What tech trend do you anticipate will dominate the startup world in 2013? What can SBOs do to prepare?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Pay Attention to Payments
Stripe is growing in popularity for payments because of its simplicity in setup and integration. It’s a fantastic platform, but SBOs need to evaluate their customer base before converting due to its limitations (i.e. U.S. only). Depending on the business, you may want to implement it as an alternative first to test your users’ preferences. In general, pay attention to payments in 2013.
2. Mobile Marketing
The tech trend that I anticipate dominating the startup world this year is mobile marketing. The best way that a small business owner can prepare for this is to investigate the topic, find out what they need to know to reach their customers, and set aside funds for this marketing objective.
3. Pinterest-Like Design
Pinterest’s success has not only sparked a bunch of knock-offs, but also Facebook, Twitter, and others are launching features and more that mimic Pinterest’s pinboard-like design interface. And it’s only the beginning. If people liked newsfeed copies before, the unlimited scrolling and photo-driven web design thing will dominate 2013.
4. Content Curation
Despite popular belief, middlemen aren’t dead. When you consider Reddit, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Facebook (with Facebook’s Edgerank) or newer startups like Bombfell, you realize it’s all about curation. It’s about the ability to overcome information overload by providing your customers with the most relevant information or product. More startups will emerge as the experts in their field, disrupting the industry. To prepare, become an expert in your own industry, fine tune your algorithms or even better, hire experts who will deliver hand curated content to your clients.
5. Mobile Apps
In 2013, it will be cheaper and faster than ever to create world-class mobile apps for every platform. Two years ago, the creation of a mobile app required a ton of money and 6-12 months of lead time, but now companies are churning them out in 4-8 weeks and for a fraction of the cost. This shift will finally make app creation within the reach of small business owners.
6. Domain Name Takeover
2013 will be a big year for domain names. Having a good domain name is critical to ensuring credibility and attracting the right customers. As a small business owner, finding a category-defining domain name that best fits your company is key. Do this before only the Fortune 500 companies can afford them.
7. Marketing That Makes Real Money!
“Social media” has been big these past few years. But with Facebook’s IPO fizzling amid lackluster earnings, companies are starting to realize that their marketing dollars still need to provide a return on investment. 2013 is going to be all about proving ROI on marketing. Not more “eyeballs” or “likes,” but how many more people bought your company’s product as a result of your ad.
8. Improved Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs will be democratized in 2013, allowing small businesses and startups to use tools previously reserved for big companies. Startups need to figure out a way to engage their fans and take advantage of customer loyalty. Following a me-too model — “here’s a discount” — will not be enough. Startups need to learn what emotionally moves their fans!
9. Live Streaming Video
Teleconference calls and webinars will be replaced by live, streaming video. The most user friendly, mobile friendly, and engagement friendly medium for growing community and sharing your expertise is through live video. Prepare by getting comfortable with getting yourself and your products infront of the camera through recorded video.
10. Remote Delivery of Service
The continuing trend of remote delivery of service will continue to impact both the startup world and the economy in general. In the 80s and 90s, we had enough foresight to see how the service sector would become a dominant employer of Americans. What is interesting is that our assumption was that this meant everyone would be working for McDonalds or engaged in other low paid service jobs.