Predicting the Future: Trends for Success
As a CEO one of your primary job functions is to look into the unknown and predict the future. That is obviously an impossible task, but with some careful analysis and thought you can attempt to set a direction for your company that will benefit from emerging trends.
These are some interesting trends I see developing that will affect business in the coming few years.
1. Cost of starting a business plummet
The drastic fall in communication costs allows even one person start-ups to have access to a worldwide talent pool at rock bottom prices. In addition, technological advancements are driving down the cost of establishing web or technology based companies. Finally, technology is driving all sorts of efficiencies and allowing for greater productivity across the board, allowing smaller companies to accomplish more.
This is both good and bad, on the one hand it means that fast thinking companies can continue to expand, add features, even entire business lines in the blink of an eye, and try for homeruns without being killed if they fail one or two times.
Alternatively, it means you can never stop watching your back because anyone out there can start a business and put pricing pressure on you.
2. International Consumption Soars
The international middle class is soaring and there is unprecedented global wealth.
Regardless of the US economies, the international economy will continue to soar. It will only get better as the international wage equilibrium begins to balance and international wages rise to meet US payment scales somewhere in the middle.
This provides fantastic opportunities for global minded entrepreneurs who are able to tap into this new golden age of consumer spending.
3. The emergence of the Hispanic demographic
This is clearly an undisputed trend. Look at your neighborhood magazine rack, and if you live in one of the largest 50 cities in the US, you will see a plethora of Spanish based media. Still don’t believe me? Turn on the TV. Still not 100% sure you agree, then look at the facts, because the Hispanic demographic is growing at four times the national average. It is estimated that within 34 years Hispanics will constitute 25% of the entire US population. They will account for 700 billion dollars in spending power as little as four years.
Hispanics will form a very important part of the US economy and understanding this early on is critical.
1. The housing slowdown will halt consumer spending to a crawl and drive the economy into a recession.
This is incredibly worrisome, because a bad economy is bad for all business – plain and simple.
2. Iran and N. Korea build a nuclear arsenal
I don’t see how we stop this. The US is spread too think to deter anyone, and any offensive campaign against either of these two countries will result in a world war.
From a business perspective, this means continued international political instability, and probably allows for oil prices to stay at a high level for a long time to come.
3. Poor get poorer
This is a two prong problem. The first issue is that as communication costs collapse the wage discrepancy across countries is becoming less justifiable. The reasons for paying four or five times more money to employees simply because they live in the US are becoming less and less compelling. The next few years will see a resetting to equilibrium of global wages. US wages will fall, international wages will rise.
This leads to the second issue, which is that we absolutely need undocumented workers in the US. We can not compete against China, India, Mexico, Brazil and just about every other country if we pay dishwasher wages of $14 an hour when a PHD programmer in India makes $8 an hour
At the same time, a guest workers program is too controversial and far reaching to actually go through. What this means is that nothing will change and the government turns a blind eye towards the undocumented worker.
The problem here is that there already are too many low-wage employees for the jobs we have available. This is a very recent phenomenon, but in the past 3 years we have inverted the ratio from one where work was plentiful, but workers were hard to find, to one where there are just too many people fighting for the same jobs. If people continue to come into this country illegally and we don’t close our borders to illegal immigration, we will have seriously suppressed wages at the lower end of the spectrum, which will trickle all the way through to the middle class.
Entry filed under: Start-up.