Entrepreneurialism 2011: What to Expect in the Year Ahead

The Metropreneur asked several local business leaders to share their predictions about entrepreneurialism in 2011 and they didn’t hold back, identifying several challenges, opportunities, and trends that could have major impacts this year.

Read on to learn what the experts had to say about restaurants, retail, social media, software, and more.

More young entrepreneurs will choose investing in their business over incurring $100,000 in debt at a four-year college.

Matt Crumpton
Managing Partner, Crumpton Law

I think street food will be even bigger in 2011. We’ll see more mobile food vendors adding to the great diversity of creative food offerings. And fully expect to see existing brick and mortar restaurants opening their own carts/trucks. I also think we will see some of the more successful mobile food vendors making the leap into brick and mortar locations.

Bethia Woolf
Owner, Columbus Food Adventures.

Demand for financing for Central Ohio small business will continue to grow dramatically in 2011 as job growth remains modest and more people decide to venture out on their own.

Investing in local businesses will become the new war cry for Central Ohioans and will be easier then ever to do through ECDI’s Invest Local campaign.

ECDI, Small Business Beanstalk, and Wonderland will forge strong partnerships to support local business incubation for all types of entrepreneurs, including food entrepreneurs , artists, and retail professionals.

Columbus2020! will realize it’s about local business development and farming that will lead Central Ohio out of this economic funk and into the next decade!

Steve Fireman
President, Economic and Community Development Institute

More than just food will be hitting the streets in 2011. Pop-up shops and food carts have paved the way for other off-site retail opportunities. They forced some solutions, like card swipes for Netbooks and iPhones, that make it more feasible for retailers who don’t traditionally deal in cash to complete transactions. Brands are learning that bringing physical product to people for consumption is a hell of an advertising tool.

E-commerce will become more of a necessity for local brick and mortars to compete effectively. It has become so simple to create a professional-looking and functional online presence that it will become an expectation. Independent retailers will learn how to better reach their audience, who still wants to support a small retailer, but require the convenience of shopping online.

Josh Quinn,
Owner, Tigertree
Founder, Wonderland

There are more businesses using social media to gain a presence with current and future customers, and I think  it will exponentially increase in 2011. It is a cost-effective venue to reach thousands of people to gain loyalty and potential revenue.

I believe that in 2011 there will be more interest in individuals and companies volunteering and doing community service.

With more college graduates every year and the current lack of jobs, I am concerned with the increase of unemployment. However, there appears to be more of an entreprenuerial spirit among those in their 20s, perhaps out of necessity. A problem is just an opportunity waiting to develop.

Libby Gierach
President/CEO, Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce

Credit for small businesses will continue to loosen starting with Community Banks then Regional Banks then large national banks.

Michael Bowers
Regional Director, Ohio Small Business Development Center at Columbus State Community College

For the economy to fully recover, it is imperative to reduce the number of people who are out of work, especially the long-term unemployed. There is a stigma associated with the long-term unemployed− that they lack skills or that their skills have eroded. The challenge locally and nationally: how to encourage businesses to take a chance on these individuals.

Andrea Applegate
Director of Workforce Development, Columbus Chamber

Downtown Columbus will see an increase in micro-retail businesses. There is demand for retail space ranging from 300 square feet to 800 square feet in the central business district to serve the workforce, visitor population, and growing residential and student populations. Clusters of space in this size will yield new retail goods and services.

Kacey Campbell Brankamp
Retail Recruiter, Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District

Locally, a significant uptick is expected in the retail real estate industry after several stagnant years. The regional spotlight will be pointed at center stage Columbus, from the University District −new Kroger, Columbus Coated Fabrics redevelopment, Weinland Park plan, Long’s Bookstore redevelopment− to the Short North −more fashion and home goods, new restaurants− to downtown− Columbus Commons, Scioto Mile, Kacey Brankamp/retail recruitment plan, The Jury Room, Columbus Brewing Co., Cup o’ Joe at the Lazarus building, huge opportunity with east side Grant/Broad/Gay corridor with students/young adults. Also, keep an eye on Worthington Mall, Bexley Square, West Broad Street, and Grandview Yard.

Chris Boring
President, Boulevard Strategies
Consultant, Retail is Detail

More and more small business startups will move from the traditional installed desktop software, like Microsoft Office, to web-based software.

There are many benefits to using web-based versus installed desktop software. Web-based software never needs “IT-guy” level support, works on any computer whether PC or Mac, data is always backed up safely and securely, and often times web-based software is either free or very low cost for small businesses and startups.

David Hunegnaw
Founder, HeadStartup.com

Looking to better your small business in 2011? Russ Faulkner’s New Year’s Resolutions can help you get started.