The new year is underway and I'm starting to wonder what 2011 -- the Chinese year of the little rabbit -- will bring us. Last year was filled with uncertainty and financial woes, making it exceptionally hard for a business to grow.
Hoping for an improved new year, I’ve come up with a list of trends to keep an eye on that will help your business prosper.
1. The year of generating revenue.
From answering telephones to sweeping floors, every act of running a business will have this thought behind it: How can we generate revenue? Cost centers will become revenue centers and revenue centers will become new, profitable businesses.
2. The year of going global.
As a small business owner, you can either choose to stay small -- by shopping and selling local -- or you can grow enormously by reaching out to the world for business. This growth will require you to look outside the United States for business advantages, like to China, India, Russia and Brazil. Turn to the Internet for help -- it's chock-full of resources to show you how.
3. The year of making comments.
Love that new product? Make a comment. Hate that restaurant you tried last week? Make a comment. Ticked off because the toll guy couldn’t tell you how many miles to the next exit? Make a comment (MAC). Say good-bye to merely clicking on ‘Like’ or ‘Recommend’ and welcome the new age of MAC anywhere and everywhere. Great insights and new reports will be generated as a result of people expressing their opinions on every aspect of their lives. Companies will know where they stand within hours, rather than months, of a new product or service debut.
4. The year of cloud computing.
Just as blogs, Facebook and Twitter reshaped our e-universe, cloud computing will alter how we work (e.g., cut costs yet add capabilities) and collaborate with people anywhere in the world. Cloud computing makes it easy to work anywhere at anytime with anyone. According to ABI Research, by 2015, more than 240 million business users will access cloud computing services through mobile devices.
5. The year of the minimalist.
We used to hear the statement, “I’m just getting by.” This year, you’ll hear, “I live the life of a minimalist; I love what I do and I am fulfilled.” What’s changed? Attitude. Business owners are more value-conscious and selective in how they do things. They are discovering that life is not about how much money they make or how many luxury vehicles they own. It’s about making a difference in the world and making the most of what’s right in front of you: family, friends and, if you are lucky, kind-hearted colleagues. Nurture that nonprofit, light that dollar store candle and get ready to surround yourself with those you love because that’s what can bring immense joy to your life.
6. The year of a new kind of App-iness.
Expand your business. Share it with others. Track it. Leverage it. Apps will become something SMBs can’t live without. Enterprise innovation is exploding due to the sophisticated and economical development of Apps -- they're easy, cost-effective and you can design one for just about anything. Small businesses will be able to stay connected and be more productive than ever.
7. The year of ME: Mobile Entrepreneurship.
You’ve heard of small business, big business and global small business. Welcome to the era of ME: Mobile Entrepreneurs. You can set up this type of business without ties to a particular place or company, making it easy for entrepreneurs to forge new paths and explore different business strategies. Tablets and other new, useful gadgets will feed this ME frenzy.
Global business expert Laurel Delaney is the founder of GlobeTrade (a Global TradeSource, Ltd. company). She also is the creator of “Borderbuster,” an e-newsletter, and The Global Small Business Blog, all highly regarded for their global small business coverage. You can reach Laurel at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @LaurelDelaney.