Gazing into the crystal ball to prepare your business for the future

Businesses must always look to trends and trouble spots on the horizon. Here are some things to watch for in 2019 and beyond

David FullerThis is the time of year when many business owners turn their thoughts to the future.

We wonder if our sales will hold in the coming year and whether our expenses are going to rise. We try to predict whether we have the right team, right strategies and the ability to face the future.

Larger organizations often spend months developing a plan and a budget for the future, doing strategic and business planning for the upcoming year. They turn to experts and ask, “What do you think will happen?”

As my clients start planning for 2019, and consider opportunities and threats to their businesses, sometimes they turn to me for advice. So I’ve been doing my research in order to help them determine the best strategies for 2019 and beyond.

Here are some of the areas of concern or interest I identified:

Possible U.S. economic slowdown

Christopher Barraud is an economist out of Paris who has been ranked by Bloomberg as the most accurate forecaster of the American economy since 2012. He says that change is in the air.

He suggests that due to the U.S. trade war with China, foreign tariffs to steel and other goods, and a possible oil price increase, the U.S. might be in for a slowdown in 2019.

These possible slowdowns could be a challenge to many companies that are reliant on discretionary income.

Less effected will be businesses in areas that are fortunate enough to have larger projects or more diverse economic balance.

Technology will affect more change

Business Leader Magazine’s Barney Cotton, in his article Business Predictions for 2019 and beyond, suggests that data charges for mobile phones will continue to drop.

Security challenges will continue to plague technology providers. And Amazon and Netflix will continue their expansion into the bricks-and-mortar business, with Amazon expanding to Europe.

Auto industry changes

You don’t need to look far to see reoccurring predictions of what’s coming in the next year or two.

Self-driving cars will be a widespread reality. Also, numerous forecasts have many automakers moving away from gasoline and some focusing solely on electric vehicles are appearing.

Digital – more web, less TV

Worldwide, more people are engaging in digital media and less with television. It’s expected that by 2019, the average person will be spending 45 minutes watching video online. For business owners, this might change the way they market and interact with their customers.

Audio commands are going to continue to drive technology and change how people interact with apps and devices.

Due to an overabundance of digital interruptions and the onslaught into people’s personal lives, we’ll start to see a significant number of people who take time away from technology.

Don’t be surprised if you see technology addiction groups starting up.

Medicine, food and vitamins

As more and more people become concerned about the long-term environmental impact of plastics, look for a move away from traditional plastic packaging towards more biodegradable plastics in the food industry.

In terms of food preparation, mushrooms will continue to become more popular as a food and medicine, and we see a continued trend toward less meat and more plants.

Medicines will continue to become more user-specific, based on genomes, and virtual reality technology will probably start to play a part in some mind-over-body medical treatments.

Environmental

China, the world’s largest polluter, will start to work on cleaning up the environment as health-care costs related to pollution become prevalent. Expect to see advances in pollution treatment of waste water.

Business is being stretched by this time of turbulent change.

Past solutions aren’t going to have the same effect for businesses in the future. Strategies to ensure success and competitive advantage for our organizations are going to need to be different to be effective. As business leaders, we need to determine what the best approach is for the next year and for the more distant future.

No one can predict with total accuracy what will happen in 2019. However, if we’re prepared for possible outcomes, we can reduce our anxiety substantially and improve the ability of our teams to compete.

Troy Media columnist David Fuller, MBA, is a certified professional business coach and author who helps business leaders ensure that their companies are successful. David is author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy.


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The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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