Although slow in the fourth quarter, economic growth is expected to pick back up in 2015, according to Kiplinger. It is not uncommon for economies to have a weak quarter after several strong quarters. Even as numbers may fall slightly, it can still show an upward trend. A bounce back is likely to occur as the economy catches its breath. Job openings are nearly reaching record levels and hiring is on a high rise. The amount of layoffs are also infrequent – assumed from the low rate of initial unemployment claims as of May 2014.
We can expect an increase in monthly job gains in 2015 to reach 250,000 – equaling about 3 million for the year. Last November provided the largest single-month gain in nearly three years, with 321,000 company hires spread across all industries. In the past three months, retail and food service added 212,000 jobs – most likely the cause for the recent strong employment gains among people with less than a high school diploma. In 2014, the unemployment rate will likely end at about 5.8 percent and gradually decline to an approximate 5.3 percent over the course of 2015. The momentum of 2014 makes 2015 look promising.
Business Trends for Success
- Integrated Sales and Marketing – In research done by CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council and Google, the average buyer is about 57 percent through the purchase process before speaking with a sales representative. According to SiriusDecisions, if a business’ content marketing and sales strategy are tightly aligned, B2B organizations will experience 24 percent faster growth and 27 percent faster profit growth over a three-year period.
- Providing a Work-Life Balance – Business owners should understand that people matter. Although the passion for the company may exist within all employees, it may not be as strong as that of the owners. Even if you are willing, 80-hour work weeks may not be appealing to everyone. Driving employees into the ground will have negative effects on the company over time. Engagement and productivity will decrease, and employee retention will be difficult. Invest in your employees and your employees will invest in you.
- Content Marketing – In Content Marketing Institute’s study, B2B Content Marketing 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America, 69 percent of organizations surveyed say they are working on “creating more engaging content” now. The year 2015 will be about creating content that provides greater value than the other companies in your space.
- Evolution of Salespeople – As business strategies evolve, so do the consumers. Manipulative sales methods aren’t as effective anymore. Consumers want the best value for what they are spending and therefore look to engage with subject-matter experts. Finding how customers make buying decisions and ways to add the highest value to consumers will lead to a better alignment between buyers and sellers.
- Price vs. Value – This is a game of supply and demand. When there is a hot commodity, everyone wants it. When customers are raving over something, the prices go up. The pricing pressure for 2015 will be on a high, eating into business margins. However, it’s smart to remember that technology allows customers to find the product for a better price right from their smart device. Businesses need to find a way to market a commodity more effectively than other companies or develop a strategy to ensure that the product is not actually seen as a commodity. Deciding whether to compete on price or value should be a high focus.
Although we saw a drop in some areas of 2014, we also saw a lot of increases. Business owners should feel optimistic going into the new year. Along with developing business strategies, there are a lot of increasing economic numbers that show a promising 2015.