I’m going to share with you 12 biggest trends for entrepreneurs for 2020.
The 12 biggest trends of 2020 for entrepreneurs:
1. Data portability
I was speaking to a billionaire who was talking about data portability as one of his big future trend beliefs, because Cambridge Analytica Scandal, you know, you’re giving your data to all these social media platforms, I think there is a lack of trust that your data is secure and safe. GDPR coming in, and they’ve been tied to regulations around the security of your data. The new social media platforms and online platforms that allow you to own your data, and port your data from platform to platform, I believe, it could be something that could be huge.
Because at the moment, your exchange for getting free content and usability on social media platform. Platform is, of course, (1), being fed ads. But (2), you’re giving your data, which they analyse. Some of them have shared and leaked, et cetera. But I think data portability, and platforms, and social media offering you services, but you still own and retain your, and your follower and fan data. I think that could be huge.
2. Climate and planetary and humanitarian business opportunities
I was talking to 2 billionaires this year, who said that the world’s greatest problems of climate and planetary and humanitarian are also the entrepreneur’s greatest opportunities.
Plastics. I was talking to someone yesterday whose business model, is, he has puba hats for pets. But they decompose really quickly. If you think about obviously how the plastics are killing the oceans. A lot of people see humanitarian and planetary, and then entrepreneurship and business as separate. But a lot of these billionaires I’m talking to, are saying that actually they’re the entrepreneur’s greatest opportunities.
If you can change the world, save the planet, make a difference, ethically and in a humanitarian way, and create a business opportunity around it, you could go huge. I think there are real business opportunities around that. I haven’t got one myself yet. But I am looking.
3. Premium content
You may have seen me push, and promote, and be given the Supporters Programme by Facebook, which is premium content. You know, Netflix has changed the game with premium content. Obviously, now, the stars feature that you can all us, well, most of you can use. Some of you know about it. Many of you still don’t, because it’s new.
Essentially, you’re getting paid for better quality content. Premium early, or new, or different, or unique, or better, or for a closed community, or inclusive, these are all premium based content models, which I’m really seeing a trajectory and a trend towards that. Patreon has got huge. There are bits that you get given on Twitch. Reddit you’re given essentially currency based on the users desire to support you. But also, linked to their belief around the quality of your content.
What a lot of people have been doing on my livestreams is giving me stars based on the quality of my content. Some people called it, the gratitude cycles. People have thought a point or a video is really good, they’ll give me 200 stars, which gives me $2.00 or however many stars. I think the most stars I’ve got given was 6,400. And the least I’ve been given is 10. So, some people have given me a cent, and some people have given me $64.00, and that’s the range that has been so far based on.
It’s like real-time feedback. If you can give me real-time feedback in some kind of monetary from, that was good content. And if I don’t get any stars or currency for the different platform, then that might tell me, hmm, that’s maybe not the ideal content that my followers want. I’m getting real-time feedback. You’re teaching me in real-time. It’s almost like, AI learning in real-time. But from you to me, to me to you, to you to me. This virtuous cycle of feedback.
I reckon a lot of the platforms are going to follow. You can imagine Instagram doing it. LinkedIn doing it. I mean, LinkedIn gave live functionality in 2018/19 as a reaction to their version of what Facebook do. You can do on YouTube. I think can you get donations on YouTube? I’m pretty sure you can. This is not new, but it has becoming way more widely used by a lot of the big social media platforms.
I think they’re going to compete with each other. I think they’re going to create their own currencies. Like Facebook stars is basically currency for Facebook. They’re maybe going to become like banks, like ecommerce exchange. Because if you think about it, Instagram and WhatsApp, which is own by Facebook to Facebook. Then YouTube, which is owned by Google. So, Google YouTube. Then Amazon. They all want you on their platform as long as possible, because they can generate, increase ad revenue.
Basically, the amount of users and time on their site helps their reach. Probably helps with their ongoing revenue, and the targets they have for their shareholders. More people to advertise to, to sell premium products and services, to new add-on products and services. So, it’s all about data and eyeballs. So, if they can game you, I mean, this Stars Programme is almost like gamification, if you think about it, because I will get a small amount of money. I’ll get paid for my content.
