Small Business Labs

Using Digital Data For Economic Analysis

Small Business Labs

One of the biggest shifts going on in economics is the growing use of digital data for research. The Internet and cloud computing platforms are generating large amounts  of digital data on pretty much all areas of business and economics. In fact, the amount data is growing much faster than our ability to analyze and use it. In our work we've seen a clear shift to using digital data and away from our traditional sources - surveys and government produced data.

2015 145

Using Satellite Imagery for Investment Analysis

Small Business Labs

But they've expanded their product line to include investment analysis.    According to their analysis traffic fell in both August and September, so October showed a positive turn around (and yes, the pun was intentional if not good).  DigitalGlobe is a fascinating company.    According to their website: DigitalGlobe owns and operates the most agile and sophisticated constellation of high-resolution commercial earth imaging satellites.

2011 129

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Which Colleges Will Survive the Coronavirus

Small Business Labs

   Galloway backs up his chart with a detailed analysis of the 438 US universities and colleges ranked by US News & World Report's top National University and National College rankings.

2020 74

The Census Bureau's Small Business Pulse Survey is Back and Shows the Pandemic is Still Taking A Toll on SMBs

Small Business Labs

  The Census even provides some simply analysis and visualization tools so you can play with data and/or track it over time. The U.S. Census started a COVID-19 impact survey back in April to measure how the pandemic was impacting small businesses. 

2020 75

Global Interest in Coworking Booming

Small Business Labs

According to analysis by Deskmag, global interest in coworking is booming and at all time highs. The annual Global Coworking Unconference Conference  (GCUC) is this week in Berkeley, California. And it's good times for this industry. Key quote on from their article on their study of Google Trends data related to the search term "coworking": The worldwide searches for the term “coworking” on Google have reached their current peak this March.

2015 201

TechCrunch's 5 Startup Trends for the 2020s

Small Business Labs

While enterprise data infrastructure has improved at least the management of these databases, it’s still amazing how little data enriches our decisions, offers new avenues for analysis, and quite frankly, just makes our lives better on a day-to-day basis.   And because of this experience, we agree much more needs to be done to make the analysis of big data truly useful.  

2020 49

Work is Going Hybrid and it Will Have Major Economic and Societal Impacts

Small Business Labs

Surveys conducted in the six months  since most people started working from home show that less than 10% of Americans actually want to work remotely all the time, according to a new Barclays analysis. CNBC's JPMorgan will have staff cycle between office and remote work in a move that may remake Wall Street covers a plan by the bank to institute a rotational work location model that includes in-person and remote work. 

2020 61

Coworking and the Blending of Work and Life

Small Business Labs

But it's clear from our preliminary analysis of the results that work/life blending is common among coworking members. We quit using the term "work/life balance" many years ago. It simply doesn't fit the world most of us live in. Instead, we started using "work/life flexibility" This term fit what we were hearing in our interviews and seeing in our survey results. People consistently tell us they want to be able have some control over where, when and how they work.

2015 164

Is a War for Talent Starting in the On-Demand Economy?

Small Business Labs

Zen99's interesting analysis  of recruitment spend by on-demand economy companies, which we covered yesterday, shows the extent of the industry's recruiting efforts. It seems almost every day an on-demand economy company announces a big fund raise. For example, the delivery service Door Dash announced last week it raised an additional $40 million. 

2015 160

Deloitte on the Future of Work

Small Business Labs

Deloitte has become, in our opinion, one of the key go-to sources of information and analysis on the future of work. Their recent article Redefining work, workforces, and workplaces is a good example. In a relatively short article, it nicely synthesizes and explains "multiple converging trends and how they are already fundamentally changing all aspects of work."

2019 79

Major Shift in Thinking About Americans with Multiple Jobs

Small Business Labs

This is done by thorough data collection and rigorous analysis, both of which require a lot of time - often years in the case of the data.  Fusion's There are probably way more people in the 'gig economy' than we realize covers a major shift in thinking about how many people in the U.S.

