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Friday, October 5, 2012

Future Trends: The Secret Sauce to your Success

First it was Y2K and now it's the end of the world in 2012? Get over it!

Welcome to the second decade of the 21st Century! How did that happen so quickly? Seems like we just got over worrying about our computer systems imploding on the eve of 2000, which proves my point: Worrying about things that probably won't happen, is a waste of time. True futurists see possibilities as well as pitfalls and seek to prepare rather than scare. The times, while certainly changing and challenging, are also very exciting indeed.

Here are 5 major trends/possibilities to watch for and act upon in 2012/2013 and beyond:

1. Green Technology/Water Conservation

The terms Green technology, carbon footprint, climate change, eco friendly, re usable, recyclable will be the words spoken, written, discussed and planned for in huge proportions from now on. This will impact large industry as well as small businesses and households who will be compelled willingly or unwillingly to save the planet. Business travel will more limited as the "carbon footprint" is more top of mind. It will be replaced with online and virtual meetings. This will impact airlines, hotels and other travel related industries. However, it will also greatly increase opportunities for online learning, webinars and teleseminars. Hopefully, that will mean not only less carbon dioxide in the air but more quality time at home. Water shortages will replace gas shortages. Growing populations create agricultural and industrial growth. Everybody is going to need more water. Every industry, from agriculture to manufacturing to landscaping and pool services will be impacted. How can you participate in these growing trends? What service can you provide/create for this growing need to reduce the carbon footprint?

2. Elder Care

Life expectancy grows to age 100+. This will affect every aspect of society - from jobs, housing, health care, retirement needs, mortality tables, insurance costs, elder care/assisted living needs, the definition of a nuclear family and caregiver roles. Growth in a senior population will affect laws on inheritance, elder abuse, conservancy, real estate, investments, housing design and construction, medical care and medical support systems.

This phenomenon is causing a shift in elder care models. What worked for families with ailing seniors in the late 20th century may not be possible or practical now. Adult children live more hectic and demanding lives and may not live nearby. By the time senior parents need help, their kids are near retirement too! Savings and retirement funds are running out as people are living longer. What is to be done as the majority population of the western world continues to age? The need here is huge. What kinds of services can you provide to this growing population and their concerned families?

3. Internet:

It's getting bigger and more important by the minute. The worldwide web offers everyone who is "connected" to search for information, hire a professional, purchase homes as well as goods and services and even meet the person of their dreams. LinkedIn, Facebook and a myriad of other social networks allows people and businesses to connect. It's not going away. It's only going to get bigger and more important. If you still see yourself as only "local", you are in the minority and you are missing out on amazing internet marketing and sales opportunities. Individuals and businesses are now connecting all over the globe. If your website is 20th century brochure style - get moving and get interactive. Videos and blogs are not a passing fancy and really promote your website presence. What can you do to update your web presence right now?

4. Personal Growth/Personal Health/Slowing Down the Aging Process:

As baby boomers are seeing their parents reaping the rewards of unhealthy living (smoking, obesity, lack of exercise) requiring walkers, wheelchairs and oxygen tanks at the end of their lives, they are beginning to rethink their own lifestyles so as not to suffer the same fate. It's not just about looking younger. It's about feeling younger... Health and Fitness is the wave of the future. Low glycemic index diets, exercise, and a new awareness that diabetes 2 is purely lifestyle related and not to be expected in old age is the new trend. This will affect restaurants and food manufacturing and packaging. Think brown rice and whole grains. Goodbye simple carbs, saturated fats and high fructose corn syrup. It's making us sick and we know it. It may be convenient up front but very costly at the end.

As mainstream churches struggle to remain relevant in the 21st century, New Age thinking, ala The Secret is on the rise. Meditation, Yoga, Retreats and Health Spas cater not only to individuals but companies looking for innovative ways to conduct business meetings and team building events. Blend making more money with getting healthier and you have struck gold. If you are in the health, wellness or hospitality industry, this is a major trend for you.

5. Re emergence of Entrepreneurship

In 1776 more than 95% of all Americans were entrepreneurs. By the middle of the 20th century, that number had dwindled to less than 30%. The industrial revolution enticed people to leave their farms and shut down small businesses to seek employment in the cities. The Great Depression accelerated the process. This resulted in the breakup of families and a dependence on manufactured goods and credit.

In 2012-2013, it is back to basics. Generation X & Y aren't so willing to give their lives to the corporation. Small business growth is seen as the savior of our downtrodden economy. Are you a small business owner? Rejoice. While you can buy a house or a car online, there are many services that must be done in person. If you are an electrician, plumber, medical care provider or other hands on professional, this is the decade for you. The key to your success will be customer service and follow up. In this ever increasing internet centered world, it will be the personal touch that you provide to your clients that will be the "secret sauce" that will grow your business.

There are many other trends in science and industry that are truly exciting - from smart machines that anticipate our every need to a possible cure for cancer and the end of inherited disease. While you are enjoying the benefits of these future trends, what will you do to contribute to them also?

Marilyn Ellis, CTACC, CSA, is an Author, Speaker, Professional Organizer, Senior Move Manager and Estate Liquidator. Her company name, Lighthouse Organizers, LLC reflects her true desire “to help people navigate through their busy and challenging lives.”

Join Marilyn, as she will be hosting the Society of Certified Senior Advisors monthly educational webinar: Future Trends / Future Opportunities in Business. This presentation wil be held on Thursdsay, October 25, 2012 at 12:00 Noon (MST).

Register for this event now!