As business owners, it is incumbent upon us to keep an eye on today and anticipate tomorrow. We must manage the here-and-now as well as manage the future. Here’s a look at emerging trends to keep an eye on for business growth.

Gen Z Matters More than Millennials

Today, the oldest Gen Zers (born 1998 and after) are 22 years old. They are just beginning to enter the labor force, and according to a recent Goldman Sachs study, will be larger and more influential than Millennials.

This generation has a less idealistic, more pragmatic perspective on the world. Born device in-hand, Gen Z is America’s first generation of true “digital natives” and they will be America’s most diverse to-date (first to be majority non-white).

University Grads May Not Be Your Next Hire

The average return on going to college is falling. Despite record numbers of undergraduates, businesses report high levels of skilled vacancies. There remains a mismatch between the demand for skilled workers and talent pool supply.

All businesses – corporations and growing enterprises – now look to develop their own talent identification systems. New hiring models are emerging to meet some of these challenges.

Many of these do not include 4-year college graduates. Instead, innovative companies recruit from:

  • trade schools
  • 2-year community colleges, or
  • develop leadership from within existing employee teams.

AI-Powered Chatbots and Voice Assistants

Artificial intelligence (AI), voice assistants and chatbots enable businesses to offer personalized shopping experiences.

As reported in, companies that expect to implement at least one AI-powered chatbot within the next 12 months include:

  • 40 percent of large businesses
  • 25 percent of mid-sized companies and
  • 27 percent of small businesses.

With its ability to engage reluctant customers, a Kansas City small business owner says their website live chatbot, Kate, has engaged hundreds of customers who might not otherwise reach out for their hoarder clean-up service.

What about you? Do you have services for reluctant buyers? Consider how Chatbots and Voice Assistants might grow your business.

Location Is Irrelevant

Online meetings are so yesterday. Today we have virtual and augmented reality technologies that extend the limitations of location.

These technologies remove the distance between people, information, and experiences.

Immersive experiences are pushing companies to not only think differently about what is possible but also to create new solutions that bypass distance-based challenges.

Leadership Mindset Shift

Through artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and smart systems, businesses now weave into the fabric of how people live.

Amazon couriers already have access to customers’ homes via its smart lock system. This shows that the value of high-level personal convenience cannot be under-estimated.

As business owners consider how to best serve customers with technology, they must hold themselves and train their leaders to a high standard of trust and responsibility.