Three Current Business Trends

Three Current Business Trends

Three Current Business Trends

By Mark Wager

I've always viewed the business world as being like the ocean. Depending on what you do, it can be seen as a world of immense beauty and excitement or a world of danger and misery. If a big wave approaches a beach, some people can moan about getting wet while others will grab a surfboard and ride the wave. The people who are successful in business are the people who can anticipate the wave and decide to ride it.

The business world is constantly changing. To be successful we need to be aware of these changes so that we can adapt and take advantage of them. As we are half way through the year, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you three business trends that I have noticed so far this year.

Social media has changed marketing forever.

The world of social media has for a long time been an important part of many peoples lives. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have given people the tools to connect with people from all corners of the world yet business has always been a step behind. The business world has always accepted social media and speculated it's increasingly important role in the future yet it has always been a small part of marketing campaigns. This changed earlier this year and it came from an unlikely source. In February this year, a movie was released and broke box office records mainly due to its social media marketing campaign. Deadpool was a movie that the studio was reluctant to make. Stuck in a development stage for six years, things changed when a test clip of the movie was "leaked" online and the reaction of the general public was enough to change the mind of the studio. Coming up to the release of the movie the marketing team went back to social media and released a series of low-cost videos while also posting messages from the fictional character Deadpool himself. Movies had previously used social media but never before had social media been the central focus of their campaign. A movie that had expectations of a $50-$70 million opening weekend actually opened to a record breaking $130 million weekend and currently has grossed $780 million dollars worldwide.

The time that many people in business had speculated for a long time is now with us and that is social media is becoming a legitimate marketing strategy and is not only competing but actually overtaking other traditional marketing methods such as print, media and television advertising. This in itself is rewriting how we market our products and services and while the fundamentals still apply, people need to know you, like you and trust you, how we do that in in business is very different. Social media has changed the world and how people interact with each other and now it's changing how people interact with businesses and marketing will never be the same again.

We are moving towards a connection economy.

When I started out in business I was a Broker Sales Manager of a Finance House in London. Like many businesses my role was to be the "middle man" by connecting customers with suppliers. This type of business is quickly evolving as companies are starting to realise that we are moving towards a connection economy. This is when the most successful companies are the ones which are focussing on relationships and connecting directly with customers. If you look at the most successful business stories within the last year, you start to see a trend.

The fastest growing taxi company in the world owns no vehicles but instead focuses on connecting drivers directly with passengers.

YouTube is estimated to be worth between $26 billion and $40 billion yet it produces no original content itself. It specialises in providing a platform that connects makers of content directly with users.

Kickstarter, a platform which allows the public to invest in ventures is likely to be responsible for raising more investment capital than the traditional venture capital industry within the next few years. All this despite using none of their own funds just merely by creating a platform for others to invest.

The "wave" of business that is coming is that people are demanding less barriers between them and the end product or service so in order to ride this business "wave" businesses have to do one of two things. If you supply a product you will have to look at how you can connect and deal directly with the customer or if you are looking at a new business it needs to be focussed on creating a platform or system that creates an easy and speedy connection between customer and user/product otherwise you will drown in this upcoming business wave.

Leadership training is no longer just for executives.

The third key business trend I've noticed is the commitment of the most progressive companies to invest in leadership. While companies have always been keen to invest in improving the leadership skills of their executives it's becoming clear that the more successful companies are starting to realise that leadership is required at all levels of an organisation. Also leadership training is no longer a response to an obvious issue or as a reward for development, modern leadership training is starting to be viewed as a clear investment opportunity. Research is showing the clear connection between the leadership ability of a manager and the productivity of their team.

The National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States released a study entitled "The Value of Bosses" by Edward Lazear, Kathryn Shaw and Christopher Stanton. In a study of 23,878 employees and 1,940 Managers, it was found that there was a direct link between a manager's leadership skills and productivity. The top quality performing individuals were led by managers who had strong leadership skills. These individuals were 10% more productive than those whose managers were ranked as having poor leadership skills. The difference was just over 10% in productivity. The better quality managers also had higher retention rates of employees which in turn reduced the cost of replacing employees. When you take into account recruitment costs, time for recruitment and lost productivity during training, the cost of replacing an employee is estimated to be around 1.5 times the departing employee's salary depending on their role within the company.

The better the leadership skills of the Manager the more productive the team and the higher the profits. Leadership training is now an investment opportunity.

Heraclitus once wrote that the only constant is change. Like the ocean, the business world is constantly changing. The decision every business has to make is whether they want to drown or ride the waves.

Image courtesy of photostock at

Posted: Monday 25 July 2016

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