Small Business Labs

The Growing Use of Online Talent Marketplaces

Small Business Labs

One of the more interesting findings from the MBO Partners State of Independence study is how much the use of online talent marketplaces has increased over the past 6 years.

2017 73

The Rise of Smart Farms

Small Business Labs

Tech startups are increasingly targeting agriculture. This is leading to a range of new companies and technologies focused on improving farm efficiencies and creating smarter farms.

2017 86

Trending Sources

The Business of Work/Life Integration

Small Business Labs

A growing number of firms are offering services and products based on the trend towards work/life integration. This is the shift towards work, home and life becoming increasingly blended.

2017 75

Top 10 Small Business Trends for 2017

Small Business Labs

This year we release our 10 th annual Top 10 Small Business Trends list.    A quick review of the lists illustrates an important forecasting point. While change appears to happen very quickly, trends generally take a long time to become mainstream.

2017 117

The Expanding High Skill Gig Economy

Small Business Labs

More and more professions that require advanced degrees or highly specialized skills are joining the gig and/or on-demand economy. A good example is law.    Crain's The gig economy comes to law  covers the expanding use of contract lawyers.

2017 77

Upwork and the Paradox of Place

Small Business Labs

The average distance between buyers and sellers of services on the talent marketplace  Upwork  is over 1,000 miles. If you look at transactions where the buyers and sellers are both in the U.S., 96% of the buyers and sellers are more than 50 miles apart.

2016 106

Very Small Companies Create a Lot of Jobs

Small Business Labs

Over the past three decades companies less than 1 year old with 1 to 4 employees have averaged creating more than 1 million jobs per year.    That's a lot of jobs.    Less surprisingly, 86% of all new employer companies have between 1-4 employees.

2016 115

More Industries Moving to the On-Demand Economy

Small Business Labs

The On-Demand Economy is commonly defined as the economic activity created by online marketplaces that fulfill customer demand via the provisioning of goods and services immediately or much faster and/or easier than traditional firms. 

2017 89

The Rise of Solopreneur Manufacturing Companies

Small Business Labs

The Wall Street Journal's Big Growth in Tiny Businesses nicely covers a trend we'e been following for years - the growth of solopreneur, non-employer manufacturing businesses.

2017 98

Growing Direct Selling Industry Employs Over 20 Million Americans

Small Business Labs

According to the Direct Selling Association (DSA), about 20.2 million Americans are involved in direct selling the U.S. This is up from 15.8 million in 2010.    Also known as multi-level marketing, retail sales by direct selling companies increased from $28.6 billion to $36.1 billion.

2017 77

Why Coworking is Booming

Small Business Labs

Back Channel's The “Work from Home” Dream Doesn’t Work  provides an excellent overview of the trends and shifts driving the coworking movement. Simply put, the article explains why coworking is working.

2017 92

The Multstage Life and Self-Employment in the On-Demand Economy

Small Business Labs

Recent research by future of work expert Lynda Gratton  suggests due to longer life spans the traditional life stages - education, work and retirement - no longer work.

2017 82

Highly Skilled Self-Employed Driving the Growth of the Gig Economy

Small Business Labs

The Resolution Trust, a left leaning U.K. think tank, released a study showing that 60 per cent of the growth in self-employment in Great Britain since 2009 has been in what they call the "privileged" sector.

2017 83

Most Small Businesses Started by Investing Less than $30,000

Small Business Labs

Most small businesses in the U.S. were started or acquired with less than $30,000 in invested capital. To be more precise, the median small business was started with about $27,000.    The chart below is based on data from the U.S. Census 2014 Survey of Entrepreneurs.

2016 102

Aging Baby Boomers Providing and Utilizing On-Demand Economy Services

Small Business Labs

Older Americans are increasing turning to the on-demand economy for both work and access to services.

2017 61

Mapping Key Emerging Technologies

Small Business Labs

Maps are a popular way of displaying emerging technologies and how important they are and/or how quickly they will impact business and society. Almost all technology analyst firms produce maps. They do this to try to display complex information in a simple, digestible form.

2017 52

Psychographic Profiles and Working Yourself to Death in the Gig Economy

Small Business Labs

A recent ad campaign by Fiverr  attracted a lot of attention, most of which was negative. But the ad and reactions to it nicely illustrates the risk and attitudinal profile differences between independent workers (freelancers, self-employed, etc.) and those who aren't. 

2017 73

How Trumpcare Will Impact Self-Employment

Small Business Labs

The quick summary is self-employed who are younger or have higher incomes will likely be better off under the Republican proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA, a.k.a. Trumpcare). Self-employed who are older or have lower incomes will likely be worse off.

2017 73

Staffing Industry Research Firm Says There are 44 Million Gig Workers

Small Business Labs

The Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA)  recently released a study showing that nearly  30% of the U.S. workforce are gig workers. This works out to be about 44 million Americans. They also found that contingent workers represented $792.4 billion in staffing buyer spend.

