What's trending for small business in 2014?
According to Crain's Chicago Business it's big data, social media, engaging employees, and hiring freelancers and contractors.
Thanks to reporter Meg McSherry Breslin for including my company's Hollywood casting approach in the "Small Biz Big Trends" feature.
That's me at the photo shoot for the feature in Crian's Chicago Business - what a cold and snowy day!
How about you? What are you watching out for in 2014?
Small Biz, Big Trends for 2014
Here's a clip from the feature intro . . .
Each year, Crain's asks small-business leaders and entrepreneurs to sketch out the big-picture trends likely to affect just about everyone in the year ahead. This year, there's a whole new set of predictions, many of them with a hopeful spin for entrepreneurs.
TREND: INFO MATTERS
Ask many small-business owners if they're incorporating “big data” and you may get some blank stares. That's is about to change — and dramatically.
TREND: TAKING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK SERIOUSLY
You're sick to death of social media, yes? Well, you're going to have to put up with it anyway. Fortunately, there are new tools that can make it easier.
TREND: ENGAGING WORKERS
"A happy employee is one who's productive and champions the company and gives 110 percent," as one observer puts it. It means loosening the reins a bit, giving employees more leeway.
TREND: HELLO, HIRED GUNS - Barbara Rozgonyi CoryWest Media
Startups and entrepreneurs gravitate to freelancers because they can slowly add to their labor pool without incurring a lot of fixed costs.
Small Business Trends 2014 Hollywood Casting
Here's a clip from the "Your Rivals' Staffs are Being Made to Order" article.
Barbara Rozgonyi, who founded CoryWest Media, a social media marketing and public relations firm in Glen Ellyn, uses what she dubs a “Hollywood casting” approach to hiring, bringing in freelancers whose expertise meets the very specific needs of her clients.
For one client, Ms. Rozgonyi hired four consultants with different backgrounds to provide a “surround-sound approach” to deliver a variety of services: customer surveys, communication plans, public relations and branding.
“It allows for you to have lower overhead so your customers can get better pricing and structure,” she says. “If a client comes in and says, 'We need four or five people,' I can pull in some who are full time and others who can come in and out. It's like an orchestra. Sometimes you hear the triangle, and other times you can hear the whole piece.”
Small companies are “less committed to commitment,” says Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research in Lafayette, Calif. Roughly 25 to 40 percent of the U.S. workforce works on a contingent basis. But by 2020, more than 40 percent will be freelancers or contractors, Mr. King predicts.
For more information about a global freelance movement, check out my coverage from Social Media Week Berlin.
Over to You
When do you incorporate freelancers or contractors into your projects?