A year ago, just before the New Year, I wrote on Business Insider about 10 business practices that would lead to profitability in 2013. Out of my predictions, perhaps the best forecast was the rise of the micropreneur and the emergence of the share economy.
Companies such as Airbnb and Uber have created their own economies by empowering individuals to rent out their excess-capacity assets in return for additional streams of income. These companies have proven through their business models that they are fixtures of the new economy as they earn substantial revenue and create value for those that are plugged into their infrastructure — patrons and contractors alike.
In a similar vein, I predict 2014 to be a year of rapid change, tireless innovation, and officially the year of the startup, in which it will seem nearly as likely for individuals to wake up every day working on their own venture as it will for the collective workforce to work for a corporation. But technology, democratized information, and open-source platforms aren’t just changing the way we make money; they’re revolutionizing the ways we learn, how we meet people — from dating to business lunching — interact with one another, and function physiologically.
2014 will be the year of the startup. Whether you’ve been in business for 10 years or 10 days, it pays to act like a startup. The economic environment is replete with innovation and change, and the importance of being nimble and adaptable is heightened. Whether it’s in attracting new clients, capital, or employees, customers want to know that you have the foundation of a company that can last but the flexibility of a startup.
What does this mean? Show that your business is made up of real people. Tell your company story and interact with people as if you want to teach them about who you are and what you do, not merely what you can sell them. Don’t be afraid to show the human side of your business. Take Actifio for example, the radically simple “copy data management” company. They’re solving a $46 billion problem, but if you look on their customer reviews section, you’ll see the human side of the technology, enabling organizations to invest less on infrastructure and more on innovation.