SOHO Predictions for 2016
We asked our hand-picked selection of speakers for their SOHO Predictions for 2016 and they delivered in spades. If you are a small business owner wondering where things are headed in 2016 in the areas of sales, marketing, branding, IT, HR, productivity, work-life balance, business strategy, the economy and more, read on.
Overall there is some very good news in here for small business owners. If you like it, tweet it…
- The renewable renaissance – I believe we will see the awakening of the renewable energy industry. Energy, long one of the most conservative, protected industries, will see renewables throw open the door and let the sun shine in. We will see increasing innovation come with this momentum, and as people begin to understand the scope of this undertaking, the start of what will become a flourishing economy around energy innovation. I predict LOTS of small businesses and consultants will be engaged to help with the myriad pieces of this puzzle.
- Accelerated corporate implosion – There is now officially an app for everything. Everyone is going freelance. One-man shops can do what 20 person companies did 10 years ago. I believe this will lead to accelerated corporate implosion, and the jettisoning of even more good talent from comfy cubicles. Welcome to the ranks of the SOHO, folks!
- Death of the corporate brand, rise of the personal brand – I have had incredible response with my new company Your Ultimate Speech. This is not because we’ve become a globe of narcissists – it’s because every individual’s brand is now their only security. People need speeches, people need books, people need to understand how to position themselves as entities.
- Photography will continue to be at the forefront of social media content, all the more reason to make sure you are best representing yourself in your online avatar. That blurry, underexposed photo of you from your nephew’s Bar Mitzvah is probably not the best choice.
- Video can be an extremely effective tool in creating online engagement, but plan accordingly; length is key. Short pieces as brief as 10 or 15 seconds can make for a great lead-in on your website front page or on Instagram and can be extremely effective in conveying your brand story. Give careful thought to how you can creatively convey messaging within intended timeframe and remember, videos with the best viewer retention are shy of a minute in length.
- Cinemagraphs are a new trend to watch out for this coming year. This new media type is comprised of still photographs that incorporate micro usually repeat actions of movement. Although this form of media has been around for a while, we’re now beginning to see emergence; with new apps cropping up that make these living photos easy to create and quick to upload from mobile.
- Supplier relationships will matter more than ever with a challenging Canadian dollar. Businesses will thrive or die based on their ability to manage their cost of goods.
- The most attractive growth opportunities will continue to be in the premium, bespoke, expert, quality-of-experience segments of various markets. Fearless pricing, high-touch CRM, and remarkable delivery are key success factors in this space.
- Successful employers will increasingly explore non-traditional relationships to attract the best team members. Intrapreneurism, remote work, digital workspaces, revenue or profit sharing, wikis, flexible schedules and high-value support from semi-retired experts are all growing opportunities.
- Increasing numbers of Canadians will semi-retire in Victoria and start a small business doing something they love
- Tourism in Victoria will continue to grow creating new opportunities for innovative small businesses
- More small business owners will recognize and leverage the power of partnering and collaboration with complementary businesses.
- As home offices proliferate, owners will become more sophisticated, continually taking the pulse of their businesses with diagnostic tools to assess their competition, their place in the market and ensuring they are offering what their clients want in a profitable/scalable manner.
- More small business owners will commit to e-commerce and sell part of their product offerings online. Even service providers will find a way to offer their services online AND use online services to boost productivity.
- Transitions Pathways: With a glut of boomers ready to retire, small/ home business owners will increasingly structure their businesses now to facilitate their exit when they want to retire.
- Your employees will get younger and they will better connect you with a younger customer.
- Your younger staff will want to mentor you and your business will be better for it – so listen up!
- More small business owners or sole proprietors will retire and sell their business – creating an opportunity for you!
- The platform the Liberals campaigned on included a few significant tax and planning rule changes that will have meaningful effects on wealth building strategies for the small business owner going forward.
- Market volatility and media ‘noise’ will continue to distract us from the real strategies for proven success in the investment markets.
- Knowing how to attract and retain key employees will be even more valuable to entrepreneurs in 2016.
- The traditional elevator pitch is dead. Listener’s attention spans are waning. Now you will have to find new and interesting ways to capture their attention and have your short message about your company be remembered for recall later.
- Clients will be tickled pink in 2016 with a phone call more than ever as emails continue to die a slow death over the coming years. Ring those phones – reach out and touch someone!