2015 148

PwC's When Megatrends Collide

Small Business Labs

Strategy & Business , one of our favorite publications, has a good article on trend analysis. When Megatrends Collide is written by a trio of partners from the giant accounting and consulting firm PwC.    The article provides a primer on identifying and using megatrends. I can't say there's a lot of new material in the article, but it's a nice overview and summary of trend spotting and using trends in business decision making.

2015 143

Independent Work - Tastes Great, Less Filling

Small Business Labs

  As part of the 2014 State of Independence research we conducted a cluster analysis looking at why people become and stay independent workers (self-employed, freelancers, etc.).   Interestingly, our cluster analysis shows most independent workers who report being satisfied or highly satisfied with independent work are almost evenly split between the fulfilling work cluster and the flexibility cluster as their main motivation for being an independent worker.

2014 147

U.S. Census Pulse Survey Shows Small Businesses Still Struggling

Small Business Labs

  As the chart below (click to enlarge) from the Economic Innovation Group's analysis of the survey data shows , the percentage of small businesses expecting the return to normal operations to take longer than six months increased by 3 points over the prior week, reaching a near high of 41%. The U.S. Census Small Business Pulse Survey for the week of June 14th to June 20th shows small businesses continue to struggle.  

2020 48

Disruption in the Industy Analyst Industry

Small Business Labs

 There are several worth noting: Industry Analyst/Journalism Hybrid : These are firms that are augmenting or replacing their traditional advertising based business models by adding industry analysis and/or research services. BI Intelligence : provides data and analysis on a wide range of digital topics. They do more in-depth analysis than the typical news site and claim they are filling a gap between traditional journalism and industry analysis.

2014 140

Purpose and a Paycheck and the New Retirement

Small Business Labs

The book also contains an analysis of the economic impact of an aging society as well as policy suggestions on how to deal with ageism and other age related issues. Purpose and a Paycheck is a new book from Chris Farrell, a leading expert on retirement and workforce issues facing people over the age of 50. 

Small Business Closure Scenarios

Small Business Labs

Based on an industry by industry analysis (1), our base case estimate is 21% of U.S.    Notes: (1) Our analysis looked at industry level historical closure rates (see the U.S. employer small businesses will close in 2020 (2) (3).    This is about 1.2 million small businesses.      In our optimistic case, 14% close and in our pessimistic case, 34% close.  

2020 53

Insight, Innovation and Finding Aha's

Small Business Labs

But we consider two to be of the greatest importance to us in our trend spotting and analysis work. The Harvard Business Review article Where to Find Insight provides a good primer on how to spot trends and create business insight that can drive innovation. The article defines insight as: an imaginative understanding of an internal or external opportunity that can be tapped to improve efficiency, generate revenue, or boost engagement. 

2014 142

Great Visualization of the Changing Part-Time Workforce

Small Business Labs

This analysis shows fewer part-timers for economic reasons and a decline in the overall percentage of people working part-time. We really like interesting data visualizations here at Small Business Labs. And the folks at the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank have created a couple of great charts on part-time U.S. employment.    The Atlanta Fed chart below (click to enlarge) shows the percentage of people working part-time for economic and non-economic reasons.

2014 145

Brookings: Natural Gas Best Path to Low Carbon Future

Small Business Labs

Brookings Why the Best Path to a Low-Carbon Future is not Wind or Solar  provides a detailed analysis of why natural gas is the best choice for reducing carbon emissions associated with the production of electricity.   It's good see a group like this come out with a balanced analysis showing the advantages of natural gas - and more importantly the drawbacks of wind and solar - in the production of electricity.

2014 136

Top Ten Small Business Trends for 2012

Small Business Labs

  Big Data – the collection, manipulation and analysis of large datasets – allows large companies to look, act and compete like a small business by using data and analytics to provide personalized products and services.  Below is our fifth annual Top 10 Small Business Trends list.    Links to our prior lists are available here.      Our overall economic outlook is for continued moderate growth with U.S. GDP increasing 2.5%-3.0%. 

