Economic Trends Affecting Small and Home-Based Businesses

Three key trends promise expanding opportunities for some small and home-based businesses while diminishing returns for others. They include:

  • Rapid advances in information and telecommunications technologies
  • An ever more integrated global economy
  • Changes in the shopping habits of consumers

The success of small and home-based businesses will depend in large measure on the ability of their owners to recognize and respond to these trends.

The first part of this fact sheet describes these trends and the ways in which they will alter the way that business is done. The quilting industry is then used as an example of how the impacts of these trends are already becoming apparent in a traditional home-based business.

Trend 1: Changing Information and Telecommunication Technologies

The rapid development of the “information highway” most especially the World Wide Web has been likened by many to a new industrial revolution. In addition to the Web, the proliferation of several other information and telecommunications technologies is re-shaping the way business is transacted. These include fax machines, e-mail, overnight mail, and cellular phones.

These new technologies connect producers and consumers in a more timely and efficient manner. For small and home-based businesses, the key impacts are being felt in the following areas:

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