Sunday, December 26, 2010

Report Card on 2010 Entrepreneur Trend Predictions

Here is a look at the predictions I made for 2010 at the end of 2009 so you can see how I did. Of the ten identified trends, I gave myself 4 As, 4 Bs, 1Cs, and a D, for an overall GPA of 3.1.

1.     The recession will not end, regardless what anyone says: GRADE=A

Although economists say the recession is over, every entrepreneur is still feeling its effects and carries some concern for an unstable economic future.

2.     Bootstrapping will be king!: GRADE=A

Many Bootstrapping-focused specialists and consultants have emerged in 2010, a bit of an oxy-moron but relevant nonetheless. Bootstrappers do just fine when capital is tight because they still know how to get customers and grow organically, which makes them the most likely targets for investment capital. 2010 proved this to be true.

3.     Solving lots of customers' needs will raise capital: GRADE=B

This was not entirely true, since companies like Twitter, who still struggle to find a sustainable revenue model, raised $200 million in funding. Other than a few of these blockbuster and very risky deals in 2010, almost all of the professional/sophisticated investments went to firms with lots of customers and the ability to solve those customers' needs in a value-added way.

4.     Business Lending requirements will increase: GRADE=C

Looking back, most of the added complexity and loan covenant tightening was in place by the end of 2009. I could only give myself a C since I was a little off on this trend, although getting loans was still very difficult for most entrepreneurs who even bothered to try.

5.     The cloud will continue to gain a share of all things computer: GRADE=B

Things continued to move that way, but not at the pace I expected. The most common, everyday manifestation of this ongoing trend was watching several entrepreneurs struggle to give up email client Microsoft Outlook only to tell me how much better Google Apps was just a few weeks later. The cloud is making it even more possible for entrepreneurs to go toe-to-toe with their much larger competitors, and win.

6.     Social media overload will drive users to the best content sources and filters: GRADE=B

This is happening, but we're still waiting for the next content sources and filters to emerge.

7.     Health insurance will continue towards high deductibles and consumer-driven care: GRADE=F

Health Care Reform had everyone concerned about making any significant changes in 2010. I missed on this one, with little change in the mix of high deductible versus more traditional health insurance plan designs.

8.     Being big will become less advantageous to being small: GRADE=A

I had the privilege of watching many small, no-name companies take on one or more of the big boys and do very well for themselves. The playing field is becoming more level, and entrepreneurs are capitalizing on these opportunities.

9.     Focus on relationships will pay: GRADE=B

This has and will always be a true business principle. Building relationships, whether online, face-to-face, through re-seller channels, or some other means, fostering and building relationships will always bring commensurate rewards.

10.    Knowledge workers will take more contract and less full-time work: GRADE=A

With Tim Ferriss' 4-hour Work Week still topping the charts, more and more knowledge workers are becoming independent. And most entrepreneurs appreciate the flexibility and focus that contractors bring to their organizations.

If you are interested in my predictions for 2011, please visit Top Eleven 2011 Trends for Entrepreneurs.