2012 207

Foreign Born in the US Workforce

Small Business Labs

  In March, the BLS released their annual analysis of the number and characteristics of foreign born U.S. workers.  Small Business Labs Tracking and Forecasting the Trends Impacting the Future of Small Business Welcome to Small Business Labs Small Business Labs, from Emergent Research , covers the key social, technology and business trends impacting small business.

2010 118

Why Everyone Wants Small Businesses as Customers

Small Business Labs

Enterprises have gotten so good at contract analysis and negotiation that it's very hard to wring profits out of this segment. One of the most interesting shifts we've seen since we started researching small businesses is the change in view of small businesses as a target market. A decade ago relatively few firms - large or small - considered small businesses a key target market. Today, lots of firms do.

2012 181

Bitcoin Gaining Funding, Market Momentum

Small Business Labs

Also released recently was Business Insider's analysis of the amount of venture capital flowing into the Bitcoin industry. CoinDesk, an online site that covers the Bitcoin industry, released their State of Bitcoin Q2 2014 report. It shows that despite setbacks and negative press, the Bitcoin industry continues its rapid expansion. The chart below (from CoinDesk's report) shows their summary of the key things that happened Bitcoin wise in Q2.

2014 134

What is Computational Anthropology?

Small Business Labs

It's also leading to more timely and accurate analysis and deeper bahavior insights. MIT Technology Review's The Emerging Science of Computational Anthropology  covers how digital data is creating new opportunities to study human behavior. Key quote: The increasing availability of big data from mobile phones and location-based apps has triggered a revolution in the understanding of human mobility patterns.

2014 143

Gartner's Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies

Small Business Labs

One of my favorite technology trend analysis and forecasting efforts is Gartner's annual Hype Cycle report.     The Gartner chart below summarizes the analysis for 2010.     Gartner analyzes hundreds of technologies and forecasts which will - and will not - enter the mainstream over the next 2-5 years. 

2010 178

Moonlighting: Booming or Declining?

Small Business Labs

  Pew's analysis is based on data from the U.S. Let me say up front our research indicates moonlighting- working 2 or more jobs - has become much more common in the U.S. over the past decade.  But not everyone agrees.   According to the Pew Research Center's article Moonlighting is less common now, despite what you might have heard , moonlighting has been declining for years.

2014 140

Study Says Over Half of Older Workers Suffer Involuntary Job Loss

Small Business Labs

Key quote on those who experienced involuntary job loss: "Only one in 10 of these workers ever again earns as much as they did before their employment setbacks, our analysis showed. ProPublica's If You’re Over 50, Chances Are the Decision to Leave a Job Won’t be Yours covers a fascinating study looking at the job paths of workers aged 50 or older. The study used data from the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study.

2019 69

Confirmation Bias and Decision Making

Small Business Labs

 They're also more willing to challenge our assumptions and analysis. Regular readers know survivor bias is our favorite bias here at Small Business Labs.  But if we had a 2nd favorite bias, it would be confirmation bias.  This is the tendency for people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. There's been a flurry of recent articles on confirmation bias: 1.

2012 175

What is a Spurious Correlation?

Small Business Labs

  It's beyond the scope of this blog to fully cover this topic, but there are two new books well worth reading that do cover it: Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data  does an excellent job of describing the basics around statistical causation and the limitations of statistical analysis in layman's terms. He successfully called the last presidential election and his book covers nicely covers the strengths and weaknesses of statistical analysis.

2013 149

Making Serendipity Happen

Small Business Labs

Lindsay's article points out the promising areas of serendipity research, with social network analysis likely the best way to attack this problem. Greg Lindsay's NY Times article Engineering Serendipity is a fascinating look at how companies are trying to increase the amount of serendipity that happens at their firms.

2013 149

How Many Employees Will Small Business Layoff?

Small Business Labs

Based on an industry by industry analysis of small business employment, our base case estimate is employer small businesses will layoff about 21 million employees through July (1). This is about 36% of those working for employer small businesses, which are SMBs with an owner/owners and at least one traditional (W2) full or part-time employee (2). 

