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Business Trends to Watch in 2017

By Bidisha Idnani Email By Bidisha Idnani
February 2017
Business Trends to Watch in 2017

This year, the face and type of businesses will change as a significant number of baby boomers exit the workforce while an even greater number of millennials enter it. With these forces guiding us, we anticipate the following trends in the upcoming year.

1. Time to Exit. As baby boomers age out of their companies and have less desire to work full time, we anticipate that more and more established businesses will be sold—especially the more traditional ones, such as manufacturing, real estate, and retail. The economic recovery will also fuel sales of younger enterprises as entrepreneurs cash in on businesses that have been set up in the last decade. For these reasons, the timing for sales of small- and mid-sized businesses will be crucial, as the market may be saturated over the next few years.

2. Technology for Everyone. The integration of technology into business operations shows no signs of slowing down, especially when it comes to Software as a Service (SaaS) and Do-It-Yourself Platforms. Business owners without tech savvy or resources can turn to an ever increasing number of platforms and apps designed to circumvent expensive IT consulting or outsourcing. Platforms such as WordPress and SquareSpace allow businesses to customize websites based on their needs without having to incur the costs and time associated with building a website from scratch. Additionally, systems like Square and Revel allow businesses to use an affordable point-of-sale system that is a fraction of the cost of traditional systems and that can be used in a variety of environments. Sales and customer service are other areas that are relying on easy-to-use software products.

3. Paperless Office. Despite the current ubiquity of cloud computing and shared servers, offices continue to keep a large amount of paper records. According to the Wall Street Journal, “America’s office workers print out or photocopy approximately one trillion pieces of paper” a year. Small- and medium-sized businesses have been the slowest to digitize their workflow, despite using shared servers. However, given the time and cost of printing, scanning, managing, and ultimately discarding paper, it is no surprise that offices will continue the push to go as paperless as possible.

4. Remote Training and Meeting with Employees. As predicted in 2016, working remotely continues to rise in popularity as many companies are reducing office space and employees are placing a premium on flexibility. In 2017, we will see more companies begin to hire and train employees remotely, particularly companies hiring sales and marketing personnel, software programmers, web developers, customer service representatives, and other service-related staff. This allows companies greater flexibility in hiring employees without regard to geographic location. Video conferencing programs such as Skype and Google Hangout will facilitate these long-distance relationships with employees and vendors.

5. Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding has gained incredible momentum as a method of alternative financing over the past ten years. It was estimated in 2015 that over 34 billion dollars were raised on these platforms worldwide. According to Forbes magazine in 2016, “globally crowdfunding is trending to surpass venture capital by the end of this year.” Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Gofundme and Indiegogo will continue to be a financing method for entrepreneurs, allowing companies to raise money for a new product while simultaneously gauging public interest in their product or service and creating brand recognition.

6. Millennials Entering Management. Currently, millennials are the largest segment of the U.S. population. With its oldest members entering their 30s, the millennial generation will be taking on more leadership and management positions. A lot has been said about millennials, including that they are entitled and lazy, yet millennials are reinventing the traditional workspace formula by rapidly embracing technological advancements, valuing flexibility, and using nonconventional work processes. According to Adam Torren, contributor for Entrepreneur.com, millennials “effortlessly adopt new technologies as they’re announced, therefore erasing the awkward adjustment phase every previous generation of offices has endured after a computer and equipment update.”


Business Insights is hosted by the Law Firm of Kumar, Prabhu, Patel & Banerjee, LLC (KPPBLaw.com).

Bidisha Idnani an associate attorney at KPPB Law and practices civil litigation.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice.

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