What Entrepreneurial Opportunities Await in 2018?
The tumultuous events of 2017 have already shaped the entrepreneurial opportunities for 2018. The innovators respond first, and then the thinkers and actors catch on. Soon thereafter, the early adopters are hopping on and, before you know it, the legislators and regulators are taking notice. Look at cryptocurrencies as an example! Big businesses, bound by bureaucracy and legacy systems, too much comfort and layers of fragmented communication mostly follow last. And, of course, these waves of incredible change are propelled by our always-on, instant media universe that has become an essential part of our daily lives. Set yourself up to be one of the first to act on entrepreneurial opportunities that arise in 2018, and you’ll have a winning business in your sector by the end of the year. On this week’s The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield, we considered four big trends from 2017, and the momentum behind them:
The profound wave of change that has taken hold in technology during 2017 is formidable. To highlight just a few important innovations that have come to the fore, and become commonplace during 2017, consider the implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) throughout every sector – from medical care to data mining, and back again. Algorithms, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), The ‘Internet of Things’, adaptive printing, and drones are now part of our daily lives. Let’s not forget blockchain, with decentralized control systems and the emergence of cryptocurrencies. Beyond our careers, the creation of exoskeletons and robotic interventions is unlocking human potential far beyond what we’ve known possible in the past. Technology has become incredibly affordable to invest in, even for a small business, and is no longer only the domain of big business. Better yet, as an entrepreneur, if you harness the right technologies, you can adapt and respond to its innovation far more efficiently – and quickly – than bigger businesses.
In 2018, an entrepreneurially driven small business can think and be big, if adopting the right technologies, to take on the big sector players.
Climate change denialists may scoff at this, but global weather patterns are shifting far more quickly than expected. Even in South Africa, we’re seeing the effects of this, with the severe drought in the Western Cape; tornados in Gauteng; extreme flash floods in KwaZulu-Natal, and the devastating Knysna fires earlier this year. In the US, hurricanes and wildfires have been terrifying. And while the effects of climate change are having a huge impact on lives across the globe, there are entrepreneurial opportunities to be discovered.
Social media and the always-on nature of media nowadays has created an environment where every private citizen has a voice. Notably too, even the US President relies upon social media to get his point across, rather than communicating via traditional media. But beyond the infinite scroll of Twitter feeds, increasing vocal noise around social ills has created entire rallying movements (Think of #metoo, and #feesmustfall) In South Africa, many movements have emerged in response to a growing lack of confidence in governance. OUTA, Section 27, Save SA, Amabhungane, and the ability to distribute information, while taking up the cause, is easier and quicker than ever before. And, while social media has created a platform for change, it’s also an extremely useful business tool, thanks to the analytics-backed data that you can explore and utilize for your business.
Most importantly, building a business in 2018 needs to be one that is presented in a socially palatable and sensitive manner.
Ideally, the message of how your business serves the greater good in society needs to have a means to manifestly deliver the good you sell to greater society.
Politics & Business
2017: the year of revelations around corruption, at every level and within every imaginable sector. Global politics remain quite dominated by the effects of the Trump administration, the effects of Brexit and more. Within South Africa, our tumultuous political landscape has revealed layer upon layer of corruption and abuse. Political shifts lead to transformations in legislation and regulation – the US has just, for example, begun the process of repealing Net Neutrality laws, which directly affect the business operations of millions of businesses, and the lives of people across the globe. But business and politics are often very similar, as corruption – including the revelations coming out of Steinhoff, KPMG, SAP, Ford, McKinsey and more, is shaping the business environment.
Our distrust of business and governmental institutions continues to grow on a global scale, and the desire to break and change systems remains strong. Some might call that a crisis, but as every entrepreneur knows: never waste a good crisis, because entrepreneurial opportunities are often found in chaos. The opportunities will be found in using smart technologies that begin to disintermediate the established, traditional trusted central authorities such as government, SEO’s, banks and more, opting for smart contracts in the blockchain instead.
Resistance by authorities that have failed society to date will be met with a backlash through organized social movements who will have, based on the events of 2017, the moral high ground on their side. Start looking for them.
Get ready for another big year, after a break. Aurik can help you discover entrepreneurial opportunities, and help you plan to thrive during 2018. Let’s chat, soon.