6 Business Trends Startup Founders Can Leverage

Startups across industries will need to evaluate their plans to see if they're positioned to capitalize on these trends.

Photo: Matt "Handshakin" Holmes, Creator of Handshakin Video Series; Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Matt “Handshakin” Holmes, Creator of Handshakin Video Series; Source: Courtesy Photo

There are a few emerging trends ahead for startups in years to come, according to Thomas Oppong of AllTopStartups.com. Oppong predicts in the coming years a few waves will come crashing in. Some startups will ride those waves to success, others will drown in them.

These trends include improvements and opportunities in:

  • Big Data

  • Data Privacy

  • Analytics Automation

  • Content Marketing

  • Freelance

  • Payments

Not only will there be more startups popping up in these sectors, startups across industries will need to evaluate their plans to see if they’re positioned to capitalize on these trends. Here’s a deeper look at how to make each trend work for your business:


  1. Big data or bust?

    Once upon a time, only the big boys could afford to benefit from big data. Recently, though, the cat’s out of the bag and a growing number of firms and companies are capturing and selling data at rates even the little guys can get in on. Part of this trend stems from how open people are on social media sites and profiles, and willingness to interact with ads and promotional platforms.

    Sophisticated data can eliminate demographic guessing games and help companies hone in on target markets with ease. Although the general population has rampant suspicions about how their data is collected, most people can easily recognize and understand the practical benefits of big data.

  2. Better safe than sorry.

    In recent years we’ve seen more than a fair share of data security fails, for startups and established players. From black hat hackers to government data breaches, consumers and organizations faced greater risks and liability in years prior. Things will likely be just as tough as more businesses invest in cloud and cloud-hybrid technologies. What are your biggest data security risks? Or will your startup be the one to capitalize on the opportunity to provide premium security features?

  3. Building better dashboards.

    Up until now, most analytics dashboards are active and dynamic, requiring the user to manipulate and mine data. Soon these dashboards will become more passive and intuitive. Instead of you operating the platform to pull data, the platform will work on autopilot (in the background) and alert you when significant metric changes occur. This will give you greater data control in real-time. In fact, this trend towards increased analytics automation will make it’s power known across disciplines — especially in marketing-related functions.

  4. Content marketing is here to stay.

    Content marketing has been in the limelight these days and it’s here to stay. Content marketing is a key component of inbound marketing, which is effective not only at producing more leads, but also by doing it cheaper than traditional outbound marketing and advertising. In fact, Hubspot reports, “Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound leads.” This saves companies money in annual advertising costs! Traditional smaditional.

  5. Just in Time (JIT) workforce.

    Traditionally, JIT is an “inventory strategy companies employ to increase efficiency and decrease waste by receiving goods only as they are needed in the production process, thereby reducing inventory costs” (Investopedia).

    Startups, always pressed for resources, will start to more readily apply this strategy to their human resources. Traditional workforce models boasting cost-prohibitive salaries, benefits and employee perks will continue to wane. Today’s startups invest as much as they can in building a founding team, securing contracts and leveraging a freelance workforce to fill in the gaps.

    The reality is: virtual assistants are as effective as receptionists. Freelance sites are a click away; as you shop specialized contractors at surprisingly affordable rates. Which roles within your startup could be supplemented with a freelance team versus a traditional staff? An estimated 33% of the American workforce, 53 million, are freelancing. According to Freelancers Union, “The new economy is already here — and it’s driven by freelancers.”

  6. Payment methods are evolving.

    Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies (i.e., a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure transactions and control the creation of new units), have revolutionized the concept of digital payments.

    Mobile payments are on the rise and even retailers have started to set up in-store payment systems that allow PayPal payments. Gone are the days where any merchant account will do. Today, there’s a greater need for diversity. Be on the lookout for all-in-one payment systems that update regularly so you can say yes no matter what alternative payment system customers throw your way!


This article has been edited and condensed.

Matt “Handshakin” Holmes is the founder of the Handshakin Video Series. He claims entrepreneurs succeed through immersion in an entrepreneurial community, gathering feedback with industry experts, and building relationships with world-class mentors. After almost a decade living in Denver and over half a decade of launching startups, the Handshakin Video Series was created to interview Colorado’s most successful entrepreneurs on how Handshakin played into their success. Headquartered in a city that Forbes calls the second best place to launch your startup, he also founded the Handshakin Startup Pre-accelerator and organizes Startup Denver. This post originally appeared on the authors blog. Connect with @handshakin on Twitter.


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