Five Business Trends To Watch In 2016 -- No Matter How Or Where You Work

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5 Business Trends to Watch in 2016 – No matter How or Where you Work. From big data to the gig economy, 2016 may be the year that familiar buzzwords start having real, mainstream impact. [Image: flickr User Jonah Engler] By Faisal Hoque founder of:

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Depending on the sort of entrepreneur, employee, freelancer, or company leader you might be, the year ahead holds varying degrees of promise and pi<alls. Some of the changes afoot are already affecLng some more than others.

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But op?mism is itself a strategic asset—as long as it's backed up by a strong grasp of the facts. With that in mind, here's a look at some of the business trends that seem most likely to impact professionals of all stripes in the year ahead.

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The Gig Economy creates more Opportunities Increasing numbers of skilled professionals are driving the growth of the gig economy. And while there are those who ulLmately expect that growth to level off, it doesn't appear ready to do that within the next few years.

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Fueled by cheaper cloud compu?ng, remote work tools, and the spread of enterprise-level technology pla<orms for independent workers, the gigging trend will con?nue to grow. That's good news for established companies, which can tap into the talent they need for the Lme they require it. Savvy businesses can become more efficient, reducing fixed costs and improving their boUom lines.

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Big Data gets Even Bigger Not all data analysis qualifies as "big data," of course, but soluLons are mulLplying, and 2016 may well be the year that more companies seriously ramp up their investments in the field instead of just talking about it.

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Big data spending is projected to grow by a CAGR of 23% each year un?l 2019. The ability to develop an integrated, analy?cal view of customer ac?vi?es and business opera?ons will separate the wheat from the chaff more decisively and rapidly than we've seen so far.

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Social selling goes Mainstream With LinkedIn, Facebook, TwiUer, and other social plaZorms making major moves to enable social selling with original content, businesses will have to ‘open their hearts’ to influence the masses.

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Some social selling sta?s?cs: •  79% of sales people that use social media outsell their peers. •  53% of buyers said they listen to peer recommenda?ons before they make a purchase. •  65% of buyers feel the vendor’s content had an impact on their final purchase decision.

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These trends will conLnue to grow. Thought leadership content—from blog posts to videos—that create a sense of authenLcity and excitement among consumers will only become more crucial. Businesses with the most compelling, original voices will rise above the noise.

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Lean Businesses will Win Despite the outlier successes of Airbnb, Dropbox, and Square, it's clear that the tech IPO market is slowing down. ValuaLons are falling, financing is gebng more compeLLve, and plenty of money-losing startups are cubng costs.

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But not all entrepreneurs have been greedily chasing investment dollars, and many have been building lean businesses, crea?ng meaningful products, and growing organically. We're likely to see a vindica?on of sorts for "lean startup" prac?ces. For the heads of those businesses, anyway, there's s?ll tremendous opportunity to build sustainable ventures.

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Generation Z Comes into Focus GeneraLon Z, the youngest demographic of new workers now entering the workforce. Gen-Z roughly encompasses today's teens and young adults born afer 1995, the oldest of whom are 21 years old—next year's entry-level employees.

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A recent Northeastern University study on Gen Z concludes: •  42% expect to work for themselves. •  72% would prefer to design their own college courses and majors altogether. •  79% want colleges to integrate work experience with coursework.

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Some of this trepidaLon is welljusLfied, in light of issues like the student debt crisis and college affordability. But many of Gen-Zers' traits seem likely to propel them toward innova?on and growth hacking in a wide range of current and emerging industries.

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The fact is that for independent workers, tomorrow's entry-level employees, entrepreneurs, growing startups, and establish corporaLons, sustainable growth and innovaLon are never one-Lme things. It takes a deep emo?onal, systemic, and cultural stake in the changing climate—which starts, of course, with an understanding of it.

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About SHADOKA Shadoka’s por<olio of offerings enables entrepreneurship, growth, and social impact. Our customers and partners aspire to create sustainable value. They are focused on repeatable and measurable impact. We enable their aspiraLons. We bring together the management frameworks, digital pla<orms, and thought leadership for: •  Evalua?on, execu?on, and monitoring of programs •  Scaling sales, revenue, and profitability •  Crea?on and management of digital communi?es and marketplaces Follow us @shadokaventures

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About Me Founder of Shadoka and other companies. Shadoka enables entrepreneurship, growth, and social impact. Formerly of GE and other global brands. Author of several books, including Everything Connects – How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Crea:vity, Innova:on and Sustainability (McGraw Hill, 2014) and Survive to Thrive – 27 Prac:ces of Resilient Entrepreneurs, Innovators, And Leaders (Mo?va?onal Press, 2015). Follow me @faisal_hoque

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