Trends expected to continue through the next decade are positive indicators for the  future success of small businesses, according to The Future of Small Business, a report from Intuit. (The report can be viewed at the bottom of this page.) In this article, Steve King, Emergent Research partner and a regular contributor to, provides highlights of the report. (Note: Emergent Research assisted in developing the report.)  

Five broad trends will drive the creation and growth of  small business during the next ten years. These trends are so conducive to small business creation that it may well be remembered as the Golden Age of Small Business.

Trend 1 | Access to world-class business infrastructure

Small businesses have the ability to build upon technology infrastructure that was once the sole domain of large organizations, such as cloud computing, manufacturing and distribution.

Trend 2 | Access to insightful data

With 90 percent of the world’s data generated in the last two years, small businesses are able to use their own data to gain deeper customer and business insights. Technological advances such as machine learning are taking the complexity out of data analysis, providing small businesses with the ability to make faster, better decisions.

Trend 3 | A growing pool of on-demand talent

Driven by the growth of contingent workers, projected to represent 43 percent of the workforce by 2020, small businesses have access to the right people at the right time in a flexible way, without the responsibility of hiring traditional employees.

Trend 4 | The growth of online marketplaces

Rising consumer demand for niche products and services, coupled with the emergence of online marketplaces, are allowing small businesses to embrace and scale their do-it-yourself roots. Small businesses can now participate in online marketplaces to gain global access to millions of previously unreachable customers at the click of a button to sell their niche products and services.

Trend 5 | Cost-effective online advertising

There are countless opportunities for small businesses to deliver their targeted messages to prospective customers around the world. Online options range from sponsored photos to in-stream video ads, and many of them are fairly low-cost with sub-$100 options readily available.

These trends are resulting in growing numbers of successful small businesses.The report chart below highlights the forecast that the number of U.S. small businesses will increase from roughly 30 million today to 42 million by 2026. This is a growth rate of 3.3% per year, up from just about 2% growth over the prior decade.

VIA | A version of this story first appeared on Small Business Labs.

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