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Business in 2017

This time last year I wrote that we could likely start 2017 with the nightmare scenario of Boris Johnson as British prime minister and Donald Trump in the Whitehouse. And indeed, normally, I could say one out of two ain’t bad, but it is, it’s worse than bad.

The world’s most powerful country is going to be run by a self-proclaimed sex-pest and may or may not be blackmailed by Russia’s President Putin and his old employers, the KGB. Democracy has jumped the shark and the effects of Trump and Brexit on the world will have huge impacts on 2017. So the following are predictions of what may happen in the world of business this year, providing WW3 is not started by a 70-year-old toddler.

According to the Census Bureau, Millennials are now the world’s largest living group and because so many of them are now in positions of influence, business in the next few years will have to cater to them and their technological cravings.

Because so many Millennials are in charge of buying decisions, the world is changing and business trends for the upcoming years will have to cater more to this generation. Here are some key trends and tips to look out for in 2017:

  • Tools for non-technical entrepreneurs to build tech products.

Many people who work online are not necessarily technically fluent. However, the need to use technology is as great as ever and because of that, technicality in your business is more important than ever. In 2017, technology will be a necessary staple for every business if it expects to compete in today’s market. CMS platforms like WordPress allow easy management of a website with minimal technical know-how for people like us to build their businesses online.

  • Tools to help with personal branding.

Personal branding has helped millions to create world-renowned brands, in music, food, fitness and fat arses. The internet opened up the playing field to make it much more even, so people who may have never succeeded at anything in life, have a shot at making it big. So many people are releasing similar products, that the competition in the market continues to grow. Personal branding tools will start trending even more, helping businesses gain individuality and reduce the number of direct competitors. Look into personal branding tools to increase business in 2017.

  • Focus on training remote employees.

10 years ago, there weren’t many remote employees. Today tech companies and startups are doing a lot of their hires remotely. IBM led this trend and many other companies have followed suit. Since meetings can be done over Skype, or other video conference platforms and customer service, social media and programming positions only require access to the computer and internet, talented Millennials can be hired for positions no matter where they live.

  • Businesses embrace the Millennials, instead of rejecting them.

Are Millennials materialistic, narrow-minded and selfish? Probably not, but they don’t really work in the same way that baby boomers do. They look for creative tech ways to do their job better and are constantly looking for ways to improve the processes in the workforce. This leads to innovation and helps jump-start change within large organisations. Businesses need to embrace Millennials and cater to their needs.

  • More businesses up for sale.

Baby Boomers started most of the bricks and mortar businesses, but there are a few components that are shifting the business landscape. Technology is becoming easier to use, items you once could only find at specialty shops are now easily accessible online and Baby Boomers are entering retirement. These shifts, along with economic recovery has made business sales more prominent. As Baby Boomers seek to retire in the next few years, you will see many businesses being sold, taken apart and reinvented by the Millennials. In addition, many of these Baby Boomers will try to get ahead of their competitors by selling their businesses next year, before the market becomes too competitive and business buyouts decrease.

  • Products that track nutrition.

At CES this year an entire portion of the conference was dedicated to health and fitness wearables. Available data shows Millennials, especially women, are concerned with their health and nutrition more than any other past generation. With the addition of technology like integrated health systems, Fitbits and virtual reality, tracking nutrition and fitness levels is becoming ever easier as people expand the market. In 2017, this trend will continue and fitness apps and software will grow the health and fitness market.

  • E-commerce will continue to rise.

Due to how much easier it is for businesses to target and access their core audiences, there is now an increased demand for online e-commerce tools. Recent studies have shown that 58% of shoppers are willing to add additional items to their virtual shopping carts to meet free-shipping quotas. As technology continues to expand in 2017, we should see an increase in e-commerce trends.

  • Businesses will focus on connecting customers rather than on selling to them.

People are tired of being sold to and Millennials can tell they are being sold from a mile away. This is an instant turn-off and once they sense any type of selling, they move on to the next company. What is working, though, are apps and services that connect people to what they want. Companies like Postmates don’t sell any products, but they allow you to get whatever you want delivered to wherever you are. It is now the the connection economy. Uber is the largest taxi company, yet it has no physical assets and can still deliver rides easily to its customers. We should see more businesses like Uber on the rise.

  • Strength-based training versus remedial leadership.

The old adage goes; “Do what you are good at, not what you love.” The same goes in the workplace. Up until recently, people hired for the same position were all taught the same skill. Now, companies are hiring specialists to come in and focus on doing one particular task, until they perfect it. Gallup Research shows that productivity increases 21% when employees are doing something they love. In 2017, businesses will invest more in training that focuses on a leader’s natural talent than on remedial leadership training.

  • Products becoming green.

Millennials are quite conscious of what types of products they buy. Some turn off the sink when they brush their teeth, some even shut off the water in the shower when they are shampooing their hair. They may go and actively look for socially conscious companies to purchase from, because they care about the earth and want to make sure it’s still here for when they are old and for their children. The green bandwagon has been around for over a decade, but it is now being taken more seriously as companies have developed products to help push this mission forward. We should expect a sharp increase in green products over 2017.

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