But I can give supporter shout-outs. I can do supporters’ leaderboards. Sorry, Facebook Star give the shout-outs. Facebook Star give the leaderboards. So, the people who give me the more stars, I can give you more benefits. And so, yeah, it’s quite an exciting time for premium content. I’ve got something about currency and mobile payments coming later. So, I think that’s going to grow a lot in 2020.
Despite all these predictions for machine learning, AI, internet of things, voice command, online, robotic, et cetera. I think there’s also an anti-movement of that, whereby people crave more than anything human connection. It can be online in communities.
My Supporters Programme is very much an online premium content model through Facebook. We have 2,300 people. It’s like we’ve created an even deeper more connected community of real people. What we often do, is, have meet-ups. We get to know each other. We connect on a deeper level. You know, people who give me stars, and they’ve been supporter from the start, and they show their loyalty, I’m able to do more for I get to know. You get to know me. We build this social connection.
I think that’s going to be as well as an increase in AR, robotics and machine learning, and all these other things, I think it’s also going to be an increase in the need for human connection. Because humans are still humans. I’m certainly seeing that. Many of the people who give me the stars, for example, they are my most loyal fans. They figured it out early, because they follow me and I shared it early. They want to give back, because they’ve given 5 years’ worth of content from me every day for free with virtually no selling when you think about it. Maybe, one in very 50 posts to selling. So, you build this connection and this goodwill so that people want to support you.
I’ve never really use supporter, and stars, and Patreon like most people do. Most people use them to say, hey, I’m a videographer. I’m an artist. I’m a podcaster. I really need to raise some money to get better equipment, to be able to grow my business through my art. Please could you support me. Please could you donate to me. That’s what these fan funding platforms. I mean, if you think about it, it’s called Supporter. So, that’s what they’re initially designed for.
But I don’t have the need to do that, because I can self-fund. So, I try to create value and make it more entrepreneurial, and create a marketplace and a fair exchange, whereby I give you benefits, and features, and bonuses, and shout-outs, and meet-ups, and discounts. I give you content that is exclusive and first, in order to create what I perceive to be fair exchange to get 200 stars or 3.49 month or whatever.
And what that is doing, is creating a deeper level of connection, because we know each other better. And I’m finding the more loyal followers I’ve had over the years, the more they’re embracing the Supporters Programme and the stars feature. And they see the benefit to do that. I mean, there are some people that give me stars every single video. But had I not created the human connection, and have dinners with them, and supporters meet-ups, and give them the big discounts to the events I go and speak at, and have lunch with them before. We all meet and hang out afterwards. Had I not done that, then we wouldn’t have the online connection.
I believe online and face-to-face connection a kind of they dovetail, and they work hand in hand. They’re symbiotic. They’re not exclusive or separate, which I think a lot of people are predicting. And I would anti-predict that.
5. Positive economy
A bit more positivity in the economy, which I think is great. Usually in the last few years when you’ve predicted the property market or the economy has been a bit of bearish view. But because Brexit is hopefully, finally freaking over, and because we’ve actually got someone who go in and make decisions now, I’m not political, but I think, we all agree that that’s kind of happened, we saw an initial big spike in the stock market, in the strength of the pound. I think we’re going to have some good positivity. Finally, we can do business. Finally, we can start trading abroad. We can figure out how we are going to be having trade relation with Europe, now that we’re coming out. This is going to happen overly more quickly. Because it’s often not about what happens. It’s about how we feel about what’s happening.
George Soros has a word for it, reflexivity, which is, it’s not the actuality and the reality of what’s happening. It’s how we feel about what’s happening, i.e., our emotions, fear, greed, confidence. And that creates the market. So, that’s everyone’s finally thinking we can crack on. They’re a bit more confident. They’re a bit more positive. Therefore, the stock market goes up. Therefore, the pound goes up.
