This article from Mashable got me thinking this morning, 2020 has, for a long time be used as a future date, but those people with a love for business plans 2020 will soon be knocking on your door with a 5 year plan and already there with a 10 year plan.

A lot of the work I perform is helping clients build on their Business Plans and Strategy and it is always a point of discussion, where is your business going, what does it look like in 5 years time.

Whilst predictions like this are interesting (and sometimes amusing) they are specific to industries which may not affect you, so here are my predictions which will affect most businesses. Some are a lot closer than 2020

  • Connectivity: People of all demographics will become every increasingly connected to the web and at greater speeds. This will allow you to deliver better quality services via the web. It will also mean you will need to connect with these people through a wide range of methods, are you thinking about Email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and more recently for  Product/Design based companies Pintrest?
  • Social Groups will get more and more power: People will be able to organise their own buying power/service negotiation.  Are you monitoring what people are saying about your services, could you lock groups in by offering a better service/cost.
  • Targeted Ads Online and Off:   With Facebook you can already show your ads to people of a specific Gender, Age Groups, Location and Interests, this is more than Google currently does in its targeting!! With NFC type functionality now coming to phones  and all the social data that is available about you it will not be long before targeting is done offline where we have Minority Report type adverts appearing as we walk around shops and towns suggesting products/services specifically for you.  There are already bus stop ads on trial that target Men and Women differently based on image recognition.
  • Your market will go truly global: This has been possible for Service companies for a while now but as connectivity  and technology improves it will become more of the norm and those in production etc will be able to outsource the production to remote areas much more easily, so supplying products to clients in Australia will become a case of local production no import/export.
  • More and more roles will be outsourced in the coming years meaning your ‘staff’ will be working for more businesses than just yours.   As a small business owner that makes sense, I do not want, nor can I afford to hold highly skilled staff all of the time, I work with a number of skilled people utilising their expertise when required. This is not just a financial thing, it gives me fleetness of foot and also flexibility in how the business is run.

What do you think?  Have you a handle on what you, your business you client and suppliers will look like in a few years time?