From doing business in Bangladesh to wooing clients while playing golf, take a look at the top trends you need to follow this year
The Next 11 countries
Source: Rex Features
Feel like your exporting potential has hit a BRIC wall? It’s not all about the most over-hyped emerging markets in the world, you know. There are some new contenders vying for your commerce. Meet Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam – otherwise known as the Next 11 countries. They were first grouped together in 2005 by Jim O’Neill, a Goldman Sachs economist, after he looked at the “developing” countries with the largest populations outside Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Does that sound a little random? Well, O’Neill says it is surprising how successfully these countries have performed as a group over the last few years, despite the huge diversity of the Next 11. “Some of these countries have hardly noticed that the global credit crisis happened,” he says, going on to highlight how consumption activities have driven economic growth in recent years. Which might explain “for many global multinationals, these countries, plus the BRICs, are where the activity is happening”.
Want to get in on that action? Try our feature on exporting to the Next 11.
Drinks at the local pub just doesn’t cut it in business anymore – and it certainly won’t in 2013. You might, of late, have been offered a trip to a spa in place of your usual lunch appointment, which seems to be particularly popular with those wooing clients and influencers of late (no doubt helping push Spabreaks.com to the number two spot on the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 this year). Or you might have joined in a group sporting activity with contacts – intra-company netball and football leagues and girls-only early-morning golf have all sprung up on our radar in the last few months.
Topping it all, though, and a sure sign of things to come for networking (we can only hope) was the news in December 2012 that the four US-based entrepreneurs behind tech gathering Summit Series have bought a $40m mountain, where their networking events will be permanently hosted from now on.
Gartner has forecasted that the number of mobile phones in the world will overtake PCs and laptops within the next year, with mobiles set to become the most popular device for accessing the internet. Your business needs to keep in step with this change. Do you have a mobile-only version of your website? If you enable customers to buy online from you, can they still do so – safely – from their phone? Should you be offering an app to engage with your customers in a more relevant way?
If not, our advice on how to get a cheap mobile website for business and our beginner’s guide to mobile marketing should help.
The second screen
The new dawn of smartphones affects more than just how you make your business accessible to customers. It also changes the way you market. We’re not just talking QR codes – which haven’t been quite the 2011/12 phenomenon predicted, though they are growing in popularity with more than one in 10 smartphone owners using them. We mean making your marketing work across more than one device simultaneously, harmoniously and cleverly.
Consumers at home typically have at least two devices on the go at once, out of TV, laptop and mobile – that’s why you’ve noticed so many TV adverts ending with something like “Search for ‘London business’ online,” to push them straight onto the device they have in their hands. The smartest brands of 2013 will be leveraging the second screen in their marketing efforts. In fact, they already are.
Check out this video on how Coca-Cola leveraged the second screen during this year’s SuperBowl, then read JWT’s in-depth report for more info on this nifty business trend.
Gamification is the concept of copying game-playing and video-game psychology to spur on productivity and achievement. In other words, trying to recreate that buzz gamers get when they win extra lives or points or complete a level, by introducing competitive point-scoring measures in non-game situations. StackOverflow is a great example of gamification in action – the advice site for developers awards points for questions answered, incentivising a kind of competitive helpfulness among users. But gamification has been used by on-the-ball websites for a few years now, in even as simple terms as thumbs up and thumbs down points on comments on articles. It’s the application of these ideas to the office that we’re predicting for 2013, as more and more managers read up on the buzzword.
As Time Magazine declared earlier this year: “gamification will rule the business world”. Want to see how gamification might look in your business? Check out these seven examples of gamification in business and learn more about gamification from this slideshow.
The death of email (again)
Yes, we know, we know. Everyone’s been calling the death knell for email for the last few years. But we’re not saying it’ll die out (at least not yet). What we do think will happen is a much-needed drop in how many emails are sent, as more and more workers move to project management collaboration tools like Podio, now used by more than 200,000 organisations, and document collaboration tools like Huddle, which announced 800% growth in enterprise sales in September 2012.
These tools side-step all the back and forth of group email discussion, pushing anyone involved in a project straight into action – meaning work gets completed quicker, with a smoother management process that is more trackable.
The death of the office (a bit)
Flexible working (i.e. letting staff work from home and for the hours they choose) came of age in 2012 as London companies from blue-chip to micro gave employees the option to work from home during the Olympics. And more than four in 10 of the companies that tried flexible working during the Games intended to retain the practices, according to a survey from the Institute of Leadership and Management in August 2012.
As employees move to mobile, their employers will be wise to keep step with the change to allow them to work the hours that suit them best, boosting engagement and loyalty as well as productivity. Sound good? You’ll want to read our in-depth eguide on flexible working for business, then.
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