Make Friends with the Future

Make Friends with the FutureThings are shifting and changing. What worked in business last year is likely to fall flat this year because what we consider value is changing. People are demanding more than results, outcomes, and bottom line money from their mentors and guides. They want to do business with people they can connect with and who will help them come home to their own expertise, artistry and passions.

I’ve identified 5 business shaping trends that I believe signal a lasting shift in the land of expertise based businesses. These trends explain and explore where people are moving to and why—and what that means to you as a business leader. Understanding the shifts and movement in the market can really help you make smart, strategic decisions as you plan 2012. However, please note that what I see and share here may not be the same in every market so it’s important that you listen with your own level of discernment to see what resonates with you.

Trend #1: I’m an individual. Clients are craving recognition of their uniqueness.

People have grown weary of feeling like a number and being force-fit into cookie cutter solutions. The internet is great for getting information out to many. But what’s shifting is the realization that ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t work. You see this trend firmly at work when you go out to buy a cup of coffee or a new pair of jeans. Not to mention face creams, shampoos and more! People want to be seen as unique. Individual.

Clients are much less concerned with fitting in and following along and they want to follow leaders who aren’t afraid to stand out, be different and even be a little weird! This opens up a HUGE opportunity for you to showcase your originality and uniqueness. Find that side of you that’s always felt like a misfit and share it. There is NO BETTER TIME to embrace your mis-fitness and claim it. This can help create a safe place for others to express that side of themselves.

Trend #2: Retreat from Day to Day Overwhelm

Everyone is experiencing too much complexity, chaos, and clutter in our lives. We’re overwhelmed by choice and ‘connection’—there’s almost no escape. Boundaries have been erased by technology/mobility and we can be reached anytime, anywhere on multiple devices. What we thought would free us has engulfed us in many ways.

That’s left people wanting an escape; craving time away from constant “demands” for time and attention. This explains the popularity of small indulgences like manicures, massages, and gourmet coffee.
The opportunity for small business owners is to offer the opportunity to retreat from the chaos of day to day and do some simple, focused work. Forget all the bells and whistles and bring clients back to basics.

Trend #3: Mobile/On Demand/Anytime Access

In spite of the desire to retreat, there is also an increasing sense of impatience brewing under the surface. In a day and age of mobility and on the go/on demand access, clients don’t want to wait. They are not willing to take the long road when it appears a short cut is available. People are in GET IT DONE mode and they want to work with experts who can help them move fast, breakthrough barriers and make something happen fast. The value placed on speed and fast, focused support is increasing while the value placed on long term commitments and lengthy processes is slipping.

Trend #4: Intimacy & Connection

We are entering the age of caring and connection. People are tired of ‘cold’ content and ‘inaccessible’ mentors. In an increasingly disconnected world the value of connection is high. Clients want to be seen, heard and able to contribute. This creates a huge opportunity for INTIMACY based businesses to develop rich, long lasting relationships with clients. But it requires that you be accessible and connected. That doesn’t mean giving unlimited 24/7 access, by the way! It just means that you connect on a personal level with those you do business with and give them a caring experience as a client or customer.

Trend #5: Philosophical Partnership

People are demanding leaders with a moral compass. They want to partner with those they feel aligned with at a values level…not just focused on money or tangible results. I believe we are seeing the call for principled partnership everywhere. There is a move toward living and working from inner values—SOULFUL values not SOCIAL values. This applies to all ‘partnerships’—with clients, staff, collaborators, affiliates, JV’s, marketing partners and beyond.

Understanding the underlying shifts and trends can help you with your marketing, customer service, designing your offers, and more.

In last week’s complimentary Top 5 Business Shaping Trends teleclass I explored each of these trends in detail, including what’s selling and why. If you missed that call and would like to learn more about how to respond to a shifting marketplace, you can sign up for the recording at

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