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Trends

business trendsPart of success is preparing for changes in the business environment.

It’s important to pay close attention to trends. What kind of trends? Some are obvious: Tax laws, government changes, current events, technology advances and media swings are all important, to name but a few.

First, a warning to business owners: Trends can be overrated and greatly misinterpreted. Use these at your own risk. “The management can neither confirm nor deny the validity of the points in this article.”

Here are some of the trends observed lately:

Big Government is In, Private Industry is Out
One needs only to look at the results of the last election to see this. Government spending is at an all time high and shows no sign of reduction, as the “entitlement generation” is coming of age. They are used to things being handed to them and want that to continue. However, with all trends there is also a reaction, which leads us to the next one …

Small Business is In, Big Business is Out
This perception is not a reality, of course. Big Business has too many weapons to be eliminated, but the “trend” is to buy from small businesses. The recent success of Small Business Saturday shows the effect of that campaign. A related trend is …

Buy Local
Even though internet sales are higher than ever, this “mantra” is being repeated over and over. Conscientious buyers are checking local stores first, or even shopping from the local website. Again, the big chains are not in any serious danger from this, as they will break up in to smaller, local operations. This will happen more and more in the near future.

Social Media is In, Talking Heads are Out
More and more people are getting their information from social media, and then only going to networks to get more information. This leads us to the next one …

Facebook is In, LinkedIn is now LinkedOUT
One at the top of the businessman’s social media, LinkedIn has plummeted in popularity while Facebook is growing faster and faster. LinkedIn has attempted (and failed) to make their interface look more like Facebook but they have missed the key points that make Facebook more popular, which is the viewer control of unwanted content and contact. Facebook users can block ads, spammers and marketers to the extent they desire. Indeed, LinkedIn has turned in to a “Lead Generation” device, which is backfiring, as those people who are successful resent the intrusion of being considered a “Lead”

Twitter is Entertaining, but still generally useless for serious business
The appeal of the one-way distribution of information is irresistible to celebrities, sports figures and entertainers, but is still generally useless to the average Joe, except as a way to follow such people’s activities. Even though they have a “Trending” function, the number of people that really know how to use it is still regrettably small.

Image Management is In, Customer Service is Out
Sad but true, marketing experts have realized that the level of customer service matters very little compared to the perception of that service. So expect to see more “green” marketing campaigns but less actual effort towards pleasing customers.

Your author hopes to continue this series. In thirty days he will review the trends predicted and see how they look. Until then …

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