News & Views‌

6 entrepreneurial trends to watch for in 2017

January 4, 2017 - 12:00am
UNIBusiness Editor
Business planning

Originally posted Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 by UNI's Business and Community Services

For most, the start of the new year is like a control-alt-delete button on life; a way to quit stagnent goals and self-made promises and start fresh with a new list of to-do's. It's no different for entrepreneurs. If your 2017 lists consists of launching your own business, below are the most popular entrepreneurial trends for 2017.

1. Consumer collabs will continue to shape the business environment

The people are fueling the business environment, one idea at a time. Customers are inching towards grassroots collaborations for more products and services than ever. For example, with online crowdsourcing sites like GoFundMe, it's even easier for the smallest entrepreneurs to drum up funding for their business or idea. Crowdsourcing does more than raise money, it builds a community. It's likely that community innovation centers will increase in popularity and start sprouting in bigger numbers across the country. Don't believe us? Take a look at Mill Race; the Cedar Valley's connected and collaborative working space. Get ready to see more creative outlets, offices and working environments in 2017.

2. An increasing demand to connect the consumer

Entrepreneurs in 2017 might already have an idea lying in front of them, they just need to put the pieces together. Booming businesses this year had a notable thing in common; they connected people to what they wanted. Apps like Uber, GrubHub and AirBnB connect users to transportation, local restaurants and cheaper alternatives to hotels. Cheaper alternatives are actually a good thing to point out. Companies like these inexpensively connect consumers and often have little overhead of their own making them a wild success. The pieces are there, it's likely we'll see more entrepreneurs bridging connections in 2017.

3. Selling to millennials with more success

We know, another mention highlighting the wonders of the millennial, but don't count them out. Millennials are now the largest generation in the United States which means they're king when it comes to buying power. They're all too familiar with traditional and dare we say, boring, selling tactics. It's likely that entrepreneurs will continue to find new ways to connect to this generation and they'll probably start with hyper-local marketing. As millennials demand authenticity and home-grown, hyper-local marketing can provide a leg-up for local businesses to connect with the customers. Everything from coffee shops to farmers markets build their brand based on the community and are often considered neighborhood cornerstones by many millennials. As 2017 develops, it's likely entrepreneurs will follow suit as they begin to pinpoint their branding towards the biggest generation.

4. A demand for sites that are more than just mobile-friendly

Going mobile means websites must be fully operational on mobile platforms. Mobile-friendly sites might seem like a solution but they're not really made for easy mobile use. It's likely more entrepreneurs and small business owners will be making the shift to fully mobile sites. Here's a couple of things to keep in mind: keep things within 1-2 scrolls and make sure all text, images and content are adapted to the proper proportions. Data marketing makes it easier to target why users are going to your mobile in the first place. If entrepreneurs are able to quickly design and adapt their sites to mobile platform, it's likely they'll receive positive feedback from customers in the coming year.

5. Entrepreneurs doing more on their own

Entrepreneurs are known for wearing many hats, but in 2017 it's possible they'll have to wear a couple outfits. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are under an ever-increasing amount of pressure to make more of their marketing and branding material in-house. Graphic design sites like Canva are making it easier to develop on-brand social media graphics and flyers with modern flare. Canva continues to soar and has contributed to the DIY attitude of many up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Similar trends can be noted in how-to-guides for designing company logos and developing e-commerce platforms. The expectation for visually integrating marketing and branding is likely to drive a lot of DIY entrepreneurs in 2017.

6. Adapting to a growing virtual workforce

Entrepreneurs are familiar with the non-traditional worker. From part-time to freelancers, most businesses starting out usually take this route. It might be safe to say that entrepreneurs will adapt more quickly to the growing virtual workforce. Everyone is connected through modern tech without having to step foot in the door of an office. The concept is catching wind among some major corporations and is likely to continue. In 2017, small business and entrepreneurs are highly likely to begin or continue to use the virtual workforce for contract workers and specialty projects workers. Known for their dynamic and innovative working environment, entrepreneurs will quite possibly further this trend.

The UNI JPEC is now accepting applications for Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute (OEI) 2017. Submission deadline is March 10, 2017. For more information, email


UNI Business

UNIBusiness Editor

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