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10 Business Trends for 2015
By Jack Deal

     2015 will be a good year for business. Opportunities will be plentiful for those businesses that are open and put themselves in a position to 'win'. Although the overall Charter a jet prospects are good, there are warning signs that businesses should acknowledge. Some of the plusses and minuses to look for in 2015 are:
      1) Employees. For most businesses, employees will become more important. Successful companies will focus more on their people and give less 'lip service'. Recruiting will become more costly and difficult and it will be harder for companies to keep their good employees. Hiring, evaluating and motivating will be key employer concerns.
      2) Competition in most industries will continue to increase. Weak companies will be 'washed out' of the marketplace. Consolidation will continue to be a major dynamic in mature industries. Lower net profits will be a symptom of those that are not able to compete successfully.
      3) Webtechnology will continue to grow as a competitive advantage. Many companies that do not have websites will be compelled to do so. Research and data mining will become more important to maintain a competitive edge. E-mail communication will grow in importance and even non-technical industries will feel the pressure to use e-mail.
      4) Information technology and the use of computers will become less of an option. Those companies that are only partly integrated will feel the need to fully integrate. As competition increases, database management of customers and prospects will not be optional. Companies that fall behind in IT will find it harder to catch up.
      5) Management will become more important to the bottom line. How a company is run will determine its success in the marketplace.
      6) Sales and marketing will require more time, effort and creativity. As customers and clients become more sophisticated, so to must the marketing and sales efforts that service them.
      7) Best practices will become less industry-specific and more business-specific. Consultants dealing in vertical markets will become less effective with their clients. Companies will be forced to go outside their industry to find ways to gain competitive advantage.
      8) The business design or model will become more crucial to success. A poor design will more quickly send a company into the deep red. Markets will determine business structure -- 'form follows function' will take on added meaning. The allowable margin of error on a poor design will approach zero.
      9) Change in the chaotic marketplace will be the norm. Those companies that are not flexible and able to adapt quickly will find themselves with decreasing market share. Traditional, linear business strategies will show a decreasing cause and effect.
      10) Learning and knowledge will become more important as a strategy. Those that do not know will be left out. Business evolution will sort out those companies that can think from those that cannot.
      We are experiencing a full-blown business revolution. Like it or not, the revolution is here to stay. As we approach the millennium we will see the fundamentals of 'business as usual' come into question. Those companies not looking to the future should seriously examine their exit strategy.

Other article by Jack Deal: The Knowledge/Ideas Paradox

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