This has been an interesting year for businesses as we saw many shifts in consumerism, marketing, production and the workplace itself. Here, our top 5 business trends that you just can’t ignore:
1. Go Big or Go Home
We began to hear a lot about Big Data over the course of this year. What is Big Data? It’s a collection of data sets that is so large it is difficult to process by traditional data processing applications. It makes our list not only because it is one of the year’s new business buzz phrases but also because clever entrepreneurs and innovators are creating tools and applications that can process this ever-growing stockpile of information that is too large for companies to manage, store and analyze in house, thereby crafting a new technology market.
Read the abstract of Mark van Rijmenam’s Think Bigger.
2. Girl Power!
Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg and her 2013 bestseller, Lean In, we all began to reexamine women’s roles in the workplace, which has become known as the Lean In effect. In addition, the power of women in business is growing—the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 54% over the past 15 years. Indeed, according to Forbes, more than one billion women will enter the workplace over the course of the next decade. Research shows that these women will be more educated than men and will begin to take more of the leadership roles available. Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Marie Forleo are just the tip of the iceberg.
Read the abstract of Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders.
There is no denying it — social technologies have become an integral part of our everyday life. This, in turn, is shifting the corporate-consumer paradigm, thereby changing the way companies communicate about and promote their services and products in order to accommodate the mobility and connectedness that now shapes consumer-based markets. We have created a world where customers now have a personal relationship to their favorite products and the companies that make them. Furthermore, with the growth of blogs and review sites, the world’s consumers have grown a voice and morphed into experts.
Read the abstract of Shannon Belew’s The Art of Social Selling.
4. Proud to be an American
One of our favorite recent trends was witnessing a return to domestic production and therefore a step away from recession. Thanks to affordable labor, as well as the aforementioned better financial climate, America has seen a return to homegrown manufacturing. This is great news! Especially considering that a New York Times poll in early 2013 revealed that 52% of the public believes it is “very important” that the products they buy are made in America. In addition, there is the added benefit that by keeping production close to home, companies reap benefits on the connectivity front, translating into better products and systems. Here’s hoping it continues into 2015 and beyond.
Read the abstract of Dan Ward’s F.I.R.E..
5. Work is Fun for Everyone!
Finally, America is catching up with its European counterparts when it comes to recognizing the value for employees in time off from work. Many homeland companies have even taken the concept a little further and introduced fun in the workplace. Indeed, the New York Times claimed that “the Fun at Work movement seems irrepressible,” in a December 13th 2013 op-ed piece. Of course it is! Because, as CEOs are finally realizing, a happy, confident, well-rested workforce who feels appreciated is always going to be a more productive one than the overworked and under-thanked alternative.
Read the abstract of Dennis W. Bakke’s Joy at Work.
Image: Angelo de Santis / Flickr