Top Trends Entrepreneurs Should Watch This Year

toptrendsAs an Internet entrepreneur, making accurate predictions for the coming year can be tricky: It’s a market space prone to rapid change
and relentless innovation.

However there are three areas I’m convinced will take center stage:

Crowdfunding and Alternative Lending
With crowdfunding estimated to hit a mind-blowing $500 billion dollars this year, we’re only going to see more alternative startup financing become accepted staples, from peer-to-peer lending and investor associations to revenue based financing and of course the impact of a growing pool of angel investors. Investment trends started by companies like the Dell Innovators Credit Fund and Google Ventures (where those who invested in often become customers or partners) lead the way in forward thinking investment strategies that create profitable growth. With the flow of capital to entrepreneurs from traditional funding sources growing smaller every year, alternative financing strategies are firmly set to take center stage this year.

Collaborative Consumption
If 2012 was the year Collaborative Consumption firmly established its market presence with the expansion of services like Airbnb and Zipcar, this year I see the sharing economy reach new heights. You only have to look at big brands like BMW investing in garage sharing and Microsoft in office rental to realize that a massive shift towards a more responsible economy is underway. Expect massive growth and increased competition in this market space as social networking connects us all closer together, building trust and more importantly making us realize that ownership is often not as important as experience.

Social Media Meets Branded Content
Big Business may be experienced when it comes to branded content but it’s been at a loss until recently on how to unite that knowledge with social media. I’m a big advocate of the importance and power of building a personal brand, and when it comes to creating an identity and establishing trust through online channels, entrepreneurs have the edge. This year we will see the two working together to create an explosion of sponsored blogs and digital channels to forums and independent sites, with pioneering startups and entrepreneurs innovating how positive corporate culture and the story of a business get communicated in the world of the Internet Revolution.

That being said, I’d love to know what you think will become big this year. Let me know, it’s no fun speculating without sharing!

Forbes: Micha Kaufman

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