Of course, it’s not going to go up, and up, and up, and up, and up, and up, and up, and up, and up forever. And sentiment is going to change. But hopefully, the economy, the property market, business in general, trade between us all, hopefully, we’re going to have a good few months, maybe a year or more of positivity. And I’ve certainly seen that. I’ve seen a lot of big business owners who are like, if Labour are in, I’m immigrating. I’m literally leaving the country. I heard a lot of multimillionaires and billionaires were like, they’ve had enough.
They’re like, right, we can crack on. So, it’s going to be nice to see that. I don’t know how long that’s going to last. And I never make predictions on what’s going to happen in the property market. All right, at least I don’t have to say when it’s going to happen. But hopefully, we can ride on this crest of this wave for a little while. Hopefully, for the whole year, we’ll see.
Towards the end of the year, that might burn off, because property prices are quite high. A lot of asset prices are quite high. Like, car prices have been really high. Watch prices have been really high. I feel like they need to drop. And that’s going to happen at some point. It might be beyond 2020. Who knows?
6. Cryptocurrency and mobile payment evolution
Currency and mobile payments, and the evolution, and the progression of this. I made some predictions in money that things like AI and machine learning and internet things, and cryptocurrency, you know, that would start to become huge. It’s probably could happen a little slower than I would have thought. But it often does. It often takes longer, even though it’s happening already. We need to get used to it. It needs to be moved beyond the adopter stage.
I just think we’re going to have a continuation of that. Essentially, the Facebook stars feature is Facebook’s currency. So, you could call it their cryptocurrency. You buy stars on Facebook. You give stars to me. Facebook have a little margin. Then there’s a currency exchange.
I’m one of the only 20 people in the world that has this ability to receive stars. There’s only 20 of us in the world that you can give stars to. But in the future, you can see, you’re going to be buying houses on Facebook. You know, you’re going to be making bids, and doing auction on Facebook. You’re going to be selling your possessions on Facebook like you do on eBay. If you think about it, PayPal was a version of their own way of exchanging currency. It was a mobile payment provider, which got more simple. You could just pay with an email address.
I know someone, Steve Smith who founded Poundland. He’s investing into mobile payment providers. And if you think about it now, you can take your card, and you can tap it, and you can pay. You can take your phone, and you can tap it, and you can pay. I think this is going to continue. There’s going to be less friction with payments. If you think about it, the lower the friction, the higher the speed of transaction that you can have online, the more the providers and the gateways are going to earn, the easier and the quicker it is for you to do business.
Facebook wanting you sell all your stuff on Facebook, and not on eBay. They want you paying through stars, not through pounds, or not through bits, or to through other currencies, other cryptos. And I just think that this is going to continue to build momentum. And for you in business, the easier you make it for your customers to pay you, the more you’ll make, the quicker you’ll make it.
Do you remember the days when you had a website? Maybe, you had a sales page. It would take 5 or 10, or 15 seconds to load. Well, 15 years ago, we might put up with dial-up. We weren’t anymore. So, people will leave. They will immediately leave you, if it is hard to pay you.
That can be of course, just from your benefits and the features of your product not being very good or very clear, or you’re just not being seen. You’ve got to be out there. You’ve got to be seen. But you need to be able to take money really quick.
I’ve noticed on Facebook Ads, if we don’t phone a lead from a Facebook Ads within 10 minutes, the likelihood of demands in the phone drops 80 percent. People are more impatient. They expect things quicker. They don’t want to queue. They don’t want to wait. They don’t want to wait online. They don’t want their Page to load. If they don’t have WIFI for 10 seconds, they turn into a vampire. And this is the modern world we’re in.
I think you really got to be on this. And yeah, someone has just asked Facebook currency. It is the stars feature. It’s the early movement of Facebook currency. And so, new currencies, and increased speed of payment, and mobile solutions, and the way to pay. In the future, you’re going to be paying via your hand or some kind of subcutaneous chip. That’s very likely to happen.
And of course, Matt has just said, scammers will love these payments. Yeah, absolutely. So, scammers, and difficulty, and security, that is also increased. That is the nature of it. It is the wild west. You can’t have the upside without the downside. For example, it got easier to Rob Moore, when steel created rail, because then they could rob the train. Then they could go quicker from place to place to rob the towns and the villages. So, yeah, your security has got to be stronger and more vigilant. That is also a good point.
