This year has been groundbreaking when it comes to new and emerging trends as politically, socially and culturally we continue to witness unexpected shifts across the globe. We’ve also seen a slew of business crises affect major brands like United Airlines, Pepsi and Uber. As entrepreneurs and founders, it’s crucial to understand how new trends can impact your market. Below are the top four trends we’ve been watching this year and the reasons you should be watching them, too:
- The Networking Experience: Organizations like Doyenne, a new women-only collective, to Breakout, Network Under 40, PTTOW and Summit Series all provide curated experiences to network with a select set of individuals. The list of customized experiences like this keeps growing. People want to feel like they are part of something carefully tailored to them. They also want to have fun. There is so much potential in this space that if you really want to grow your business, you don’t have to simply think of attending these events. You could consider starting your own.
- The Cannabis Space: The cannabis industry estimated to become a $22 billion dollar industry within the next three years. Leaders in the space are now introducing and elevating conversations to the ultra-luxury market and sophisticated investors. A colleague and friend of mine, Clinton Misamore, leads event production at Green Table, a Michelin-level dinner series that highlights the best innovations and companies within cannabis to investors and business executives. Clint recently told me, “The opportunity to be a part of this market is tremendous and could be compared to the end of alcohol prohibition. That said, investors still need to educate themselves on the regulations and separate the real opportunities from the not-so-great ones.” Companies like Misamore’s are elevating the conversation by bringing the very best of the sector together to share resources and ideas, and this is definitely a space to watch. If you decide you want to be part of this space (and I would suggest looking into it if you think you have something to offer), do your homework first. You must understand the market first before diving in. Don’t just go where everyone else is running: Step back first and see where you can really offer something unique. It might take more time but it’s worth it in the long run.
- Impact Investing: More of us are realizing the power we have to change the world with where we put our investments. Impact investing is a trend that’s here to stay. For years, I have been lucky enough to work with some of the leading experts in the space, like Ibrahim AlHusseini, Kara Weber and Lizzie Francis, all of whom are showing that even small investments in companies that solve global problems pay off. AlHusseini stresses that you don’t need a fortune to make a difference. Weber and Francis advise that by investing in diverse leadership teams and women specifically, you can profit and shift a paradigm. Personally, I have learned that it’s never too early to invest. People like Ibrahim, Kara and Lizzie are more than willing to share their knowledge because they truly want to see everyone invest in a new way. Instead of investing with a typical firm, consider searching for firms that impact invest. Don’t be afraid to email friends and colleagues to ask them for who they might recommend.
- Working Remotely: Hundreds of thousands of young entrepreneurs are opting to work remotely, which means they can work from just about wherever they want to be in the world. Because of this trend, tailored travel and different styles of travel are increasingly popular. I recently spoke with Edie Rodriguez, CEO and President of Crystal Cruises, an industry leader who I admire. He said that “The ability to work remotely fosters a different type of teamwork than companies have seen in the past and this is a good thing. In the cruise industry, we are also seeing many more guests who are working and staying connected while seeing the world. As CEO, I too am actively running the company from all across the globe and can say this trend is absolutely here to stay.” I couldn’t agree more: I built my career and my companies while being able to work remotely and I value travel immensely. Last year, I worked from over a dozen countries. While it might sound like a headache to deal with time zones and bad Wi-Fi, working remotely actually helped me scale my businesses more quickly. It forced me to think creatively, create better processes, build more responsive teams and learn valuable lessons about time management, all while being immersed in diverse and incredible cultures. Challenge yourself to a month away from your desk this year. Travel somewhere you have always wanted to go and stay connected while you explore. It might just change your life.
Trends like these act as key indicators of consumer behavior and societal shifts, so always be paying attention. The more closely we watch them, the more we will be able to leverage them to positively impact how we run our companies and turn great ideas into global brands.
Read more: Forbes