Originally published in Inside Small Business
Seven trend turnarounds that will shape business success in the year ahead.
By Roland Farrugia, Virtual Services Advisor, Serviced Offices International
Every year sees a round of trend predictions, usually based around a host of new and “exciting” acronyms such as MA (marketing automation), AI (artificial intelligence), AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality) and, the latest, FBA (fulfilment by Amazon).
But there are heaps of those on the internet. So, instead, I thought we'd look at the trend turnaround, aka a trend that's reversing and heading in the other direction.
1. Resting on one's historic laurels
Once upon a time Fortune 500 companies (started mid last century) were likely to have a lifespan of around 75 years. However, even Fortune 500's aren't immune from the massive shift that's taking place in business – now only having an average life span of 15 years. Australia's larger businesses (according to the ABS) are declining in number, having dropped about 11 per cent in the last five or so years. Staying ahead relies on an ability to keep up and move quickly. And let's face it, most small-business owners have that in spades. The issue, therefore, becomes finding the extra time it takes to keep up and still retaining a level of work-life balance.
2. Bigger is better (um, no, not so much)
More and more friends is no longer better. Going somewhere with 1000 of your “closest personal friends” is so 2017. Now, particularly if you're a millenial, it's all about more intimate, face-to-face, gatherings. Think about how you might use that in your business.
3. Standard-issue products and services
Just like Henry Ford's “you can have any colour as long as it's black” mantra, standard issue is going the same way. The trend in 2018 and beyond is to work with clients to customise, highly personalising their products and services. It might be designing a custom-print Lego mosaic, or working with a customer to build a tailored set of virtual services that are just right just for their business.
4. Perfect models
Airbrushed, young, white is now oh so old school. These days your marketing messages need to include photography that demonstrates a diversity of race, gender, size, orientation, and so on – all preferably without any airbrushing having taken place. It's all about keeping it real.
5. Consumption rules
Err, not any more. Given that a considerable portion of the world's landfill is taken up by “use once or twice and chuck” items, this was a trendy that had to swing back the other way. 2018 will see more and more businesses jump on the “buy once, wear/use forever(ish)” bandwagon. How can you embrace that in your business?
6. Millennials and Gen X as “the” entrepreneurs
Gen Y aren't the only entrepreneurs out there. Lots of retired boomers aren't staying retired – they're getting bored and starting businesses, and there's a host of Gen Z (think kids from five to 20) that are starting businesses thanks to technology and their au-fait-ness with it. There might be opportunity in that for you.
7. Collaborative co-working spaces
Turns out that even at work, people are creatures of habit. They like having a space to call home with their stuff where and how they left it and a door that shuts the world, the noise and distractions out. 1300 Apple staff can't be wrong. They all want to boycott Apple's new $5 billion state-of-the-art open plan co-working space – despite all its “trendy” inclusions. They just want control over their environment. As do most business owners – who also want flexibility in their office environment so that it can grow and downsize with them.
I hope the start to your 2018 has been amazing and you arrive rested and refreshed, having regained a modicum of work-life balance over the break.