7. Cutting out the middleman
7th of the 12 trends is cutting out the middleman. Business over the years has had a lot of middleman, and a lot of people taking a slice. If you think about it, selling your property online and cutting out the estate agent, that’s been a big thing. Wealth Managers and cutting them out, and managing your own wealth, and getting better education, that’s been a big thing. I think that’s going to continue.
We are so much more savvy now how business is done, how people act, how companies perform, what they do with their money, their responsibility, their ethics. I just think, if you can go straight to the consumer, and cut out the middleman, and therefore, give parts of the saving onto the consumer, you’re going to grow. You’re going to make more profit, and they’re going to get a better service.
Do you remember when there used to be late fees for DVDs that you return? And I know it’s not quite the middleman, but it’s just unnecessary. A bloated fee that people don’t like paying. So, you cut out all the middleman. You cut out all the fees. You can give a better price, a better service, and you can make more margin. I think that’s going to continue to grow.
By the way, some of these are the things that I am predicting myself. There are suggestions. Don’t bank your whole house on it. But also, these are discussions I’ve had with millionaires, billionaires, people who are right at the top of their trends, and their business models. I’m sharing with you, the experience of a lot of people, not just myself.
8. Profit over growth
I think now people get pissed off with the big companies setting up in like Ireland, or companies where they can basically turn over billions and make billions in profit, and not pay any tax. I think there are a lot more companies are getting savvy to reducing their carbon footprint. I saw Audi’s advert for their e-tron electric cars. And they’re committing to reduce their carbon footprint by 30 percent.
We’re certainly embracing more the humanitarian and sustainability side of business. We’ve got rid of drinking from plastic bottles. My wife has an electric Range Rover. I have an electric Porsche Panamera Turbo S. We’re trying to eat less meat. We’re not going vegan yet, by the way. I’m just saying. But we’re trying to eat less meat.
I must admit in the early years, I was like, okay, this is a nice to have, but it’s not a necessity for business. But I think it’s a massive movement. I think your business is going to get better exposure. It’s going to be good for your marketing. You’re going to get better clients. You’re going to get a different type of client. If you think in a more profit over growth, and ethics, and sustainability, and humanity overscale. If you think about it, there used to, I mean, there are still a lot of big corporations.
But in the 80s and 90s, it’s always used to be about the corporation. I think we’re almost like at the edge in the rise of the entrepreneur. The entrepreneurs can be more agile. We can react quicker to the customer’s needs. I think ethics are really important in business now. And I think it is a selling point. It’s not like you should need it for a selling point. But how you look after your customers. How you look after their data. How you look after your employees. And we’re going to come to that in a moment.
We grew 30 percent last year. That was my target. But we didn’t necessarily make more profit. And so, this year, I’m certainly going to have a profit over growth mentality, and sort of growth at all cost. The entrepreneurs are always like scale, scale, scale, scale. Well, you know what? I’m not sure that’s the main driver in today’s 2020 world of business.
9. Social media
Social media, Facebook, Instagram for sure, stories are going to get much more prevalence. They’re going to be pushed more. They are going to dominate your feed more.
A couple of years ago, you’d have noticed when you scrolled, that in your feed, there was a lot more posts in groups. Say, 2018/19, Facebook made a commitment to put more group post in your feed, because groups were more personal than pages. And if you think 10 years ago, it was only really your friends that were in your feed, that dominated your feed. Then 5 years ago, it was pages that dominated your feed. And then maybe, 3 years ago, it’s ads that dominated your feed. It’s likely to be stories that’s going to dominate your feed in Instagram, in Facebook, and maybe others will follow suit. Because stories are more personal. It’s another way for Facebook and Instagram and other platforms to evolve, to look and feel of their platform to keep you engaged.
Ultimately, another way to start running ads, they’re not going to tell you that. But let’s be honest, they’ve got shareholder value and growth targets to meet. So, stories are not really as easy for me as livestreams and normal post. But I tried to post more stories. I tried to embrace that feature more. They’re going to run ads on stories, I believe next year. I’ve heard this from very high up in Facebook, by the way, basically from someone who knows the Vice-President of Marketing in Facebook. So, this is very much likely happening. Start posting on your stories more. Start figuring out stories more. I think it will really benefit you.
