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Published February 13, 2020
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Mike Lambert, Market Research Center manager, Wyoming SBDC Network
As the manager of the Wyoming SBDC Network’s Market Research Center, one of my jobs is to keep an eye on business trends that look like they will impact the businesses in our state. The list is a long one, but the following are my bets for trends that could impact you, your business and our state economy in the coming year.
-- Remote workers. Remote work, especially for office workers, is fast becoming commonplace. Remote workers don’t generally work 100 percent of the time from home or a remote location, but allowing workers to work remotely two or three days a week gives both the worker and the business added flexibility. Younger workers find this type of flexibility important, and studies show that remote workers put in a full day’s work or more. It also helps small businesses that can’t always afford to hire a full-time person for a special project but, by hiring a temporary person, can fill an immediate need.
-- The gig economy. In addition to working remotely, around 36 percent of workers -- and especially younger workers -- are involved in the gig economy. Many workers have a side hustle or secondary job. Many entrepreneurs start their businesses this way, but estimates indicate that it is not just business owners, as 36 percent of workers are in the gig economy. With Wyoming’s independent mindset, it is likely that more of our workers will like the flexibility of the gig economy.
-- Employee happiness. Businesses are increasingly focusing on employee happiness. If you look at Wyoming’s job market -- with our nearly full employment -- you can understand why finding ways to keep your current employees happy and engaged is important. Keeping your best workers is no longer simply reliant on competitive wages, so companies are focusing on boosting morale and engagement while retaining top performers.
-- E-commerce is dominating. E-commerce is expected to reach around $5 trillion in the next few years. Many retailers are moving from brick-and-mortar storefronts to online stores. If you aren’t online, how confident are you that your physical store will be able to continue to succeed?
Other trends that Wyoming businesses need to consider are the growth of the green market; the increasing importance of online user reviews; the shift to stories -- short video content that disappears after 24 hours; the fact that personalized customer service is vital; and the need to address the way you need to reach younger consumers. The only thing that seems to be constant in today’s business world is that change is constant.
If you would like to learn more about these topics and how you can apply them to your small business, contact your local Wyoming SBDC Network adviser for no-cost, confidential assistance at www.wyomingsbdc.org.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers business expertise to help Wyoming residents think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their businesses. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email email@example.com, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.