As we continue into 2022, some trends are emerging for entrepreneurs to monitor to stay relevant and top of mind; things that I believe could easily separate the thriving entrepreneurs from those who don’t succeed in 2022.
What we have seen in the last two years during the pandemic has sparked more entrepreneurs than any other time in American history. People are reprioritizing their life, and they have learned they can build a business from scratch and do it out of the convenience of their own homes. They can be successful if they follow a proven path to get there.
Here are noteworthy items to keep in mind for entrepreneurs as they continue along their enterprising path:
Personal branding: Without a high-visibility personal brand, you are the proverbial tree falling in the woods with no one around to hear it. The world is too crowded — no one gets “discovered” any more.
Soft skills are the new hard skills: Information is already cheap, now the application of information is less costly too (machine learning/AI/etc.). In the future, humans will be most valuable for softer abilities like inspiring action, facilitating collaboration and creating environments that people like working in.
Return to old school character: The 20th century was mostly about a shift toward personality-based values. The 21st century will see us return to timeless character principles. Stephen Covey wanted to see this in his lifetime and wrote “The 7 Habits” about it. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to see it.
Excellent versus unnecessary: Similar to the first tip, the world is crowded and competitive while machines are reducing the body counts required to run most businesses. If you’re not excellent, you will eventually be unnecessary.
Intuition: As machines do more of our work — a trend which is accelerating after all the automation investments companies made during the pandemic — humans will be valued for their ability to draw conclusions that machines can’t. Intuition and creativity will be the last frontiers of intelligence to be made obsolete.
Creativity: This is very similar to intuition; however, creativity wins, and those who are most creative are likely to be the most successful.
Physical wellness as a business asset: The pandemic turned how we take care of ourselves into a balance sheet item. Callous as it may sound, do you want to build a long-term business relationship with someone who isn’t healthy in a world where a virus can wreak total havoc on a person’s life, or affect it hardly at all depending on the person’s underlying health? Not many will say this, but if you’re in poor health, there will be a negative bias, and companies will figure out ways to factor in how healthy their people are in decision-making.
Financial responsibility: There is a different perception now of what it means to be financially stable when an illness can put the majority of people into default, or worse, within 30 days. Our credit has been subject to scrutiny for a while; expect banks and employers to get a lot more intrusive.
Cash flow reigns supreme: We have major inflation ahead of us, but we also can’t raise interest rates without bankrupting the government because of interest payments on the national debt. The result is that risk can’t get priced into lending, so banks will eventually have to tighten up altogether (or the government prints so much money to keep them from doing so it starts to degrade overall economic value). In either case, the businesses that have a healthy profit margin and lean operations will be the ones to survive.
Personal discipline: Working from home or in a hybrid model will create a different dynamic for a lot of people — the autonomous and self-directed will thrive, while those who rely on social energy for motivation will suffer.
Adam Whiting is the leader behind ENTRE, the leading online educational platform for both aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.entreinstitute.com.