No, this won’t be a blog about Science Fiction. At least not in its entirety.

Let’s be honest – chances are your business is going to encounter some unforeseen consequences at some point during the coming year. And whilst no one can fully plan for every contingency, there’s a lot you can do to prepare for the inevitable, and turn it to your advantage. We have put together a list of business trends that may impact your company in the next 12 months.


Cyber Security

After 2017’s WannaCry ransomware attack, we were warned that businesses and infrastructure were likely to be continued targets for attacks from all manner of agents.  The most positive element of that horrible situation was that the world was given an opportunity to see just how damaging these attacks can be, and more importantly, but more importantly, draw critical attention to this type of threat and why it’s imperative to put the necessary precautions in place to protect yourself and your business to promote the common cause of safety in the digital world. Cyber Security is quickly becoming the most researched topic, with independent consultants specialising in this area becoming the most sought-after commodity for any business. HR teams are recruiting cyber security experts and teams are gearing up for a much faster-moving, underbelly-exposing, digital environment where attacks like this become the norm, and fighting them the modus operandi.


Personalisation of Customer Experience

The changing consumer habits mean that they want their experience to be specific to them, whenever they need, wherever they are. Great for them, but a huge disruptor in the retail industry. Marketing teams are turning into sightseers as they develop the art of prediction and forecasting. A trend that will become even more prevalent to marketing budgets all over the world, is to deliver more personal, bespoke marketing solutions that enhance the customer experience even more. So, while you may (or may not) already be running marketing campaigns that are personalised, targeted and all-encompassing, Chief Marketing Officers will be looking at ways to take the traditional and turn it into an even more powerful machine.  And the Marketing department is not where this trend remains – this same principle is disrupting major organisational strategy to deliver a more efficient, relevant customer experience – whether you’re in the Customer Service, Operations, Finance, Development or Marketing teams. The thread, if not already, will weave throughout all your organisational functions.


The Changing Workplace

You may have already read some of our earlier blogs where we talk about Change, and how leaders of High Growth businesses are getting ready for a new agile way of working. Well, it’s therefore no surprise that this trend continues into 2018. Continued change in the workplace is expected in the next year, with companies becoming more and more interested in how to increase overall productivity and make the most of their office space. Combined with an increased passion for employee positivity and how that is tied to productivity, companies will make the most of new technology and tools to make sure they are working at their highest capacity, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.  The working landscape will continue to change through the level of flexibility in workers hours as more and more people will start to work from home or remotely.


Customer Demands for Speedy Service

Whilst not necessarily a direct issue for all companies, the B2C industry has spent a large part of 2017 focussing on increasing their speed in getting goods and services to markets. Whether it’s delivery times through Amazon Prime Now to deliver groceries and other items in under 2 hours, or companies like Shutl offering solutions to retailers that allows their customers to buy at breakfast, and unwrap at lunchtime.  Whilst this may sound like a core element of every business model, the instant gratification culture is putting stress on companies who’s service cannot afford to be rushed and can’t deliver as quickly as some of their competitors, for whatever reasons. It may be an unwillingness to change, an inability to change because of traditional operational restrictions, or simply because they can’t visualise the solution for their business. The trend is here, and if you’re not already looking at ways to move quicker, more nimbly, more precisely, you risk being left out in the cold, while others are already enjoying their spoils.


Sharing Economy

The Sharing Economy involves the loaning or sharing of assets between companies – a not-entirely new phenomenon, but one that is becoming central to all strategy and organisational focus – whether they realise it or not. Consumer trends show us that they want to be part of the process, they prefer collaboration over ownership, they want access to all, whenever it suits them.  Collaborative consumption within the business community can be a positive factor in building connections – especially where smaller businesses may not have the wherewithal to leapfrog their way to new opportunity as other business may. Working collaboratively sets the smaller, independent business up for new revenue streams while at the same time offering the larger organisation an opportunity for new innovation, creative thought process, new market reach and more.  Whether it’s the Sharing Economy, the Networked Economy or The Collaborative Economy – it’s all around you, and it’s about to become even bigger in 2018.


Increase of AI

The growth of Artificial Intelligence is another hot topic on most people’s lips. And when it comes to businesses who are ready for growth, AI is no longer the big giant in the corner that is beyond understanding, but delivers cool stuff – it is becoming a core part of our daily lives – without us even noticing it. The types of adverts we see on our social media platforms, the way we interact with media, every time we call on Siri or Cortana to look something up on our mobile phones – all are examples artificial intelligence empowering our daily lives. The trend? In 2018, the use of AI in our daily business lives – helping us to perform general admin tasks, making our jobs easier – will become the norm.  Businesses are starting to move away from Science Fiction and are becoming more open to the practicality and ease of use through AI. New businesses will be started, big businesses will be adapting. It’s here.


Ready to do something new? Why not speak to CFPro Ventures today to harness the power of innovation and set yourself up for a successful 2018.