The listing or listing on the stock market, as many people call it, is the process of making a transition from a private organization to a publicly owned entity in which all or some shares of the company can be traded on the stock exchange. The ability of the company's shares to be traded on the stock market is critical to an organization's decision to list the company.Basically, the stock market...
As we roll into the new year, here are the top 11 trends entrepreneurs need to know about, think about, and all of us should prepare for:
1. The economy will continue to struggle: This is the most important question on everyone’s mind. If the PR and marketing experts were preparing me to write this blog to be popular, they would tell me to speak positively about the economic trends for 2011. But I don’t see it at the macro level and I refuse to sugarcoat things for the simple fact of write a popular blog post. I know of some entrepreneurs who are thriving and some who are struggling or who have already closed their doors. But most are floating in the water. And this will be the same news at the end of 2011. I say it, although you probably wanted to hear something different.
In his publication Yet More Evidence of Hunkering Down Among Small Business, Jeff Cornwall expresses concern that if entrepreneurs are not positioning their businesses to expand, a full economic recovery seems distant at best. But there are many strong niches and unique opportunities that will continue to thrive with savvy entrepreneurs.
2. The working capital will be the king: Yes, the saying goes that cash is king. But tough economic times have taught many entrepreneurs that their working capital is sacred, primarily because it is the key to immediate and short-term cash. Those who make it more efficient (see Working Capital – Often Less Is More) will outperform their competitors. Those who protect you from being used for capital expenditures, owner overcompensation, and other outlets that don’t help generate immediate and short-term gross profit will find the empowerment it provides to succeed regardless of almost any external or financial pressure.
3. Results-oriented marketing will be one of the biggest differentiators of the year: What happened to measuring marketing performance? Many entrepreneurs are so in love with marketing that they have become soft when it comes to measuring the results it generates. Some have justified spending more on marketing as a strategy to overcome the recession, and most of them are out of business now, having bled their working capital without a tool to measure whether it was really paying off. Marketing metrics will be back in vogue, and cost per lead and cost per customer acquisition will be numbers that successful companies reduce as effectively as possible. John Donal Leavy has a lot more to say on this topic here: Results-Based Marketing in 2011.
4. Capital expenditures will increase: Most companies have postponed necessary capital expenditures in 2010 for two reasons. First, they were concerned about not getting the expanded Section 179 tax deduction for 100% of their purchases, and second, they were concerned about overspending in a tough economy. With the increased Section 179 deduction extended through 2011 and an economy still shaky, most employers are putting off that pent-up demand until 2011. Don’t be fooled, because capital expenditures are likely to decline again in 2012. You can read more about this in an article I wrote for the American Express OPEN Forum: Five Financial Trends Every Entrepreneur Should Know About.
5. Being green will no longer be a trend, it will be an expectation: A little ahead of this trend, in my opinion, the folks at Willoughby Design wrote: Going green is not a temporary fad, it is an expectation. If you haven’t accepted this fact, your competitors will get more traction and sustainability than you. Period.
6. Fixed rate and flat rate will generate more business: Whatever you sell, have a fixed price. If your customers feel, in any way, that the cost of your products or services is variable, it will decrease your chances of getting the business. Find out how to price your products and services and deliver what your customers need. The argument that the needs of each client are different is becoming obsolete, as are those who base their entire business model on it. Here’s just one example from a lawyer who wrote about how clients love flat-rate billing based on defined deliverables.
7. Mobile, cloud and social technology will continue to converge: As these three technologies mature, they will continue to converge and become the future of how we think and use technology. You can read just one of the many opinions on this here: Convergence of Mobile, Cloud, and Social Media.
8. Business indebtedness will move further away from traditional sources: It will become more difficult and less attractive to obtain traditional loans from banks. Increasing an entrepreneur’s opportunities to adequately fund his business is a hotly debated topic, but few seem to really understand it. You can read more about these challenges at altconsulting.org, and you can also look forward to more innovation for entrepreneurs to access the funds they need in 2011.
9. Enforcement of compliance will increase: The IRS has $ 300 million more to spend on compliance programs in 2011, and many state and local tax agencies and other compliance agencies are also spending more on compliance. Plan it out and it will be ready when you arrive. It is more and more likely that this is the case.
10. The temporary reduction of Social Security taxes is a sign of things to come: A provision of the 2010 Tax Relief Act left me scratching my head. Everyone knows that the social security system is underfunded and that it will be bankrupt in a few decades unless the program is revised. So why did Congress reduce the amount paid to the fund by two percentage points, or down to $ 2,136 per worker? It just doesn’t make sense, unless the long-term plan is to remove the limit, currently set at $ 106,800, in total, to match the same way Medicare tax is currently treated.
11. Recruitment will focus on added value, regardless of position or responsibility: Most studies and surveys say that hiring will be stagnant among entrepreneurial companies in 2011. But those who hire will focus on the value that each new employee and position will bring to the company. They will improve your company’s hiring practices and will only hire when an employee is the only way to move toward your goals and objectives.
We hope these trends and tips help us all make 2011 a year of prosperity and growth. To see the report card for my 2010 predictions, visit the 2010 Top 10 Trends for Entrepreneurs Report Card.