10. The evolution of voice
10 is voice recognition. Obviously, there’s Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. And more and more people are using voice. I think there are 2 things. One is the voice technology is going to be better and become more ubiquitous. You’re going to walk into house, and you’re going to say, turn the TV on. Turn the lights on. I remember seeing that. I think, was it in Terminator 2, or was it in Robocop? It might be Robocop. I love Robocop, man. This is like what? Early 1980s, and of course, there was homes that had all the home automation. And you went in, and you voice operated your lighting, and your music, and your security, and your curtains, and your heating, and everything.
That’s going to happen in a more common way. You’re going to use Siri or Alexa or your voice of choice, you’re going to operate your heating, your lighting, your security. You’re going to be able to operate your electric blanket, your car. You’re going to warm up your cars in advance.
I know this is really sap, but one of my favourite things for 2019 was the electric blanket, which she can operate her temperature, and he can operate his temperature. But I was also like, ah, I have to go up there and turn it on in advance as to going to bed. Wouldn’t it be great, if there’s an app. But apparently there are electric blankets with apps that you can turn them on, or time them 20 minutes early. I can time my car to heat up at 5:15. So, I get in at 5:30. It’s all warmed up for me, oh man. What have we become. What Have We Become!!
But you can search in my podcast on Alexa and on Siri. You can operate your music when you’re on the run from Siri. Siri can give you instructions for pretty much everything as can Alexa. And that is going to continue. As a business owner, you want to make sure that you’re searchable on voice. You’re going to want your own voice identity. Your voice brand. You know, when you think of McDonald’s or you think of Intel, you can hear that little jingle. Well, that is there voice brand. You’re going to need your voice brand to get voice recognition. This is going to be huge for 2020 and beyond, I really believe.
11. The gig economy
The gig economy, short-term contracts, more remote working, more transient labour force, I believe that’s going to continue. At the same time though, I believe that a culture and a team, is, also going to become important. Employee happiness and engagement and culture is the knock-on importance of the gig economy.
If people are working more remotely, if they’re working more short-term contracts, if there’s more flexibility, if they want time and location freedom, and that is a movement, great. And that’s going to become, I think, more prevalent. If you want to grow a team and retain a staff, you’re got to now look after them, and their happiness, and their culture. Creating a workplace that they want to be in and their benefits, and what you do for them, and sort of your focus on caring for them has got to be humanised or humanitarian workplace has got to be equally as important as you’re doing that your customers and your clients, and your own online perception of your brand.
12. The digital agency
And then finally, in terms of the 12 biggest trends for 2020 for entrepreneurs, is, social media consultancy, the digital agency. The social media consultant, the digital agency, the videographer, the editor, these people are now really highly sort after. They’re the new trades. If you think about carpentry, joinery, construction builders, bricklayers, they were all the trades, weren’t they, 30, 40, whatever years ago. The new trades are the social media consultant, the YouTube marketer, the digital agency, the videographer, the editor, the audio editor, the podcaster, because this is the new media, and these are the new currency, these are the new jobs that are being created.
This could be big for you. This could be who you could be employing, or this could be your new business opportunity for 2020. My Progressive companies have evolved into digital agency. We have 120 podcast clients. We have 20 odd social media clients. We’d just in beta testing phase of that at the moment. We have book publishing services. We have audiobook publishing services. We have studios. We are a media agency now. We have videographers. We probably have 5 or 6 videographers, editors, designers that we didn’t have 10 years ago when we were in property training.
I had a small sort of part-time studio in one of my spare rooms upstairs. But I’m getting a proper studio built in my house. I had a proper studio built in the office. This world is changing. Business is changing. And if you’re on this early trend for this year, for 2020, you’re going to be big. This is exciting times for you. When change happens, many people lose out. But the winners win big. In the survival of the fittest, it is not those who are the strongest, but those most adaptable to change.
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