In our personal lives, the end of the year is usually a time of resolutions; in business, it’s often a time of predictions. Anticipating business trends helps firms stay ahead of the competition by leveraging insights that drive business growth.
Ian Altman, Forbes Magazine contributor, is a three-year veteran when it comes to predicting market trends. Among his top business predictions for 2016 are a few that may have special relevance for today’s business students.
Retirement of baby boomers — generally referring to people born between 1946 and 1964 — will create a leadership gap that will offer advancement opportunities for today’s largest employee segment, the millennials. Large employers will embrace the change by attracting and training millennials to fulfill these roles.
According to one study, workplace flexibility is among top-ranking factors millennials consider when choosing an employer. Whether it’s shifting hours, starting later, or occasionally working from home, millennials view work based on the output they produce rather than the place and the number of hours they work. To that end, Altman predicts, “Top performing companies will make a commitment to electronic tools to teach, monitor, and even mentor team members regardless of physical location.”
As the largest population segment, millennials are also the largest consumer base. Pairing their purchasing power with their innate tech-savviness, it’s no surprise that Altman predicts a growing demand for technology-enabled services that connect “buyer to seller or consumer to content.” Altman makes his case by pointing to successful examples of companies contributing to the current growth of “connection economy” such as Uber, AirBnB, or crowdfunding businesses such as Kickstarter and IndigGoGo.
Today, entrepreneurs, writers, consultants and sociologists are among many who are contributing to the business trend buzz. However, for decades, businesses have practiced making predictions through forecasting — a process that uses past and present data to make business predictions about the future. Students pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration at William Woods University will take a number of courses that will teach them the skills necessary for making informed business predictions. The courses include Marketing Analysis and Research, Managerial Statistics and Managerial Economics.