The following is a summary of an article by Steve King, Carolyn Ockels and Anthony Townsend that appeared in Small Business Labs (December 2008).
The authors report five trends that will have an economic impact in 2009.
- The recession will drive innovation compelling businesses to focus on cash flow, customer retention and survival. The recession will also drive businesses to improve productivity and increase customer value. Businesses will re-evaluate, re-design and refine their products. Consequently the recession will create new opportunities for many businesses.
- Governments will become more active in regulating their economies. The regulatory failures that contributed to the recession will result in more government control and oversight. Businesses will need to be aware of how the legal, regulatory and policy changes will affect their business.
- Billions of dollars will be spent through the stimulus package passed by Congress. Many businesses will benefit from the investment in infrastructure, energy, transportation and education. Businesses that serve these providers will also benefit.
- Small business will increase. Job losses will result in more businesses forming. While business failures will also increase there should be a net gain at the end of the year. In Virginia it’s relatively easy to form an LLC. It takes even less to operate as a sole proprietor. This may further contribute to an increase in business formations.
- Globalization and exports will continue to shrink. While the short term picture is sobering the long term prospects are still strong.
- Baby boomers retirement issues will increase business formations. The current recession and the loss of asset value may compel baby boomers to stay employed even longer. Combining that with the continuing decline of traditional jobs may result in boomers forming various small or personal service businesses.
- Generation Y, those born between 1978 and 2000 may also react to the economy by becoming more entrepreneurial.
- Mobile Computing will continue to grow. In the second half of 2008 notebooks outsold desktops; smart phones continue to claim more market share, while the sales of net books also increased. These trends will continue to have a significant impact on businesses in 2009.
- Cloud Computing will increase. Cloud computing refers to accessing software stored on some else’s server versus your own server. Cloud computing helps to lower capital costs which should help every businesses bottom line, particularly in a recession.
- Businesses will increase their on line marketing tools. Online marketing is not just a trend but a sea change. Online marketing is cheaper and becoming more effective than traditional methods. Competition and the economy will compel businesses to develop a greater online presence.
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JC Cancelleri is a business strategist and consultant. JC’s value as a business professional is augmented by being a lawyer, life coach and by having a PhD in Organizational Leadership.
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