December 31st… great time to sum up the year that will be left behind in a number of hours. Over the last week, it seems that one can’t stop thinking “Wow! What a ride 2011 was…” while reading articles that summarize 2011 events on one page. Lots of real life events and lots of turbulence transmitted to the economy, both positively (UK’s economy got £620 million boost from Royal Wedding) and negatively (tsunami in Japan damaged its economy for $300 billion)
Absorbing all of this information, one can’t avoid questioning what 2012 is cooking for us, realizing this time more than ever that some unpredictable natural or social events can drive or slow down our businesses and the economy as a whole. If we ignore that the Internet’s ‘2012 predictions’ warn us only about the end of the world, we small business owners are left to prepare for what we know will come:
- The US presidential election, where ‘small business’ will be again in the spotlight
- The London Olympics, where an additional boost of £ 10 billion is forecasted for the UK economy – and UK small businesses should be aware of this the most
- Batman, Spiderman and Hobbit together with the Avengers are coming (back) to movie theaters in 2012; if you embrace the buzz, your small business could profit from these heroes
While 2012 still holds a dose of mystery for small businesses, it feels good to say that a large number of expected trends for 2012 are much more obvious. If we reflect on what people predicted a couple of years ago about upcoming trends, we can see redundancy from year to year. The green trend, the social media trend, the mobile trend, the blogging trend, the localization trend in small business, etc…. haven’t we heard it all, each year in the recent past? So, what’s new if we read somewhere that ‘social media’ is still a trend for 2012, when it has been a trend to watch the last couple of years? Haven’t we spoken about mobile websites being a must already for the last couple of years, so why does it continue to be a trend to watch in 2012? What…blogging is also a necessity in 2012?
Last call guys! The trends that we’ve been following the last couple of years are no longer trends, but the way business is going to be done in 2012, so be ready to adapt or die. If you haven’t already taken them seriously and done something along these lines – you have a lot to do in 2012…like now!
Still, when you immerse your business in 2012’s trends, maintain cautious optimism. People across the web are moderately optimistic after looking at current economic indicators. The word on the street is that consumer confidence continues to rise and unemployment claims continue to fall – sounds like good climate for small business, right? If you cautiously accept this optimism and if you do it right, you might save some money, grow your business, and have more flexibility with your time – ah, a small business owner’s dream, right!
Flexibility…I remember when I started my own business: my friends and family didn’t take me seriously. Somehow the only thing they saw was that I was able to reply to their emails at 11AM and to pick up the phone whenever they called – so I was not exactly working…right? What they did not realize was that my working day did not start at 9AM and finish at 5PM, and that some weekends I had to forget about the ‘week-end’. Welcome to my world! That tendency will probably become more notable in 2012. Given that technology has become so accessible and that the world has become a global village, one can really do a lot from his or her bed at 11PM. Small business owners will have easy connectivity to their customers and more flexibility with their time. Saving money and growing your business…technology continues to rapidly evolve and present us with more options to choose from, resulting in much cheaper if not completely free software. Applications are going to boom even more in the following years, and they can finish so much for us. In 2012, you should say it loud and proud…that you are a bit more optimistic than you were at the beginning of 2011. Just please, say it cautiously.
A Cautious Happy New 2012!