Small Business Labs

The Rise of Smart Farms

Small Business Labs

Plant Data/Analysis : systems that help farmers understand plant composition (microbial makeup, genetic expression, etc.) Tech startups are increasingly targeting agriculture.

2017 86

Coworking Forecast - 26,000 Spaces and 3.8 Million Members by 2020

Small Business Labs

How coworking is defined is an important attribute of any coworking industry analysis. Coworking is booming. The industry is growing and hybridizing so fast , we're having a hard time keeping up with it. 

2020 124

Trending Sources

Using Big Data and Machine Learning to Improve Small Business Lending

Small Business Labs

According to an analysis by Intuit of its early borrowers: 46 percent of QuickBooks Capital customers had never applied for a loan before.

2017 36

Psychographic Profiles and Working Yourself to Death in the Gig Economy

Small Business Labs

  It pushes against bureaucratic overthinking, analysis-paralysis, and excessive whiteboarding.  A recent ad campaign by Fiverr  attracted a lot of attention, most of which was negative.

2017 73

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.

Strong Job Market Pulling Independent Workers Back to Traditional Jobs

Small Business Labs

The MBO Partners 2016 State of Independence in America report was released this week. This  This is the 6th annual edition of this study (Emergent Research works with MBO Partners on this study).

2016 72

After a Decade of Strong Growth, Craft Brewing Industry Shows Signs of Slowing

Small Business Labs

Their analysis shows an estimated 75% of the US drinking age population resides within 10 miles of a brewery. In 2016, a new craft or micro brewery opened in the US on average every 11 hours. Pretty amazing. Also, the roughly 5,300 U.S. craft and micro breweries produced 24.6

2017 40

Gartner's Top Trends for 2017

Small Business Labs

Key quote on what this means: Employees, already familiar with behavior influencing through contextual algorithms on consumer sites such as Amazon, will be influenced by an emerging set of “persuasive technologies” that leverage big data from myriad sources, mobile, IoT devices and deep analysis.

2017 48

What are Smombies?

Small Business Labs

roads spiking; cellphones eyed : Pedestrian deaths are climbing faster than motorist fatalities, reaching nearly 6,000 last year - the highest total in more than two decades, according to an analysis of preliminary state data released Thursday.

2017 37

The Drivers of Contingent Workforce Use by Enterprises

Small Business Labs

Spend Matters analyst Andrew Karpie's article Upwork Launches Talent Services Division to Enable Enterprise Use of Online Freelance Workforce provides an excellent analysis of this new effort. We attended Upwork's Work Without Limits Executive Summit last week.

2017 31

Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill Likely Bad for the Independent Workerforce

Small Business Labs

The quick summary of our analysis of the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill on independent workers is: Low and moderate income independent workers would likely be worse off due to the reductions in medicaid and elimination of subsidies provided by the ACA (Obamacare). Normally the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) does an analysis of the impact of new bills.   The Kaiser Family Foundation's analysis shows the impacts of the bill on a state by state basis.

2017 23

The Five Faces of the On-Demand Economy

Small Business Labs

These profiles were developed using cluster analysis to group ODE workers who share similar motivations and attitudes.  Last week Intuit released The Five Faces of the On-Demand Economy , which covers 5 common profiles of on-demand workers.

2016 52

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.

2014 64

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.

2014 55

Study: Gig Economy Growing Fast, Creating Mostly Part-Time Jobs

Small Business Labs

For another analysis of these studies, see Bloomberg View's Your Uber Driver Probably Has Another Job.

2016 36

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 70

Key Smart Manufacturing Technologies

Small Business Labs

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) : Refers to the use of computer systems to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of designs of parts, final products, and even entire production systems or factory environments.

2016 25

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 33

Three of Our Favorite Trend Sources

Small Business Labs

  We've also found cross discipline trend analysis is much more powerful and accurate than focusing on a single or small set of trend areas.  Our job is tracking and forecasting small business trends. As part of this task, we keep up with a lot of trends which at first glance don't seem directly related to small business.    We do this for two reasons. 

2011 56

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.

2015 30

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 31

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 36

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.

Consulting Firm Thought Leadership Sites We Follow

Small Business Labs

We get a lot of questions about what information sources we use in our trend analysis work.    A couple of months ago we posted on our favorite trends sources.    We also follow several of the major consulting firm thought leadership sites.      For example, yesterday's post on trends featured infromation from Bain and Company and tuesday's post had info from the Boston Consulting Group. 

2011 40

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.

2014 25

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.

2013 30

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 33

Is the Venture Capital Industry Broken?

Small Business Labs

And He Is Us" is a damning analysis of Venture Capital as an asset class and the Venture Capital industry in general. According to the Kauffman Foundation, the VC industry is very broken. Their report "We Have Met the Enemy. The news here isn't that the VC industry is broken.  This has been actively discussed for years.   The news here is who's saying it's broken.   The Kauffman Foundation has long been a close friend of the VC industry.

2012 31

The Growing Role of Analytics in College Basketball

Small Business Labs

  But what is new is the amount of data being collected and the sophistication of the analysis.  Meteorologist Becomes a Go-To Guy from the New York Times covers a free college basketball statistics website used by many college coaches.    The site and the analytics were developed by a Utah based meteorologist as a hobby a few years ago.    Using data in sports is not new. 

2011 31

The Tablet Revolution - Tablets Taking Over

Small Business Labs

Journalism.org's How People Use Tables and What it Means for the Future of News has an excellent analysis of what it means for news and new organizations.  In case you've been living in a cave the last year or so, the use tablet computers (and especially Apple iPads) is surging.

2011 31

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.

2015 18

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.

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.

2005 18

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.

Thomas Friedman's Darwinian Theory of Everything

Small Business Labs

" One theme we're constantly struck by in our trends research and analysis is how Darwinian the world of work and small business has become - and how it's likely to become even more Darwinian in the future.  If you haven't read Thomas Friedman's piece A Theory of Everything (Sort Of) in Sunday's NY Times, I suggest you do.    I don't think Friedman covers new ground in the article. 

The State of Telework in the U.S.

Small Business Labs

  In addition to insights and analysis, the report is full of interesting data. One of our "go to" sources for insights and information on distributed work and telework are Kate Lister and Tom Hamish from the Telework Research Network     In addition to deep knowledge on the topic, they are also data intensive - much appreciated here at Small Business Labs. 

2011 23

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.

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 22

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 13

Benefit Declines Makes Self-Employment More Attractive

Small Business Labs

Most people looking at becoming self-employed or starting a small business go through a risk/reward analysis of their choices.  We've found that corporate benefits tend to be overvalued in this analysis.     There are a lot of other factors people include in their analysis - work/life balance, job security, advancement potential, social factors, etc. - It's no surprise that companies continue to cut workplace benefits.