Watch for these big business trends in the coming year:
Artificial Intelligence – AI
You probably began watching this during 2017, but then it was still more idea and promise than any reality. During 2018, you will begin to see the reality of AI with connected devices – the big tech companies all have their version – from Siri to Alexa and more, similar AI will filter into the workplace, and their connection to other devices may transform both your personal and business life. (A prime example of a company I am involved with is Jetsmarter, which has personalized private jet travel). These changes should also help with some age-old disputes … you can simply tell the coffee maker to do its job and skip finding out if your personal assistant does that or not.
Women’s Place at Work
When #MeToo took over social media, the smoke signals hit the horizon about what is acceptable in the workplace and what won’t be tolerated any longer. As more industry, media, sports, and other leaders find themselves desperately battling allegations from past reported behaviors, many feel the possibility of a tsunami rising. Could all of this upheaval create huge changes for women to move forward, or will it have negative unintended consequences? This is one of the big things to monitor in society as well as your business and industry.
Social Commentary by CEOs and Leaders
Many leaders are using the platform they have through their business to promote their philosophies and feelings on social issues. This is something leaders need to decide about for themselves. Making social views can be a boon or a bust to your business. It depends on the issues you espouse. Of course, if you choose to do this, make sure you really believe in the cause – to the point of losing business over it possibly. The other thing you might consider is picking a cause you believe in and is likely to be supported by a large percentage of your customers.
Negative Tech Issues
Some of the huge tech-based companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are doing great on the stock market and keeping their customers, but they are also getting so large that there are concerns from regulators. There are also issues on how they keep things in control (or not) with users.
As Mark Angelo of Yorkville Advisors recently noted, “Facebook spent a good portion of 2017 in Congressional hearings, and Twitter faces similar challenges now. That doesn’t even mention the issues we’ve been facing in politics, with Russia, and ISIS.
Negative Possibility – Recession
Everyone is a bit jazzed at the moment about the tax changes and the possibility of it opening more money up for businesses to build further or pass back to their employees – probably more likely since the unemployment levels are so low, so filling jobs becomes more difficult without providing better pay, benefits, and incentives. BUT, the economy has been getting stronger for more than eight years and in a historical sense, that’s a long run. Who knows how long this can last.
Keep these things in mind as you plan for 2018 in your business.
About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.