15th January, 2019
By Julius Masaba
Honestly, I have never really taken time to do an analysis on an annual basis, but as this year comes to an end, for the first time I would like to reflect and think about what next year’s business trends will be. And I would also urge you to do the same, basing on this or your own view of things and experiences.
Business trends dictate how one plans and strategizes, although most people spend most of the year reacting to these trends and predictions, often joining the wagon far too late. One of the keys to success is to strike while the iron is still hot! With this, I mean you need to react quicker than anyone else.
This is why this time round or this year I have taken time to just think.
As such, this year I would like to share the business trends and predictions I BELIEVE will come true in 2019. I am no foreteller, palm reader or sorcerer but this is based on my analysis of things and researched phenomena.
Maybe you agree with these predictions or not but either way, I strongly urge you to take note of them right now so that you do something about them before everyone else even starts to think or as I said, strike while the iron is still hot…
#1. It will you cost an arm and a leg to get ATTENTION
Getting in your customers’ face is going to keep on being hard, harder and actually more costly. There are several reasons as to why this is/will be so.
- The cost of advertising continues to go up and up and in large amounts.
- Your audience’s or potential customers’ attention span is decreasing. Do you know why? Because there are a lot of distractions offline and online. The online distractions are called “white noise”.
- Your competitors are and will be getting better and better at what they do. Implying that you or your business is going to spend a lot of money and MORE of it to grasp their attention. And this will be either through paid or organic marketing.
And last year (2018) I had some clients and startups asking me if it’s possible to boost their Facebook posts to get more Followers. Also just know that those businesses that focus on building CUSTOMER TRUST and FOCUS will be in a good position to win the battle. So what are you or your business planning to do?
#2. Expect a ROUGH RIDE with the economy
It sounds like a big guess or claim, I agree. But trust me, the economy will be tough this 2019, to what I have discovered. Okay, assuming it does, it will lead to a higher demand for services like Consulting (on how to start a business, where to invest money, etc.), Financial Literacy, Mentorship and Coaching services among others.
Do you know why? Because as people lose jobs (and you know quite many who lost theirs in 2018) they will turn to “experts” to show them what to do next. For those with an entrepreneurial zeal, this will be their ‘moment of truth’. Like the prodigal son who has discovered his second best option in his life of quest for success.
But even if this may look to be a bad thing for you and your business, the smartest entrepreneurs are those who will have their biggest years yet. But only if you:
- Focus your energy on Brand Building RIGHT NOW and building an engaged audience/customer base for that matter.
- Focus on short-term tactics/techniques that MAXIMISE PROFITABILITY.
#3. Some social media platforms will be less and less effective, especially FACEBOOK
Don’t worry, Facebook is still relevant but the engagement that you expect in 2019 will slightly plummet!
And this is likely to occur whether your focus is on organic or paid (or both), just expect to see a lower Return on Investment (ROI) on your time and money.
The Facebook marketing funnel will end up being ineffective.
I predict that the Instagram App will get more and more downloads on people’s gadgets in 2019. Some people will most likely start deleting the Facebook App from their smartphones.
As a platform, Facebook will remain valuable. But you will REALLY have to know what you’re doing to make it work, and the days of following a few steps on YouTube tutorials and expecting big results are long gone!
- More people will start having ad-blocking software on their computers. You all know how those pop-up ads and notifications are a menace while you are working on your machine or gadget.
- Your business’s customers or audience is “switching off” because there’s so much “white noise”. I mentioned it before – distractions.
#4. Expect IMMENSE activity on Instagram, YouTube, even use of Google Ads
I just told you above, that more people will start using Instagram. On the flipside, advertising on the platform, YouTube and Google will SHOOT THROUGH THE ROOF! If you have a big brand and having a huge presence on these platforms already (like ‘scopionmcug’ and ‘irene_ntale’ on Instagram, and ‘Ann Kansiime’ on YouTube), you have a big advantage over everyone else.
As for me I am going to start experimenting on all these platforms (atleast am on Instagram) but expect Vlogs and video clips on Youtube soon, and I expect to see the results to be much better than I expect.
Personally, Facebook remains relevant, but these other platforms are closing the gap quickly in 2019! Because just expect ad costs to remain low on them, but for attention to get much higher. To get what am talking about, ask SLAY QUEENS!
And Oh! This year Instagram tested its feature that allows you to post direct to WhatsApp. See here: https://dailym.ai/2VW3LIR
#5. Marketers will only front Lifetime Value
Your clients’ lifetime value is more important than your 30-day return. What do I mean by this? When you prospect to a client, you spend a lot (on emails, phone calls, airtime, those freebies and pampering at the business meeting with the client) – you are spending money.
And so, you wouldn’t want to have the client for a few days and let him/her go. No! I am talking about the unseen ROI and how vital it is to play the long-game. You won’t stay long in the game when you lack retained clients. If you do, forget about surviving 2019!
You need to put your focus on how much value you can give someone over the next few weeks, and this can be maintained into the future. It will need consistency. It’s only then that you will realize the lifetime value of your customer. It’s even paramount over their 30-day return. Have it at the back of your head.
#6. Value for the ∑(Brand+Authority) will rise
I talked about amateurs before. They are seen as ‘pretenders’ most times, and pretenders are not given time however much they talk and talk. Rather the audience switches them off. But the same audience that switches off pretenders is the same one in need of assistance.
