We are often asked why it’s important to know what a trend might do to a business when the business is doing just fine.
It’s simple: everything changes, and your business will too.
Being alert to opportunity allows you time to prepare and to work to a plan, rather than forcing you to knee-jerk when competition springs up.
Here are a few current viewable trends. If they’ve never occurred to you, do get in touch – there are a lot more where these came from.
They don’t need engine components, fuel gauges, or gas tanks. If you’re in the supply chain at the sharp end of this business, it’s time to re-think.
Should you get into componentry for E-cars or focus on a growing heritage market? Like mechanical clocks and watches, classic cars went out of style for a while, but collectors now value precision engineering over digital accuracy, and old-school mechanics, like watchmakers, are hard to find. Scarcity also means ‘premium’.
Brewers and publicans will come to love e-bikes. Country pubs and restaurants away from public transport routes have been hit by stringent policing of drink-drive laws. Now, let’s make no criticism of drink-drive laws, but they have encouraged stay-at-home drinkers, and the unit price of alcohol has been forced down by supermarkets, hitting the pub trade hard.
Right now, e-bikes are treated like push-bikes by UK law. Add low-effort, motorised mobility and a pub’s appeal falls within comfortable range.
Accountancy is going to shrink as an industry. Professional services are entering a period of automation. The UK Treasury is imposing digital tax requirements on individuals and businesses alike; book-keeping packages allow small businesses and large company employees to file expenses and revenue on their phones. At school and university careers events, accountancy is starting to look pretty outdated compared with all the other skills-based careers on offer.
Traditional book-keepers and management accountants may not be feeling the squeeze just yet, but there’s a strong suggestion that a skills shortage is looming, and this will drive more automation, completing a vicious circle.
Cannabis in the UK
In the UK, cannabis is illegal as a recreational drug. But it depends where it’s used as to whether you’d get prosecuted for doing so.
Recent reports that this law may relax indicate that a change is coming. Features in the UK press reveal that non-UK companies are investing in this changing environment. Linking this back to drinking, outlets selling social experiences (like pubs and restaurants) face the same mobility (driving under the influence) issues as those who will promote cannabis consumption – maybe e-bikes have more potential than even the current operators think.
When Wikipedia was launched, the founders wanted it to eventually be possible to complete a degree from Wiki alone.
Since then, distance learning has evolved. The Open University has struggled to maintain its USP with every bricks and mortar uni offering a distance learning option and most people now turning to the internet for research of every kind.
Some universities will undoubtedly survive. But, like lots of products that are only differentiated by their marketing and their packaging, they’re probably looking at a future with less physical patronage.
Most of the experiences available through virtual reality (VR) still have a long way to go before they are totally immersive. But it won’t be long. Forget falling off a cliff or walking the plank. I’m talking about living in a VR world while you learn at a university, and interacting with fellow students but saving the costs of accommodation by doing so at home. If students can sign up to a degree anywhere in the world, regardless of their personal location, the emphasis will be very much on the academic provision, rather than the en-suite bathrooms in the new halls of residence.
Everything here is predictable
These insights are based on a creative extrapolation of trends you can read in the media any day of the week. But you have to be looking – or have someone doing it on your behalf.
Future thinking. Future-proofing.