Ask an Expert: Big trends in small business

ByABC News
February 13, 2009, 3:20 PM

— -- As is becoming a New Year's tradition, for the first two weeks of this year, I will forgo answering your questions and instead offer my annual Top 10 Trends in Small Business.

A few things to note up front:

This is not a predictions column but a trends column. Predictions are inherently speculative, trends are not. New trends are forces that are already occurring, but which may be flying a bit under your radar.

Some of these trends can help your business, others are simply good to know, and yet others may just be interesting. Sit back and enjoy.

No. 10: Your PC is going virtual. Is your business? The wireless/online/virtual revolution is coming to your PC, and I am not just talking about mobility, that's old news.

What I am talking about here is that computer hardware and software as we know it is changing before our very eyes. Broadband Internet connections are not only becoming ubiquitous but faster, resulting in the transference of software and content from your hard drive to the Internet. Whether it is Microsoft's Office Live or Google's online applications, the Internet is now the groovy place for cool apps to hangout.

This also means that 2008 will see the growth of such useful gadgets as wireless dashboard printers, online data backups, and increased collaboration services.

And about blogging are you taking advantage of this incredibly powerful and inexpensive way to both grow your business and connect with your customers? I thought blogging was a fad, the CB radio of our time, but I was wrong. So I give up, admit defeat, and am launching my own blog next week Business as Unusual.

The final piece of this online puzzle is that, as YouTube continues to conquer the world, streaming video is becoming de rigueur for any site worth its salt.

No. 9: The year of marketing creatively:As Advertising Age points out, 2008 is going to be a year where there will be a lot of competition for eyeballs. Between the presidential election, continued high gas prices, a slowing economy, and tight credit, "consumers will continue to pull in the reins as disposable income tightens dramatically."