USA Today is up today with an article on the top trends of 2008. They only have five posted at this time, but more will follow later. The author, Steve Strauss, takes great pains to explain these are not predictions, but trends:
This is not a predictions column but a trends column. Predictions are inherently speculative, trends are not. New trends are forces that are already occurring, but which may be flying a bit under your radar.
Good enough for me.
He lists the following as the trends followed by my comments on them:
Taking your business virtual: It’s hard to argue with his logic, but these are things most small businesses should be doing today anyway. The big thing to walk away concerning this are applications that appear in the cloud. The cloud is the internet. The applications don’t reside on your PC, but are used through a common browser. These applications allow you to save money on licensing, but also offer you the ability to run them on lower powered PCs.
Creative marketing: Again, it’s something every small business owner grapples with from time to time. Steve points out that 2008 will be competitive for eyeballs. Personally, I think 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, et. al. were just as competitive.
Microbusinesses: He makes a good point about emerging countries putting pressure on old guard countries, but this offers you small business more opportunity as well. Yes, there are times where export issues will cause a problem, but the decline of the dollar does have an upside sometimes.
Cellphone usage: Cellphones are productivity tools. Who would have thought? Seriously, this is probably the weakest trend of them all. Most small business owners understand the power of their communications devices, especially the costs.
Search findings: Steve hits a homerun with this one. You need to understand that organic and pay per click advertising can augment your local business sales. It’s money on the table for you to snag.
2008 trends are good to watch, but make sure you’re not ignoring the old standbys.