- You will record more videos in 2016 for your business than you did over the past three years combined. Will you be the next Youtube business star?
- 2016 will see peer-to-peer lending become an increasing revenue source of funding for small and micro-businesses. Licensed brokers will facilitate matching small investors with small businesses circumventing banks. One of the first company’s to facilitate this in Canada is The Lending Loop, Canada’s first peer-to-peer lending platform which allowing Canadian investors the opportunity to fund small local business ventures.)
- 2016 will be a great year to buy a business. As increasing numbers of Baby Boomers retire there will be a wide variety of going concerns for sale at excellent prices. Boomers are also looking for business partners so they can work fewer hours; this will provide opportunities to ‘buy’ into businesses with sweat equity.
- In 2016 consumers will purchase more online than ever before. Don’t believe me? Look at Amazon’s amazing and continuing growth! Small and micro-businesses will be forced into selling online wherever feasible.s
- Buyer and seller interactions are changing. Over the coming years, sellers who bring more value and build trust will reap massive benefits long term. Buyers are beginning to see the importance of vendors as strategic partners, and sellers must develop their skill sets to align with these new and exciting conversations.
- Buyers will expect more from salespeople. Better conversations, deeper insights, and specific solutions to their problems. They don’t want to waste their time being sold to, but will appreciate relevant and focused interactions.
- With the increased complexity in technology, process, and communication, it will be more important than ever for sellers to keep things simple, stay authentic, and connect personally.
- From SOHO 2016 will emerge a product or service, likely digital, that the world will wonder how they lived without it.
- The busiest trades people will be solar panel installers.
- More people will be checking out of social media than checking in.
- Customers will continue demand more individualization and customization in their services
- Smaller businesses will continue to move online, favoring ‘pop-up stores’ to fill their need for a physical presence
- Online sales & Marketing funnels will continue to increase the profitability gap between those that are and those that aren’t using them (hint: if you’re not using them, you’re going to get left behind)
- Cyberattacks will become a bigger problem for small businesses
- Protecting customer data stored in the cloud will be a major concern
- Rising USD to result in more expensive hardware/software/cloud services
- More small office/home office entrepreneurs will embrace tablets as their go-to appliances for work in 2016.
- The term “duopreneur” will be coined and begin to get notice in the fringes of small office/home office workers. (I’d go as far to say that my wife and I are “duopreneurs” at this point.)
- Paper notebooks will become more and more useful as task management tools by design and more popular because of their non-distracting features. (Everything old is new again!)
Did I mention that we hand-picked some of the best and most knowledgable speakers in Canada? 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 2016. Well we didn’t want all of those insightful predictions to go to waste so we have included them below as “Bonus Predictions”.
Here are your Bonus Predictions for 2016.
- Mike Vardy will publish a post that instead of getting more done in 24 hours, will get governments all over the world to consider extending the day to 27 hours.
- Fortress 1% – I think the battle lines will harden between the super-rich and the rest of us. I believe the US will see politics get (even more) ugly, as it starts to resemble a kingdom with a few nobles and legions of peasants. However, I think innovation and the human spirit will begin to find ways around this ugly situation. Like many castles, those on the inside will start to feel more imprisoned than those on the outside.
- Public speaking skills will be the hottest tool to have in your business toolbox, especially for those entrepreneurs coming up through secondary and post-secondary.
- “Let Your Thumbs Do The Talking” for the current text-talking generation(s) will create challenges on their verbal abilities in business.
- Entrepreneurs will need to enhance and prepare themselves for communicating face-to-face in a wider variety of situations including: academic, media, and employment interviews, social speeches, business meetings, self-promotion showcase presentations, and in a variety of videoconferencing and Youtube situations. A strong entrepreneur will stand out from the crowd if they harness the ability to share their ideas and viewpoints verbally
- The need to develop formal training and coaching processes and conversations is more important than ever. Over the past few years, companies have begun to realize that while the sexy new age of inbound marketing, social selling, and online funnels have been great for lead generation, there is a huge need to focus more on selling and direct customer interactions.
- Technology does not replace the human interaction, but it does matter. With the vast array of tools available for salespeople, it’s been easy to get caught in simply digital selling. The new way forward will require a hybrid sales approach that involves the use of pre-sales data and research, combined with highly insightful and focused sales conversations that help buyers immediately.
- Craft Cider and Sake will be the ‘it’ beverages.