Most experts agree that the record-setting job losses of late will drive more people into self-employment, as has happened during past recessions. Meanwhile, New York State already has one of the largest populations of microbusinesses (fewer than five employees) in the nation, according to statistics published by the Small Business Association (SBA).
Intuit (makers of Quicken and QuickBooks) has a "Future of Small Business Series
," ongoing research sponsored by Intuit and led by the Institute for the Future and Emergent Research. "The research looks at the significant trends affecting small business and entrepreneurship over the next decade."
I think this can apply to nonprofits, as well. The lines between the two are blurring in some cases. (Think social entrepreneurs.) At least it is in from my perspective.
(FWIW, these are some reasons why I'm starting BEAHIVE — and why the response has been so encouraging.)
Anyway, the series has a new report
out that many in this group might find interesting: "New research shows that innovation will be essential for small businesses over the next decade as they try to thrive and survive by seizing new opportunities, improving their competitive position and providing more value to their customers."
The report identifies six factors that help fuel innovation. Note that BEAHIVE addresses especially the final one: "information sharing and collaboration."
Compared to large corporations, small businesses have a number of innovation advantages that enable them to more readily identify opportunities, quickly react to changing conditions and remain competitive. Their smaller size makes it easier and cheaper to try new approaches faster than larger businesses. These six enablers include:
Personal passion: Personally invested, most small business owners are willing to try new approaches to make their business more successful.
Customer connection: A deep and direct relationship with the market and customers helps small businesses understand customer needs, identify new opportunities, and fix problems quickly and efficiently.
Agility and adaptation: Unlike large corporations, small businesses can quickly adapt to changing market conditions and implement new business practices.
Experimentation and improvisation: When pursuing new opportunities, many small business owners and managers aren't afraid to experiment and improvise, accepting failure as part of the path to success.
Resource limitations: Small businesses are adept at doing more with less. And these resource constraints lend to their innovative mindset.
Information sharing and collaboration: Small businesses traditionally rely on strong social networks to share information and inspire innovative thinking.