2020 Business Trends

2020 Business Trends

This week’s episode is an extended look at a clip I shared with Racheal Cook to talk more about the business trends I’m looking at for 2020.

Thank you to Racheal for having me, and be sure to check out the full episode featuring SIX other leaders.


Hey CEOs, it’s Tara Newman from the Bold Leadership Revolution, and I am giving a big thank you to Racheal for asking me to come and participate in this episode. I’m also a podcaster over at the Bold Leadership Revolution podcast where we show you how to optimize your performance as a leader without all the buttoned up stuffiness of corporate leadership and the dribble of the personal development industry. We give you the practical side of business strategy, the necessary skills to build your mental strength and the woo-ish principles to effectively manage your most precious resource, your energy.

My belief is that business is business, period.

First and foremost, I have a belief that I want to share with you. My belief is that business is business, period. Whether you’re selling online or off, knowing the foundations of business and what really matters is where leaders make an impact. Over the last five years, I’ve noticed business owners have been completely bombarded with tips, tricks, tactics, hacks, smoke and mirrors, and promises all over the internet that distract them from the very basics in their businesses that make a difference for the bottom line. This has left leaders more confused and fatigued than ever before.

What tip or trap tactic will work and the decision process that goes along with choosing one three or five tactics has, in my opinion, done more to break down the entrepreneurial spirit then build it up. There is so much noise around webinar funnels, email lists, all your eggs in one basket launches and the impossible expectations hyped up by a carefully curated world where nobody wants to fail on the open stage.

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This backdrop has led me to come up with this specific set of trends that I think we will start to see in 2020. The first trend given the burnout culture, and the burned culture, in the online space, whether you have an online business or brick and mortar business, a lot of business owners flock to the internet for education, know-how and answers in their most confused and frustrated moments. And they have consumed things, they have bought things, they have worked with people that didn’t work out for one reason or another and they are feeling burned.

The focus on customer education and operational transparency is going to be key navigating this environment

For this reason if you’re going to be doing business, whether it’s online or offline, the focus on customer education and operational transparency is going to be key navigating this environment, this ecosystem moving forward. Educating your customer or your clients on how you work, on the values of your company, on your vision that you have for them and the operational transparency, taking people behind the scenes. Now, I don’t mean income reports because I see this happening in the online space where people are giving income reports in an effort to be vulnerable or transparent, and I don’t advise that at all. I think that’s actually a little risky and probably opens you up to some liabilities as a business owner more than anything else. But if you can take people behind the scenes, show them how you work, show them inside your heart as a business owner. That’s kind of what I mean by operational transparency. I think that will go a long way in establishing trust in getting people to really know how you can help them really be a likable human being.

So first trend, more focus on customer education and operational transparency. I mean, I will say too, that when I was first starting out and I would think about customer education, I would get super frustrated because I just wanted people to know what I did and how I worked. And I shouldn’t have to prove myself is kind of how I felt, but that was really coming from ego. I think it’s really a loving kindness to show your customers and your clients how you can serve them. And so if you’re feeling maybe the way I was feeling a few years ago, I really want to just shift that perspective for you and let you know that I think this is super important going forward, focusing on customer education and operational transparency.

My second trend is kind of an ongoing theme. It’s about the gig economy. I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I think it’s going to continue to grow and I believe that the recessive economy is going to have an impact on the gig economy in a positive way. There are going to be companies and corporations who are looking maybe to outsource some work and this is really your time that if you have a service that can be sold into a larger business that you start to think about selling to these larger companies, how you’re going to package up your services to sell them, what the pricing is going to look like. I think 2020 is your year to kind of think this through from a business development standpoint and get a handle on it going forward.

Leveraging technology and data can actually help you touch the right humans with the right offers.

My third trend is about bringing back the human. Bring back human beings. I think that we have gotten to a point where we have over-automated some things. That leveraging technology is helpful. Leveraging technology and data can actually help you touch the right humans with the right offers. So not technology in lieu of human and high touch environments but using technology and data to help you create that high touch, right touch environment and the right offers to help the human beings that you want to help. I think everybody is getting really tired of low touch, low effort offers in businesses.

Four, we are going to have a continued war on talent. If you ask business owners, small business owners what some of their biggest challenges are. The first one they’re going to tell you is finding the right talent, and this doesn’t matter what space you’re in. This is happening because we have probably one of the higher unemployment rates that we’ve seen. Great employees are already working for somebody else. As the economy becomes more recessive, employees aren’t going to be looking to leave their companies so quickly. They are going to be looking to stay a little more secure in their roles and in their jobs.

And so I think that this continued war on talent means two things. Hiring help is going to be an ever present challenge for small business owners with unemployment rates at an all time low. And while we once thought that virtual assistants would be help on this front, they have become less cost-effective from the online space than full time local help. So I think we’re going to see a big shift in business owners. Now, this one’s kind of specifically for the online space. I think we’re going to see a big shift in business owners in the online space looking to hire full time and local help. I’ve already seen this starting to happen over the course of the last year or two, but I think that we’re going to be seeing it more and more as these prices coming off of virtual assistants in some cases are quite inflated and they’re starting to spread their time among multiple clients. I think that small business owners are going to want a more committed workforce and maybe even a more full time workforce depending on what size business you’re in and looking to go local to source this kind of help.

