A look at small business in 2016 | Chamber Corner

By Kim Voetberg | Sep 28, 2016

At the start of 2016, experts were telling us that the small business landscape would see some remarkable changes (both positive and challenging), and to prepare for both.

Depending on who you were, that forecast was viewed as exciting – or freakishly scary.

Now, as we edge into the final quarter of the year, here are the outcomes in various segments of the business world:

Small, entrepreneurial businesses found that they could leverage their marketplace when they collaborated with vendors, utilized marketing methods, such as online media outlets, and used payment options such as Square, Bitcoin and so forth.

They also recognized they didn’t have the capital to invest in setting up huge operations for data. Instead, Cloud usage became a great option.

The caveat, however, was that there was a risk involved, and small businesses had a smaller window in which to recover if something went awry.

One of the areas that small businesses had to tackle in order to stay competitive was shipping.

Large companies such as Amazon had “free shipping/same day service” down to a science. With their expanded marketing reach, they had the luxury of offering such to their customers, based on the sheer volume of product going in and out of their warehouses.

Conversely, small businesses had to be creative and find unique but usable shipping technologies that might not have exactly mirrored the large company’s benefits, but offered their customer a great “buying experience.”

And in this day and age, and for those patrons, that counted.

It appears that today’s consumer has changed as well. With the influx of Millennials and Gen Xers now numbering more than the previously dominant Baby Boomers on the business front, businesses have had to change their approach for enticing loyalty and longevity in their customer base.

It was noted that Millennials spent nearly $200 billion (yes, it’s a “b”) last year, and a significant amount of their purchases were made online. The takeaway from that was to make sure businesses had an online presence that was both user friendly and content rich.

There is risk with every venture, but along with that are benefits.

In today’s economy, small businesses have much to applaud, with the resurgence of a more viable spending dollar, better access to credit, great resources such as the Small Business Administration, and the comfort of knowing that they are not a large business, with less leeway if they want to switch course.

They can offer personal and specific services, develop relationships and allow their entrepreneur spirit to soar.

2016 was and is a great year for small businesses. To date, the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce has added 37 new members this year, ranging from solo-preneurs to larger nationwide businesses.

It says much about the health and vibrancy of our area that existing businesses are flourishing and that new businesses find the economic climate stable enough to set up shop.

May we look forward to closing out this last quarter with gusto, knowing that 2017 brings with it a horizon of great things for our business community.

Kim Voetberg is the marketing and communications director for the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 425-347-1456 or write to her at kim@mukilteochamber.org. For more on the Chamber of Commerce, go to www.mukilteochamber.org.

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