One great way to find market opportunities for your product or service is to study social and business trends. New social trends transform how goods are built and sold. Business opportunities grow out of the changes in the social order.
Back in the 1920s, who would have thought that bottled water will be big business? With the growing consciousness for cleaner and healthier living, smart marketers correctly predicted that people would want to drink bottled water as against water straight from the tap. And who would have guessed that the Internet would be a big thing that it is today, changing everything that we know about doing business.
The challenge for you as a small business owner will be to see if you can find business opportunities in any of these trends:
Retirement of the Baby Boomers
The baby boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, are reaching the age of retirement. Sociologists, economists and demographers all agree that this demographic shift will significantly affect how we do business. As a large cohort of baby boomers are entering their 50s, new opportunities in finance, travel, housing, recreation, vocation and clothing will come about. For one, they have greater disposable income relative to the past generations. As such, they are driving growth in many areas, including services, general retailing and recreation.
Increasing Power of Women
Women are beginning to close the pay gap. In 1999, the weekly pay of American women with full-time job was 76.5 percent of the men’s wages, an increase from only 61 percent in 1974. the increased purchasing power of women is also evident on the Internet.
Changing Face of the Population
The influx of immigrants is slowly changing the face of America. According to the Bureau of Census projections, Hispanics will make up nearly a quarter of the population by 2050. Non-Hispanic whites will become a slim majority of the US population, from 73.6 percent in 1995 to only 52.8 percent of the population in 2050. Consider how your products will be marketed to reach the burgeoning Latino market.
Increasing globalization of business
The companies that will excel in the 21st century will be the ones that build down the global barriers. Spurred by the growing acceptance of the internet, globalization is one of the biggest trends today and will continue to accelerate in the coming years. Consider what that means for opportunities in emerging world markets, particularly in China, the old Soviet Union and Southeast Asia.
Huge conglomerates are beginning to offer products that could be customized by potential buyers based on his or her preferences. Dell, for example, has brought this concept to their interactive online systems that allow customers to design a computer system. Customers can choose from a menu of attributes, prices and delivery options. Hence, the customers get what they want at prices acceptable to them. Consider what that means for opportunities in businesses providing products or services individually tailored to each customer.
Reinvention of religion
As people continue to cast off traditional beliefs and services, others return to them even more vigorously. Consider what that means for opportunities in books, tapes and online services.
Yearning for high-touch products and services
This includes the nostalgia induced by high-tech solutions to everything. Consider what that means for opportunities in antiques, older homes, home delivery and pickup businesses, and any business owned by friendly service-minded proprietors.
Recommended Books on How to Use Social Trends to Find Market Opportunities:
- Social Trends in American Life: Findings from the General Social Survey since 1972
- Minitrends: How Innovators & Entrepreneurs Discover & Profit From Business & Technology Trends: Between Megatrends & Microtrends Lie MINITRENDS, Emerging Business Opportunities in the New Economy
- The Next Big Thing: Top Trends from Today’s Leading Experts to Help You Dominate the New Economy
- Global Trends: Facing up to a Changing World (Iese Business Collection)
- The Aging Population and Its Effect On Small Business
- How to Choose Products to Sell
- Top 10 Growing Markets for Small Businesses (Part 2)
- Promoting Your Business to Your Target Audience
- 10 Trends in Small Business Retailing