The U.S. economy is wrapping up 2013 with a piece of good news. November job growth cut the unemployment rate to 7 percent, the lowest it’s been in five years. Higher-paying industries including manufacturing and construction added more jobs, and hourly wages rose incrementally. Small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs are encouraged by the overall direction of the economy, and small business success goes hand-in-hand with the economy’s overall success. A positive jobs report means more opportunities for small businesses in 2014.
Small businesses will look to capitalize on growing trends in the upcoming year. Expect small business to become more mobile and look for unconventional sources of capital.
Mobile Credit Card Processing
Business was on the go in 2013, and it won’t slow down it 2014. Cash-only small businesses miss out on potential revenue because they don’t accept credit and debit cards, but smartphones are changing the game. Mobile credit card processors enable small businesses to accept credit cards anywhere. These card readers connect to a corresponding app to turn any smartphone into a credit card processor.
Square, Intuit and Paypal are among the companies that offer free credit card readers. Providers usually take 2-3 percent of the transaction cost. That’s a small price to pay to accept credit cards. Intuit’s mobile program even connects to its popular Quickbooks service, so users can automatically track these mobile transactions on the popular accounting platform.
Research firm Forrester forecasts mobile payments to reach $90 billion by 2017. Next year figures to be a major step forward for mobile credit card processors. Small business looking for a leg up on the competition would be wise to get on board.
In a rough economy, consumers get creative to earn extra revenue. AirBnB is a online home and apartment rental platform on which users can list available homes and rooms. Many owners stay with their guests throughout the agreement. It’s an unconventional model, but it provider property tenants with extra income and travelers with inexpensive shelter. Zipcar is a similar service in which users rent their automobiles.
Small businesses looking to boost their revenue will look to utilize their assets in similar ways in 2014. Perhaps that means renting a copy machine out to businesses that have high-volume printing jobs or renting out delivery trucks. These revenue add-ons could keep small businesses afloat through lean months.
Venture capitalists aren’t exactly shelling out dough for every interesting idea, but that doesn’t mean startups won’t succeed in 2014. Crowdfunding is the latest trend in fundraising. Crowdfunder and Kickstarter are among the prominent crowdfunding platforms.
Crowdfunder consists of more than 40,000 investors and entrepreneurs, according to the company website. In this model, startups offer future incentives in exchange for donations. This might mean the earliest version of a product once its out of production or access to a blog that documents that journey.
Kickstarter, meanwhile, has successfully funded more than 53,000 projects. Expect that number to grow substantially throughout 2013.
Dana is a New York native and small business consultant with a penchant for social media strategy.
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