Meaning that those who are well-established in the industry and have authority will be valued more and highly sought after. So if you are a master of your craft….be prepared to get PAID in 2019. Because they are willing to pay for Brand+Authority.
#7. Likelihood of more ONLINE purchase for Low-End Products
Purchase of items or products online is most likely going to rise. Do you know why? Well let me tell you. Besides the internet penetration and rate of smartphone usage, there is a high rate in growth of online payment platforms. Last year MTN introduced MoMo Card.
This product/feature allows you to pay for services/purchase products online using funds from your Mobile-Money account! Once you activate it, you have 14 days for it (card) to expire. Now tell, me if you would not want to use that feature to purchase a household item.
Just last December, we bought an original projector cable for www.ablestate.org using MTN MoMo Pay or Card. This was at a price twice or thrice lower than that at which we would have bought it downtown.
#8. Success will be for the FOCUSED
There are lessons every year because each comes with its own challenges and various in number. Just like last year, if you look at how disorganized you were in execution of your tasks and goals that you set, you will realized you need to do something right.
If you want to win the game this year, have LASER FOCUS. It always proves to be correct.
#9. Enlightening your prospective customers will be the game WINNER
These days netizens are becoming eagle-eyed on the web. Many are now looking out for those one time offers (promising reduced costs). But remember your prospective customers are on your neck. Customer manipulation rarely works these days, and in 2019 it may have very low success rates.
So substitute customer manipulation with enlightenment! This also means that show them all the information they need to make their purchase decisions. Show them their pain. Show them the needed solution. Offer it to them and change them, be it a business or an individual.
#10. There will be a lot of FREE Content
You have heard of or seen marketing that woos prospective customers to your product or service. Usually, the sellers sell, sell and sell then reach a pint of giving away some free items. Usually these don’t help a lot in building scalable businesses for the longer-term. Because free things may not help change your prospective customers with a lasting impact.
Also, reason being many people purchase them (download freely if online) and forget about them e.g. tutorials. This means that you ought to change your business model this year so it gives away your BEST content for free…this attracts attention and builds trust and customer intimacy. It later turns your leads into customers with a product/service that actually solves their pains/problems.
However, be wary of free things too!
#11. The phrase “started from the bottom now we here” won’t work. It will become harder
Now this is a hard one for all those aspiring to be ‘professionals’. Even professionals were once amateurs. The boxing legend Muhammad Ali once said it – ‘Fake it till you make it’. I like that phrase, personally. You see, at times calling yourself an “expert” or “professional” when you have no expertise may not work at all.
I am not saying it’s impossible to become a professional or better but it will get harder and harder to work your way up from the bottom. You will need to stop offering raw deals. Be the BIG deal by building a good relationship and trust with your customers/clients/prospects.
So if you don’t have an audience yet… start now before it’s too late, and become their “go to”.
#12. Slow death of the “usual” marketing funnel
You have all heard about the typical marketing funnel that leads someone from a video tutorial or clip, who then clicks, likes or follows the site, emails you then you prospect to make a sale. Yes, that one. It’s dying slowly! And in this 2019, it will still dying.
Therefore you just need to change the funnel strategy, maintain it but tweak it by making it relevant. By this I mean, give your prospective customers relevant content (the right content) at the right time, in a manner that builds trust, intimacy and reputation. The Return on Investment (ROI) takes longer, but it’s larger and better, growing as you offer consistently.
And remember that your customer journey will become critical. What do I mean here? The customers’ journey decides your success, before and after the sale. It’s critical but with the stiff competition these days, it’s becoming absolutely crucial moving on to 2019.
What to do is give your customers an experience they won’t forget, let them fail to choose your competitors and you instead. Give a lasting impression, the “WOW” factor.
#13. ACCESSING FINANCE will be more than squeezing water out of a rock
Access to finance is a vital aspect of growing entrepreneurship in Uganda and yet it continues to be one of the biggest setbacks for startups and MSMEs, and more especially among the youth ventures. The journey is one full of rugged paths littered with thorns. Ask any startup in the ecosystem!
Seven (7) out of every ten (10) SMEs noted ‘limited access to finances’ and the ‘cost of finance-high interest rates’ as constraints to business growth – a report by Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) 2016.
From my experience with finance acquisition while working with startups, SMEs and financiers/funds, etc., you will realize the time it will take to secure finances. In fact success rate is about 10%. There are many factors for that; like lack of book keeping and audited financial accounts, poor team composition, etc.
I advise such prospective investees to have audited financial accounts, form a strong team, institute strong internal control system/mechanisms, have a scalable product with traction, and get a bankable business plan, among others. Please, always ask for assistance for such things to save time, moving up and down.
Last year was quite a thrilling time for me in the finance acquisition furnace and I don’t think it will be a cup of tea in 2019. Just brace yourselves for the worst. I am swallowing my own medicine in advance.
There you are…..These are just my Business Predictions and Trends for 2019
As we formulate our goals and resolutions for the year, this is what we are likely to direct our energies to. You might agree with some of these business trends or not. Maybe you only agree with some, most of them, or not.
For both sides, think about your predictions for the year ahead, and ACT on them long before your competitors do.
NB: This article also appeared on Medium, by the same author. Click here
About the Writer
Julius Masaba is a private investment researcher and business consultant. He also works with Ablestate, https://www.ablestate.org/ and a WordPress writer/blogger on startups, entrepreneurship, business and finance. He loves tech.