2020 48

Barclay's 150 Trends for Investors to Watch

Small Business Labs

  But we still think it's a useful and excellent trend analysis piece and if you're interested in trends this report is well worth reviewing.  Barclays, a large global financial firm, recently released a report and chart covering 150 trends that they think investors should watch over the next decade. The trends cover six broad categories and they rank all 150 trends by their likelihood of happening and their potential impact. 

2020 43

Disruption and the Analyst Industry

Small Business Labs

  It is a analyst service that provides research reports and analysis on emerging technology.  Small Business Labs Tracking and Forecasting the Trends Impacting the Future of Small Business Welcome to Small Business Labs Small Business Labs, from Emergent Research , covers the key social, technology and business trends impacting small business.

2010 107

Labormetrics, Autonomy and Employee Tracking

Small Business Labs

The growing use of labormetrics - a buzz word that's a play on sabermetrics , baseball's term for the use of statistics and empirical analysis - is interesting to us on two levels. The Wall Street Journal's Memo to Mobile Workers: The Boss is Watching covers the growing use of labormetrics systems to monitor and track their employees.

2013 134

Behavioral Finance Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Small Business Labs

  The academic fields of behavioral finance and behavioral economics have changed this by including social, psychological and emotional factors in the analysis of economic and financial issues. Despite ample evidence this approach was wrong, until relatively recently the vast majority of economic and financial theory was based on the assumption that people always made rational decisions in these areas.

Big Data Not Always So Big

Small Business Labs

  Also, the experts' usage of Big Data made it clear they include data analysis when they use the term. One of the interesting things we found interviewing Big Data experts is how they define Big Data. Most articles and studies define Big Data as: a collection of datasets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using traditional database management tools or data processing applications.

2013 147

Most Millennials Think Starting a Business is Risky

Small Business Labs

  We're in the data analysis phase of a new study looking in more detail at how Americans view the risk associated with starting a business.  According to a report from the global financial giant UBS , 72% of Millennials say starting a business appeals to them. But at the same time, most say it's too risky to do. The chart below, which is from the same UBS report, shows most Millennials see starting a business as riskier than older cohorts do.

2018 65

Co-Living Startups Continue to Attract Funding

Small Business Labs

According to Crunchbase , an "analysis of residential-focused real estate startups uncovered a raft of companies with a shared and temporary housing focus that have raised funding in the past year or so." " The Crunchbase chart below shows startups some of the startups who've recently raised capital. The article points out that most of these startups are selling community in addition to housing. Key quote: " today’s shared housing startups are selling another vision.

2018 64

Small Businesses Want Tech Help From Accountants

Small Business Labs

We found small businesses are looking to their accountants for help with a mix of technology issues, including security, data analysis, application integration and general IT advice. Excellent article over on The Sleeter Group's site summarizing research on what small businesses think about their external accountants and what they want from them. Emergent Research (that's us) assisted the Sleeter Group with this research.

2013 132

Is Small Business Ownership the Great Equalizer?

Small Business Labs

  The analysis was based on data from the Small Business Success Index  (SBSI) produced by the University of Maryland and Network Solutions.      Our analysis of the SBSI data shows that established small businesses owned by women and minorities perform roughly the same (no statistically significant difference) in terms of competitiveness as small businesses owned by white men. 

2011 156

Renewable Energy to Pass Coal for U.S. Electricity Generation in 2021

Small Business Labs

According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) , renewable energy sources will pass coal in terms of U.S. electricity generation in 2021. As their chart below shows, each of the sources will produce around 800 billion kilowatts of electricity in 2021. Included in the IEEFA's definition of renewables are utility-scale biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind, plus small-scale solar.  

2021 43

The Top 15 Cities for Specialized Freelancers

Small Business Labs

Census non-employer business dataset for this analysis.  So it was a good choice for the analysis done in this study. Fiverr's Understanding the Impact of the Freelance Economy study focuses on what they call "specialized freelancers" These are independent workers who provide professional, technical, or creative services.    As the report chart below shows, there are about 2.5 million "specialized freelancers" in the U.S. 

2018 60