By Scott Vollero
Not much moves faster than the business world. With rapidly changing tastes, increasingly large global customer bases and new styles, often the challenge for entrepreneurs is just trying to keep up. But entrepreneurs are a creative bunch and many have taken the bull by the proverbial horns and met the challenge with glee. Here are some the latest trends and how entrepreneurs are taking them on.
Small Brands Do What Big Brands Can’t
Big brands pay lots of money for advertising, market research and inventory. Small brands can’t do that, but they have a huge advantage over big brands in one significant way — they know their own customer base better than anyone.
“In fact, one of this year’s most important trends is entrepreneurs who seek out overlooked consumer segments and fill the gap.” — Scott Vollero
That’s exactly how Benji Wagner, co-founder of Poler Outdoor Stuff, came up with the idea of producing camping and outdoor clothing and marketing them directly to consumers.
The big brand outdoor apparel industry, think North Face and Patagonia, was originally founded to cater to mountain climbers and that’s pretty much where it stayed. Wagner saw an underserved market in weekend campers who don’t need a jacket that keeps them warm at 40 degrees below zero. They just want to stay warm around the campfire. Founded in 2011, the company has experienced double-digit growth every year since.
Poler found its niche in finding an unserved segment of the population. And a whole lot of entrepreneurs are following suit in the apparel industries as well as other business segments.
Online Products Make It to Store Shelves
Many niche companies began by selling products online. But increasingly, those same brands are appearing in stores that already carry big name brands. When entrepreneurs serve a previously unserved segment, their products don’t compete with the big names, but instead bring new customers in. For example, Poler apparel is now carried in over 500 other stores in 30 countries across the globe, including Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom.
Tiny Houses Aren’t Just Flash in the Pan
Removing clutter and small footprint living inspired the tiny house movement. What once looked like a flash in the pan has turned out to be exactly the opposite.
Tiny houses on wheels filled a gigantic need and the movement is here to stay. Students who need a place to live while going to college, families who like to have grandma close and people who travel have created a demand that’s nothing short of phenomenal.
And with the tiny house movement comes opportunity. Experts believe that the industry is ripe for entrepreneurs to step in with everything from tiny house decorating to perks for pets services.
It’s Not McDonald’s
Another up-and-coming trend takes on the giants of the fast food industry. Fast food is quick and easy but most menu choices are far from healthy. A few insightful entrepreneurs developed healthy fast food truck services and customers love them. Fresh juice, smoothies, salads and local ingredients give harried consumers a healthier choice.
Other trends shaking up the business world include delivery services that encompass a vast range of services from delivering dinner to gassing up your car, high-quality pet food and unique consulting services, such as ethical business consulting. There’s always something new on the horizon for the creative entrepreneur.
Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.