What Trends Will Impact Our Business In 2020? (Part 1 of 2)

by Paul Schlossberg
Posted On: 1/2/2020

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By Paul Schlossberg

It’s that time again. Here come the predictions and forecasts relating to our businesses. There will be many more relating to life in general. My choice for the singular worst headline for new year expectations was something like “How is your 2020 vision?” -- and that’s a bad pun too.

In virtually every line of business, “experts” present their “prophecies” for the new year. With consideration for common sense and good decorum, we’ll skip over the personal and political aspects of identifying what will make news in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal, on 12/15/2019, published an article about predicting future trends. The headline was: “The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be” Then the article really captured the challenge for those of us who attempt to tell others what to expect next year. The sub-headline was: “There’s one trend you can count on: Most predictions turn out to be wrong.”

On Dec. 10, 2018, we posted here -- These Nine Trends Will Impact Your Success In 2019. How Will You Exploit Them? You can be the judge as how good (or bad) those assumptions were. Did you notice an impact from one (or more) of these predicted trends? Was what happened a positive or a negative for your business?

Looking into the future is a serious challenge for business managers. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a big company or a small start-up. You must make an assessment of the future. Will you be able to identify the trends and changes that will have the greatest influence on your success and profitability?

When thinking about what changes to expect, include near-term and longer-term implications. Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft, said “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” Keep that quote in mind when you are making decisions about investments and innovations to move your business ahead in 2020. 

How should you plan for your company’s future? What is the best approach to balance the short-term and long-term implications for critical decisions? In a very simple sentence -- “It’s difficult.” As a manager, or owner, it’s your responsibility to make those big decisions. Not taking action, doing nothing, is usually the worst decision you can make.

We’ve written frequently about this subject in the past. Planning and decision-making have been a part of presentations and conversations at industry education sessions and in important meetings with clients. It is not easy to explain in a few paragraphs here. So, we will leave it for some more detailed dialogue on another day.

My view for 2020 is much the same as it was when we posted  – These Nine Trends Will Impact Your Success In 2019. How Will You Exploit Them? The foodservice industry is much more of an evolutionary environment when it comes to innovation and change. Other industries, think high-tech, are often more revolutionary. New generations of hardware and software are introduced. Older products and versions can be obsolete in a very short time.

My primary advice for 2020 is identical to what we said in the 2019 trends posting. “The answers to these challenges are NOT in your office. Here is my advice for 2019. GET OUT OF YOUR OFFICE! Visit your locations to eat, snack or enjoy a beverage. Engage with some of your shoppers. Work with each of your "outside" team members. Do business reviews with key account management. We could go on -- but it's likely that you're well aware what to do in the months ahead.

Wishing you much success, good health and safe travels too. And let’s all sell more stuff in 2020.

And stay tuned for Part 2 next week!


Paul Schlossberg is president of D/FW Consulting, working with clients to merchandise and market products in impulse-intense selling environments, such as vending, onsite foodservice and convenience stores. Based in the Austin, TX, area, he can be reached by emailing to Paul@DFWConsulting.net, calling him at (972) 877-2972. The company is online at www.DFWConsulting.net