7 Trends Entrepreneurs Should Look Out For in 2017

By: Keith Krach

The entrepreneurial landscape is always changing. The scope of enterprise has expanded considerably in recent years, making it so that just about everybody knows a startup leader or two, and the number of startup leaders continues to multiply.

In fact, a report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) estimates there are as many as 27 million entrepreneurs in the US, and more than half the US working population believes there are favorable opportunities for new companies in the market. Moreover, low barriers to entry are encouraging more individuals to take the next step relatively soon after deciding to go into business.

So significant is this upswing that offshoots of the traditional entrepreneur have begun to emerge, including so-called “intrapraneurs,” “solopreneurs,” and “betapreneurs.” Intrapraneurs, like entrepreneurs, have a willingness to take on risk in order to achieve goals, the only difference being that they do so from their position within a company. Solopreneurs refer to the unique group of entrepreneurs who have opted for the one-man-show approach, which comes with its own set of pros and cons. Finally, betapreneurs are those who approach innovation by means of trial and error.

If, like many people, you’re debating whether to take the next step and launch your own business, you need to know the landscape. Here are a few trends in entrepreneurism that are expected to gain ground in 2017.

1. More marketers will take up entrepreneurship.

The skillset of a marketer tends to translate well to a wide variety of industries. Above all, these professionals know how to make products and services sell, and as a result, the successful ones often play a major role in growing a company. Equipped with the confidence gained from this experience, marketers are more frequently pursuing their own business interests. In addition, their backgrounds allow for building up new ventures more quickly and positioning them for sustainable futures.

2. Quality will take precedence over quantity.

Over the past decade, consumers have become more and more concerned about companies’ social and environmental impacts. This concern shows no sign of abating. The question for entrepreneurs to answer will be, “How does this good or service ultimately give back to or enhance society?” Entrepreneurs are increasingly thinking beyond just themselves, their business partners, and their investors when it comes to the question of who should benefit from a company’s work.

3. Women will make greater strides as entrepreneurs.

Women account for more and more entrepreneurs in the United States. About 29% of US business owners are women, and the number of women-owned firms has increased by 68% from a decade ago. In addition, by 2020, two-thirds of college graduates in advanced economies will be women. We should expect the number of female entrepreneurs to increase even more, both in the US and around the world.

4. The sharing economy will continue to expand.

Although collaborative commerce is not a new phenomenon, it ranks among the fastest-growing sectors of the market. Beyond inspiring platforms (such as Uber and Airbnb) that allow people to share resources, the principles of the sharing economy may also extend to the way companies imagine and even manufacture products. In addition, we may see more startups and small companies sharing ownership of infrastructure like IT servers and office space. All of this reflects what one author calls “we-commerce.”

5. Continued shift in focus to meaningful profits.

Technology introduces new possibilities for business daily, and new markets emerge almost as frequently. Given the ever-diminishing limits on what can and cannot be done in business, more people will find more ways to align their passions and professions. Entrepreneurs will be looking for ways to earn a living that provide personal satisfaction and meaning, as well as financial success.

6. Greater emphasis placed on customer experience.

Building a strong brand that sticks with consumers requires a certain level of forward thinking from entrepreneurs. Regardless of the product or the service, customers are beginning to expect, and rely on, “Plan B” support for when things go wrong — for example, when their phone battery dies while they’re making a purchase on a website, or when they lose Internet connectivity in the middle of a transaction. The companies that achieve the greatest success will be those that have the people and the technology in place to help remedy these types of situations immediately.

7. Technology will introduce even more freedom.

Even in an age of ubiquitous technological innovation, more room exists for growth. Experts expect wearable technology to continue to increase in popularity, making the entrepreneur of 2017 more connected and, consequently, productive.