…Facebook!

Here’s a trivia question to pull out at your next cocktail party, “Which website generates the most traffic?”  Unless you’re chatting with a social media fiend, your friend will most likely guess Google.  Wrong.  Facebook not only generates more traffic than Google, but accounts for 50% of the mobile internet traffic in the UK.  If you’re unsure of the effect social media has on your business, Erik Qualman will convince you with his mind-blowing video.  Of all the astounding facts Qualman shares in the video and on his website these are our favorites:

  • If Facebook was a country it would be the 3rd largest nation in the World.  Hmm wonder what the national anthem would be?
  • How long have you been reading this blog, 1 minute?  Well, in the past 1 minute 60 people joined LinkedIn.
  • There must be a lot of smart shoppers out there because Groupon will reach $1 billion in sales in less time than any company before it.
  • Don’t even try to read everything on Wikipedia.  If Wikipedia was a book it would take you 123 years to read the whole thing.
  • Looking for baby names?  In Egypt newborns have been named “Facebook.”
  • If you’re not worried about monitoring what social media users say about your business, you might be in big trouble.  90% of people trust their peers for recommendations (compared to 14% of people who trust paid advertising.)
  • You may have seen in commercials that 1 out of 5 relationships begins online, but Facebook is blamed for 1 out of 5 divorces.

If you haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon yet, it’s past time to join the 93% of marketers using it.  Qualman will convince you that social media is a tool that can make or break your business.  So update that Facebook page, tweet at your followers, and maybe be the first to name your child LinkedIn!

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