The entrepreneurial landscape is forever in a state of change. What was true of yesterday isn’t guaranteed tomorrow, and forward-looking entrepreneurs need to keep abreast of these sweeping changes if they want to stay competitive in the market.
As a lifelong entrepreneur, I owe much of my success to staying adaptive and always looking out for what lies around the corner. If you’re stuck in the past, your business is going to suffer.
That’s why, as 2021 came to a close, I decided to take a closer look at some recent trends to see what’s in store for American entrepreneurs in the year ahead. Read on to get my take on the latest entrepreneurship trends in America, as well as my market forecast for U.S. entrepreneurs.
Businesses Are Getting Smaller
The number of small businesses without any employees is on the rise in America. In 2020, the number of sole proprietorships rose whereas those with employees fell by 2.4%. It’s likely that we’ll see this trend continue in the future as more businesses are seeking the services of independent contractors as opposed to hired employees.
The Best States For Entrepreneurship
With the decline of brick-and-mortar retail businesses, the importance of where you establish your business has also declined. Since many of us sell products or services digitally, there’s no longer a need for many business owners to establish themselves in a major metropolitan area. This also means that entrepreneurs are free to set up where they please and to incorporate in states that otherwise may have been inaccessible in years past.
According to a CNBC report, the best states for setting up a business are as follows:
• North Carolina
These states were chosen based on several key criteria, including access to capital, available workforce, public infrastructure and the costs of doing business. I strongly agree with this list, as I’ve seen plenty of my colleagues go on to run successful businesses in these areas. Since the cost of living tends to be lower in these states compared to big metro areas on the coasts, setting up a business here can lead to major cost savings.
Entrepreneurial Optimism Is (Surprisingly) High
There’s a growing sense of optimism among the American public when it comes to opening a business today. The latest data from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) indicates that the Small Business Optimism Index (SMOI) was at 99.7 as of July 2021, which is higher than it was in 2016.
However, the SMOI did see a small downturn from last year due to an inability for many business owners to fill positions within their company. Labor shortage constraints, supply chain issues and inflation remain important points of concern for many entrepreneurs and, frankly, I don’t see this issue finding a remedy in the year ahead.
Fintech Banking And Decentralization On The Rise
Alternative finance, fintech and decentralized banking are, in my view, slated for serious growth in 2022. Between 2008 and 2020, an astounding 13,000 bank branches permanently closed their doors, with the vast majority being located in rural areas.
Consequently, more rural Americans are unbanked today than in years past. While this is a systemic issue, it presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs. Fintech solutions that provide critical banking services to rural and unbanked Americans are slated to be a huge growth sector for the foreseeable future.
Less Hierarchy, More Agility
I’ve seen more and more businesses flatten their organizational structure to be less hierarchical and less rigid. Strict command structures in businesses tend not to lend themselves well to flexibility or fast response times. Instead, keeping roles “open” to new responsibilities and being able to delegate freely keeps every team member available to pivot to other projects if need be.
In 2022, I expect we’re going to see more businesses follow suit by relaxing traditional roles and allowing employees to assume more responsibility and leadership.
Flexible Coworking On The Rise
There’s no doubt that the work from home (WFH) model has proven successful and sustainable. However, the transition to WFH has led to large vacancies in coworking spaces that were once quite expensive for business owners. I expect to see more and more entrepreneurs capitalize on discounted coworking spaces and offices and invite employees to join in on an optional or flexible basis.
Entrepreneurship In 2022: A Changing Landscape
There’s little doubt that the U.S. economy is changing. For so many of us, the way we do business is radically different than it was only a few years ago. However, by staying informed of the latest trends and market data, you can help stay competitive and level-headed when it comes to navigating our changing economic terrain.