SOHO Predictions for 2017

We asked our hand-picked selection of small business leaders for their Small Business Predictions for 2017 and once again they delivered in spades.

If you are a small business owner wondering where things are headed in 2017, read on.  Interesting to see how these compare with their prognostications from 2016.

Neil Belenkie

  1. Companies will lose focus in 2017 based on the vast number of new opportunities available in our growing economy.  Lost focus will generate unintended business growth into new markets, leveraging best practices from one industry and transferring that knowledge to new applications.  Innovation will accelerate as a result, and we will see a boom by Q4 in the service and support industries for the new skills required to support the new revenue streams. 
  2. Revenue growth and new alliances between service providers and their new clients will raise the median household income by $1,200 per year per capita.
  3. Tighter family bonds will support the importance of interpersonal trust and human to human interaction. The pendulum will swing for this new generation of children to be less focused on technology to interact, driving innovation to replicate human interaction divided by geographic boundaries.

PS – Neil’s talk at SOHO Victoria titled “What Does a TRUMP Presidency Mean for Canadian Small Business Owners?” is all about the future. Don’t miss it!

Angela Cote

  1. More and more people are getting into business for themselves, realizing they don’t have to fit themselves into a 9 to 5, systemized corporate ‘box’.  The result is that there are a lot of entrepreneurs creating unique and innovative businesses.  These businesses come to a point where they are ready to scale, and more untraditional businesses will explore franchising as a growth model.   In Victoria, there is a strong startup culture of successful businesses that have been great role models for up and coming entrepreneurs e.g. Jusu Bars, Superbath Mobile Car Wash, Interactivity Board Game Café, EasyJobQuotePomme Natural Market… to name a few.
  2. With the shifting paradigm of leaving secure, 9 to 5 corporate jobs, people looking for a change will spend time resources and energy on figuring out what motivates them and what skills and talents they have to offer. The result will be the creation of some really cool non-traditional niche consulting/coaching type businesses that service the entrepreneurs in the region.
  3. In order for independent entrepreneurs running non-traditional niche consulting/coaching type businesses to combat the feeling of isolation and loneliness, there will be more and more collaboration of services. Rather than co-founding a whole new company together, independent service providers will form more strategic partnerships, enabling them to feel like they are a part of a team.

Clemens Rettich 

  1. Convenience will continue to be both redefined and a success-making differentiator. Whether it is apps that store all of our loyalty cards, or Apple Pay, or locavore TV dinners, anything that reduces consumer anxiety around ‘how am I going to continue to look awesome on Instagram with a minimum of stress’ will win. SOHO businesses should examine every opportunity to increase the convenience factor of their offerings. Price and quality matter, but convenience is the difference-maker.
  2. Leadership is the killer app. If your customers aren’t looking at you, shrugging their shoulders and saying “I don’t know, you’re the expert,” you have work to do. Complexity and change continue to become ‘up at night’ stressors for consumers and businesses. If your products or services are a clear beacon of sector-leadership, and your staff can answer the questions of increasingly demanding consumers (“Where was this salmon caught?”) you win. We are looking for leaders because as options and lies multiply, we get lost and stressed without them.
  3. Talent is still the trump card. I know I said something similar last year, but after a year of helping clients try again and again and again to find, retain, and leverage great talent to move their enterprises forward, it has become even more critical. If that’s even possible. If in 2017 you aren’t putting as much creativity and as many resources into recruiting, training, and retaining as you are into marketing and sales, don’t bother getting out of bed. You will have to be prepared to rewrite what ‘right’ candidates, job descriptions, job postings, compensation, training systems, and even employment itself look like. If you are still looking for highly experienced 20-something bright-eyed and eager wage-slaves who will stick around for a ‘career’ I have a ticket made out to a Mrs or Mr Rip Van Winkle for you.  

Clemens’ presentation at SOHO Victoria is titled “So You Want to Start A Business – What To Do & What Not To Do”.

Marc Stoiber

  1. Stop selling me picks, shovels and gold pans!  This cryptic title refers to the gold rush – the only people who made money were the people selling tools for finding gold, not the prospectors themselves. We’ve seen an explosion in the tool business – or in our case, the ‘here’s a book on how to write a book, written by someone who has never actually written a meaningful book’ industry. True, the quick fix and helpful hints biz has been with us since Jesus was in short pants, but thought leadership on how to be a thought leader is getting ridiculous, and people’s inboxes are full to the point of breaking. I see a waning of this oversaturated industry, signalled by redoubled efforts to pull you in (aka weekly emails telling you how to get rich will now come daily).
  2. Have a happy, errr, meaningful new year.  South of the border, I believe we’re seeing the insane, yet logical outcome of a country that based its existence on the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is a selfish concept which, ironically, leads to anxiety and unhappiness. The happiest nations in the world appear to be countries where there is a strong social net, where people pay ample tax, and folks generally have a sense of looking out for one another. Snatching as much of the pie as you can and not sharing is not only revolting, it’s bad business. Look for more companies looking for meaning by paying attention and engaging compassionately. 
  3. The death of the personal brand.  I see too many people focused on the mechanics of making themselves a personal brand – ‘Get a website, take out all photos of yourself with a drink, say smart things online!’ – and not nearly enough emphasis on being plain good human beings. Every networking group teaches members to stand out by creating pat little expressions of their ‘brand’, every business mag reveals more tools to polish your persona. Look for more credence being given to self-examination, getting comfortable with your flaws, and behaving like a human, not a brand.

Marc’s presentation at SOHO Victoria is titled “Why Can’t You Tell Me What You Do?”

Bonus Predictions

Did I mention that we have some of the best and most knowledgable small business leaders in Canada speaking at SOHO? As you might expect they have a lot to say about small business and some of them just couldn’t stop at three predictions for 2017.  We didn’t want all of those insightful predictions to go to waste so we have included them below as “Bonus Predictions”.

  1. Consumer grade virtual reality rooms will be created to enable human to human interaction at an affordable cost. 
  2. A new industry will be born, setting up virtual communication for every household.  Virtual physician assessments and other services will follow.
  3. New household income will allow a small percentage of dual income parents to have one parent stay home to raise their kids directly.

See and hear these and more than 20 additional small business leaders speak live at SOHO Victoria on January 27th. Register NOW.

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