2016 99

The On-Demand Economy Driving Growth of Nonemployer Businesses

Small Business Labs

The U.S. Census  released their 2015 data on non-employer businesses last week.    Overall, the number of U.S. nonemployer businesses continued it's steady growth, increasing by 2.1% to 24.3 million from 2014 to 2015. Since

2017 57

Why People Work in Coffee Shops and Why This Means Coworking Will Continue to Grow

Small Business Labs

I ran across a really interesting post in Medium titled What are People Working on in Coffee Shops ? The title is a bit misleading. It's really about what people are working on in a single coffee shop in Venice Beach, a hip and trendy L.A. beach community just north of Santa Monica. 

2016 108

The Surprising Demographics of Small Business Owners

Small Business Labs

Because of the extensive media coverage of young tech entrepreneurs, most people think the average small business owner is a 20 something techie who needs a shower.    But as the chart below shows, the median American small business owner is a bit over 50 years old. 

2016 104

The Need for More and Better Future of Work Data

Small Business Labs

There's long been a need for our government agencies to collect more timely and better data on the the forces impacting jobs and work.

2017 64

The Rise of the Independent Professional Working for Businesses

Small Business Labs

Getting lost in the various debates around the "gig economy" is the size and growth of the segment of independent workers who provide professional services to businesses. 

2016 117

"As a Freelancer My Career is a Constant Classroom."

Small Business Labs

One of the more interesting findings from the Intuit On-Demand Economy (ODE) study is the large number of people who say learning new skills is a key reason they work in the ODE.    Across the entire sector, 17% of ODE workers listed this as a reason.

2016 94

Etsy Makes it Easy for Sellers to Move Off Etsy

Small Business Labs

One of the challenges online marketplaces face is sellers often do their best to move their customers off the marketplace to their own ecommerce site. They do this for two main reasons. First, they want to avoid the fees associated with selling through a 3rd party marketplace.

2016 106

The Rise of Coworking and the Variable Cost Economy

Small Business Labs

A key reason we started following coworking back in 2007 was it provided a flexible alternative to the traditional long term commercial office lease. Coworking turned a fixed cost (long term lease) into a variable cost (month to month membership). 

2017 66

The Rise of Employee Free Businesses

Small Business Labs

It used to be hiring employees was the goal of almost all small business owners. This is no longer true. 

2016 92

Book Review: The Gig Economy

Small Business Labs

The holidays were quite hectic this year. But we were able to carve out some time and read  The Gig Economy: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want.   And we're glad we did.

2017 77

Smart Machines Starting to Offer Business Advice

Small Business Labs

ZDNet's Intuit plans big digital expansion into small business markets with apps and big data  covers a topic we find fascinating - the use of machine learning and big data to develop algorithms and "smart machines" that provide business advice.

2016 89

Coworking Has Crossed the Chasm

Small Business Labs

The Coworking Industry is an interesting white paper by coworking industry veteran Drew Jones, who is a partner in the boutique coworking consultancy OpenWork.

2016 97

Corporate Layoffs Make Independent Work Look More Secure

Small Business Labs

Cisco announced last week it's laying off 5500 employees. This is about 7% of their workforce. Cisco  Cisco also reported quarterly earnings of $2.8 billion on sales of $12.64 billion.    Most would consider quarterly earnings of $2.8

2016 87

The Growing Role of Small Business Coaches

Small Business Labs

We recently conducted a study in partnership with the sales and marketing automation company  Infusionsoft on  how small businesses define and achieve success. We were surprised by one of the findings. This is the extent to which successful small businesses are using coaches.

2016 87

GM Drives into the Gig Economy

Small Business Labs

General Motors recently announced a program called "Gig" that rents their new all electric car, the Bolt, to freelance drivers for $229 per week. 

2017 55

What President Trump Means for the Gig Economy

Small Business Labs

President-elect Trump has not talked much about the gig economy. Because of this, it's not clear where he stands on the various issues facing this sector of the economy. But based on what we know today, it's likely the Trump administration is going to be very gig economy friendly.

2016 78

LinkedIn on the Power of Weak Ties - Implications for Coworking & Freelancers

Small Business Labs

In 1973 Stanford professor Mark Granovetter described the powerful role that "weak ties" – links among people who are not closely associated - play in spreading ideas, finding jobs and helping people join together for action.

2016 86

Using On-Demand Economy Platforms to Start and Build Businesses

Small Business Labs

One of the more interesting findings from the Intuit On-Demand Economy study is the various ways on-demand economy platforms are being used to start and build small businesses.

2017 64

Intuit Future of Small Business Report

Small Business Labs

Last week Intuit released the Slideshare presentation  The Future of Small Business. It covers 5 broad trends that are driving the growth of the small business sector of the economy.

2016 76

Top 10 Signs Coworking is Entering the Mainstream

Small Business Labs

The annual U.S.    Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC)  was held last week in Los Angeles. Based on what we saw, heard and learned, coworking is entering the mainstream. Our top 10 reasons why are: 1.

2016 89

The London Times on the Future of Work

Small Business Labs

The London Times has an interesting special section on the future of work that was developed by the marketing content agency Ranconteur.    The report covers a lot of ground. Everything from automation to physiological testing is discussed. 

2016 72