Trends reveal new business opportunities....
   Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of reading trends. They fashion their business to take advantage of what they believe are the current and near-term needs of prospective customers.
    Here are some trends that may offer new opportunities.
   Balance personal time with company demands. A constant complaint. among working men and women is: "I have no time for me." They strain to keep up with the workload, feeling that society will view them as lazy if they slow down or take a break.
   Even when business people find time for themselves, they often do not know how to spend it. They appear to have lost the ability to relax. They need to learn how to balance work and personal needs more effectively. Providing a solution will be an industry unto itself.
   Challenges associated with rapid growth. Many businesses suffer enormous pressure in going from a modest enterprise with a few workers to a substantial concern employing hundreds.
   Some do not handle rapid growth, well. The owner-manager who started the business often does not have the skills to run a large company. Unless remedial action is taken quickly, the company will fail. Providing experts to assist "gazelles" will be a niche industry in Canada, particularly in knowledge- based industries.
   Finding and keeping great people. As the industrial base gives way to a more knowledge-based economy, the key resource of any business becomes its people. Large organizations constantly struggle to find and keep skilled personnel. Their culture and organizational structure usually guarantee a mediocre work force. Many consultants offer solutions to these corporations. Build a better mousetrap and large organizations will beat a path to your door.
   International trade. For Canadian companies to grow, they must do so globally. But very few enterprises have the right experience to build their business outside Canada's borders. Although the Internet provides easy access to potential international contacts and the federal government assists Canadians who want to do business abroad, there is no substitute for personal contact and experience. Ventures that can offer these services will be in great demand.
   Retirement services. As baby boomers approach retirement age, there will be significant demand for firms to fill certain needs. This generation will not only need financial management assistance but, more importantly, services to make retirement exciting.
   With the population living longer, people often spend 20 to 30 years in retirement before passing on. Safety and quality of life will be the predominant themes. Many companies already serve this market. However, as more people move into this stage of life, there is lots of room for innovative ideas.
   Transgenerational services. While baby boomers are moving into retirement, younger people are entering the work force. This generation is highly educated and demands a different work environment than their parents did. They have a short attention span and get bored quickly.
    Huge business opportunities will be available for companies catering to this market. They may include providing constantly changing entertainment venues, unique adventures, challenging work opportunities and "translation service" - acting as a communications buffer between this generation and baby boomers.
   Published February 22, 1999
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