Additionally, as the war on talent heats up and remote work gains in popularity, I think you’re going to see some business owners taking their skills back into the workplace to take the financial pressure off while converting their existing technology leveraged business into a side hustle. So let me say that again. The war on talent is heating up. Larger companies are looking for great employees and they’re starting to really realize that they’re going to need to compensate them well, they’re going to need to benefit them well, and they’re going to start needing to be more assess-able when it comes to remote work. And that is gaining in popularity. That is what the data and the research is showing. That as more people demand remote work, remote work is starting to gain in popularity.

That as more people demand remote work, remote work is starting to gain in popularity.

And because of those reasons, those are some of the reasons why we left corporate to go out on our own in the first place. We wanted more time freedom, we wanted remote work, we wanted better pay. Whatever your reasons are, I think we’re going to start seeing some of those opportunities coming to fruition and you’re going to see some business owners, especially if the economy becomes recessive and really maintaining a profitable business starts to become a little challenging. I think you’re going to see people who have a really great skill set, a depth in skill set, go back to working within somebody’s business and taking their existing technology leveraged business to a side hustle.

Now do I think this is going to be like a wild trend where it’s going to be like 50-70% of small business owners? Absolutely not. But I do see this as being a possibility for those business owners who need a break from the place where you are a commissioned salesperson where every year your revenue resets back to zero and you have to go out and hit your revenue numbers again and again and again. For some people that’s a grind, and I think that you’re going to see them with a lot of great opportunities. And this isn’t that they failed. This is that they’re just realigning their desires in their needs and going back to work for somebody else. And I think that’s actually great. I think that’s going to provide a lot of great opportunity, especially for those who have, like I said, technology leveraged businesses that they can run as a side hustle because that’s just going to make mean even more income for them.

Now here’s one trend I’d like to see happen. I would really like to see business owners slow down. And at the Bold Leadership Revolution, we have an acronym that we use for SLOW and it stands for: S is step back and reflect. Carve out the time and make reflection time non-negotiable on your calendar. L, lower expectations and pressure. Ask yourself what would take the pressure off? Be SO honest with yourself. O, own the now. Master what’s happening in your life right now. It’s the quickest way to move forward. To stay present moment to moment and handle what’s right in front of you. When you become a Jedi at the now, you can live from your vision. And the W stands for what next? Only once you’ve owned what’s happening now can you move on to what’s next. So I hope that acronym helps you slow down a little bit.

You need to know your marketplace, your audience, and what your people need because trends come and go.

As a CEO, you need to know what’s working and what’s not working in your business and to spend radical reflection time on a weekly basis that helps you really look at this stuff. You need to know your marketplace, your audience, and what your people need because trends come and go. Markets rise and fall. So what I really want to see is solid business skills and understanding that will help you navigate the highs and lows and be well prepared, whatever those trends may be.

Staying ahead of the curve by creating your own blue ocean a long way away from the herd. Fortune favors the bold and it takes a bold leader to go out and create that blue ocean. Whatever they are doing, sure, pay attention to it. Trends are great and be aware, but stay in your own lane this year. Know what works, know your own strategy and strengths. Do the market research, do the CEO Debriefs, do the work and whatever shifts come and go you will still be standing firm.

I often share lessons learned on this podcast. It’s one of my favorite things to be able to do, and I’m able to do this because of a strong commitment I have to radical self reflection. This commitment means that every week I’m looking at what’s happening in my business and in my life. The good, the bad, and yes, occasionally the ugly. Doing this work allows me to look at my months and even my years with real data, even for the less tangible parts of my business and life. I call these weekly meetings CEO Debriefs, and I do them twice per month inside the Brave Society. We do them together.

I have pulled together some of the highlights from CEO Debriefs that I’ve done inside of Brave and I’m sharing the best of the best with you. You might’ve heard a couple of these on the podcast, but I want you to take it a step further and feel what it’s like to do these with us inside of the Brave Society. So head on over to my show notes and sign up now to receive 10 CEO Debrief Questions you will want to ask yourself. Plus, listen in on some of the most popular shares that I’ve made. Listening to someone else’s debrief is a great way to find the language for what you’re experiencing, get a concrete example of radical self reflection, and learn how to grow your business because it’s often times not what we think.

If you’ve found this podcast valuable, help us develop more bold leaders in the world by sharing this episode with your friends, colleagues, and other bold leaders. Also, if you haven’t done so already, please leave a review. I consider reviews like podcasts currency, and it’s the one thing you can do to help us out here at the Bold Leadership Revolution HQ. We would be so grateful for it.


Special thanks goes to Stacey Harris from Uncommonly More who is the producer and editor of this podcast. Go check them out for all your digital marketing and content creation needs. Be sure to tune into the next episode to help you embrace your ambition and leave the grind behind.

Important links to share:

Listen in on CEO Debriefs and Get 10 BOLD Questions for your own debrief.

The BRAVE Society

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