Not the trends for 2022
Because some of us are contrarians by nature. Or just peek outside the bubble.
2021 went in a flash. One of the few things I remember from 2021 is that now we have an extensive knowledge of the Greek alphabet.
We are slowly learning the lessons of experiments we conducted at the height of pandemic, 2 (two!) years ago, when we transformed our streets to accommodate humans and not just cars.
That would be a great trend for this year: applying knowledge from lessons learned. But I will leave it as a bonus, at most.
You have probably read hundreds of similar posts, claiming to predict the most important ideas that will shape our still fresh year.
So let’s try to make it:
short, so you feel like reading it
challenging, so you give it a second thought later today
intriguing, so you feel compelled to share and discuss
Let’s go. These are Storefront Mastery’s top 3 not necessarily small biz-related, but very relevant trends for 2022 and beyond.
1. Companies and businesses start to transition to a more sustainable form of organization
Conventional funding for downtown businesses is through grants, historic tax credit, TIF, etc. This means that funding is centralized and most businesses rarely test their offer in the market anymore.
Furthermore, the investment that setting up a downtown shop requires is not necessary consistent with the revenue from some activities, so extra help is often needed on top of the foot traffic that downtown affords.
New businesses may benefit from behaving more like startups. New forms of organization based on technological tools will extend ownership and decision-making to each member of the organization.
These companies already exist and are called DAOs, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations. States like Wyoming have laws in place and likely soon states like Nevada and Florida may have them as well.
The type of organization of a Wyoming LLC is member-managed by default and can be extended to algorithmically managed. This means that it can rely on a Blockchain for its decision-making.
If you are seeing commonalities between the above explanation of Wyoming LLCs and co-ops, you are reading it right. Just a more advanced, sophisticated and technological version but a very similar idea.
Horizontal organizations that put themselves to the test of their members as well as their market will be more sustainable and more ready to make good use of new technological tools.
Some analysts forecast that DAOs will take over other forms of organization within the next decade. Small businesses rely on building communities, which is in the DNA of DAOs. It would be worth for small biz to look into the many advantages of setting one up.
2. New ways of funding small biz, downtown buildings and small development
Louisville KY is not Silicon Valley. And yet, it has a few interesting case studies of successful startup growth and an interesting ecosystem where lots of old buildings find their match in startups with good ideas.
One such idea is Venture Capital. We rarely see VCs go into Main Street and find the next big unicorn between the smoke shop and the bubble tea place.
The decentralization trend of services has also decentralized people. This trend has been widely identified, and the pandemic has exacerbated it. It is also decentralizing industries.
There are companies creating network-based, decentralized Internet, render pools for 3D animation and 5G phone service, among many others. When any user connects a node to the network, it grows where users need it most, it takes advantage of unused computing power or bandwidth, and it does everything without the need for million dollar investments in infrastructure.
The way these companies are set up, every user who contributes gets a reward, so the incentives to grow the network are clear.
Louisville’s Long Tail Building is the 160-year-old structure where the Whirlaway tavern1 used to be. It was brought back from a dilapidated state and made into a startup incubator, funded by the crypto rewards from one of those companies.
This is only one of many creative ways in which businesses are raising cash to purchase and rehab their buildings, while bringing new life to their downtowns.
3. Practical uses for NFTs
At this point, if we ask almost anyone what is an NFT, they will answer that it is a scam. These Non-Fungible Tokens are computer images that have information attached, which comes in the form of a “smart contract” that is programmed to perform certain tasks automatically.
They are part of an initial fad, and trading for thousands of dollars. It’s the Wild West out there.
The infancy of the technology is less interesting than its promise. The fact that high level art dealers and auction houses are treating NFTs as digital artwork and selling them for millions of dollars should give us a clue.
The rabbit hole that this opens is bottomless. NFTs can theoretically be used as certificates of authenticity for any property. My educated guess is that art dealers will be the first to find the mechanism for validation and start using the technology for non-digital artwork.
When that happens, we can be looking at buildings, cars, machinery and, of course, businesses, that can take advantage of the tools, the validation and all the applications that are built on top of those systems.
I’m gonna keep this short. Like I said, you’ve probably read countless posts about trends for the year. These are not your garden variety trends. You have your garden variety trend hunters for that.
My job is to help small businesses. I could help them by reading Bloomberg and the Harvard Business Review and relying information about what’s being done right now, or I can help them by looking at what we will be doing in a few years, and see if anyone picks up and starts early.
If you do, give me a call.
I know you had the urge so here are the links so you can click now, after you’ve read what I had to say. I do not endorse the businesses that are linked below. You should do your own research, but these are good starting points.
And my well-known plug. This is Storefront Mastery’s flagship service for 2022. The District Accelerator. Read all about it and drop me a line if any of it resonates.
OP said Churchill Downs tavern. I apologize for the mistake. It has been correctly written as the Whirlaway tavern.