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Business Trends So Far This Year

Each year, certain patterns emerge indicating how businesses strive for success. As 2017 is about to enter its second quarter, some of those patterns are in their infancy while others have become mainstream and are being embraced even by companies not quick to change. In that spirit, let’s look at a series of trends likely to shape the way we do business this year and beyond.

1. Business Embraces Millennials

If you’re not a Millennial, then you may think Generation Y is materialistic, selfish, and even lazy. After all, that’s what the Millennial stereotype says they are. However, that typecast is largely steeped in a misunderstanding. This is a generation that wants to change workflow in creative ways. That was met with some — perhaps a lot of — resistance from earlier generations, but now the Millennials are the largest and most influential aspect of the workforce. Change will happen.

2. Validation of New Products and Services via Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a process through which venture capital is raised. It’s a form of alternative financing, and the financing comes directly from consumers who want that particular product or service to be realized. Even with early success, crowdfunding seemed like an avenue only for entrepreneurs and small startups, but we can look to the video game industry to see how things are changing in business overall. Crowdfunding allowed for titles in genres deemed non-lucrative to be massive successes. So much so that actual industry giants are getting in on the practice to dip their toes in waters that have largely fallen outside the AAA domain.

3. Moving Away from Email

You may remember when email was new and changing the way we did business. Not only is that not the case any longer, email may actually be an impedance. Statistics from the largest corporations in North America show that internal email usage is down significantly and continuing to fall. This is because businesses are finding different and better ways to communicate among teams. These systems allow for channels and support direct messages, calls and whatever else the best mode is for the particular task at hand.

4. Customer Engagement in Digital Spaces

Businesses continue to find new ways to engage with their customers online. Those that lag behind in this area are failing or on the precipice. Even a company like Walmart, which once seemed an untouchable giant, is now beginning to look like a dinosaur. One aspect that has slowed embracing new forms of customer engagement has been how the older consumer base responded to it. However, remember what we said about Millennials earlier? This will be a pivotal year in terms of engaging consumers in the spaces where they’ll welcome that engagement.

5. Customer Data Collection and Informed Targeting

Businesses have always collected data about their customers and marketed to them based on that information. However, this has been changing in significant ways and will continue to do so this year. Consider that a sharp rise is expected in purchases of appliances and other products that are part of the Internet of Things. This isn’t just a matter of trying to track cookies on the Web. This is a matter of customers voluntarily telling companies how they live so that those companies can better meet their needs.

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BUSINESS CAPITAL: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

With business capital, a business owner can operate a business such as with funds for paying the bills and with computers for storing the files. The term “business capital” is used to refer to the cash and the assets of a business. The cash could be the petty cash that is stored in the office and also the money in bank accounts. The purpose of the cash for a business is to have a financial resource to use to pay the bills and to purchase more assets. The assets are used to generate revenue such as from the sale of manufactured goods.

Assets

 

The assets of a business include the furniture, buildings, vehicles, machines, raw materials and intangible assets. A patent can be sold, which is an exchange that can be used to accumulate more cash. Some assets can depreciate in market value because the asset cannot be sold for the original amount that had been paid to purchase the asset such as furniture or a vehicle. An asset could be sold for more or less than the market value of that asset.

 

Collateral

 

Collateral can be used for financing the operations of a business. The value of a building or equipment can be used as an amount that could be collected by a lender if a company manager was unable to make the payments for a loan. The assets could be sold, which would provide a financial resource for paying a lender. Without the assets, the manager would probably not be able to continue with all the business operations and may be forced to file for bankruptcy.

 

Intangible Assets

 

The intangible assets have a value and can be sold such as a patent on an innovative process. The information about an intangible asset is documented on paper and in files. The difference between an asset, such as a machine, and an intangible asset, such as a brand name, is a crucial factor for assessing the value of an asset. A popular brand name can be used to attract new customers, which would help a local manager to benefit from the national marketing campaigns from a large corporation.

 

Financial Value

 

The value of an asset can depreciate because that asset cannot be sold for the original price of that asset such as a vehicle or an injection molding machine. A vehicle and a machine have a service life, which is usually the total number of miles or total number of parts. A deduction for the depreciation expense is used to adjust the value of an asset. The value of a vehicle is calculated by deducting the total amount for depreciation from the original purchase price.

 

Investment Capital

 

The investment capital of a business is the amount of funds that have been used to purchase investments such as shares of stock from other companies. The shares of stock can be used to earn dividends and are an important aspect of business capital because business managers are concerned with earning a profit. The funds for a business should be used to earn revenue such as from rent, dividends and from sales. There should be enough funds to pay the bills but any excess funds should be invested to earn revenue. Business capital is used to generate revenue and profits for a business.