The fab people at Officeworks have given me a $100 AU Officeworks voucher to give away to a lucky reader….read on to find out more details…

[This competition is now closed and I’m excited to share with you Ross Dawson selected Grant Steele as the winner. Dawson remarked there were a number of excellent comments. Thank-you to everyone who entered. Grant Steele please get in contact so your $100 OfficeWorks voucher can be sent to you]

Trends are indicative of something developing in a general direction. Understanding macro business trends that could potentially affect your business assists you in strategically preparing for the future. Being in a position to take advantage of trends by having services and products ready, can be lucrative for your bottom line and keep you ahead of competitors.

With this in mind I’d like to discuss some recent trends predicted by Ross Dawson.

Brisbane’s RiverCityLabs is a co-working space for start- ups in the tech space. Last week I was at their Mentors lunch and we were discussing how large corporates interested in the start-up space were placing their employees in the Labs co-working space to immerse them in start-up enthusiasm. It’s a unique opportunity for the corporates to connect with the community they want to work with.

Would it benefit your businesses productivity and outcomes to mix up the locations where you work? If you visit Brisbane, RiverCityLabs is a great place to explore as they rent desks by the day, but there are many connected quarters if you seek them out. Home office, Co-working, on-site with clients, even meeting at local cafés with the free wi-fi and aromatic coffee can spark innovative work flow!

I’ve been reading about FitBits for a while now — and I want one! You wear them around your wrist and they track activity and sleep helping you work towards improving your overall performance in life. It reports on how you’re doing, and where you can improve. Imagine being told you need to sleep more! And it’s beneficial to your overall output.

My New Year’s resolution includes power nap, I aim for a timed 20 minute nap straight after lunch, and the TIMER on my phone wakes me refreshed and re-energised for the rest of the day.

Customers expect instant service practically 24 hours a day. As a small business owner it’s hard — I get people calling me from 7am to 11pm — and I don’t really like it. I like calls within business hours, and I’m happy to deal with email outside of hours but juggling expectations can upset potential customers who scoff at ‘normal business hours’. To try and alleviate this I’ve tried to add as much information on my ecommerce website –answering potential questions and it’s available 24 hours a day. I also sell some online video products which are available instantly.

Voicemail services, and outsource follow up to call centres are also solutions that can be implemented.

On the other hand I know if you a potential supplier don’t follow up quickly with me I tend not to want to buy your product, because I am concerned about ongoing support with the product.

It’s tough!

With the advent of cloud based accounting solutions like Xero and the developing Xero ecosystem, small business can capture data, and use it in their business, to track the success of marketing campaigns (Xero + OneSAAS + MailChimp) or rostering staff (Xero +DeputyApp). Intuitive connected tools tapping into the openly published API (Application Programming Interface) enable small business to effectively utilise data, and grow their bottom line

It’s truly remarkable the evolution, of where we came from, paper and pencils, to where we are heading!

Blatent self promotion – very excited to see Xero for Dummies book selling at Officeworks

I want a 3D printer. I’ve no idea what I would do with it. What would you do with it?

@HeatherSmithAU print a good facsimile of myself, sit it in my office and sit on the beach until someone notices

— Samuel Walker (@SCGWalker) February 11, 2014


I can’t imagine how they can be useful for an accountant — but for businesses in the 3D design industry like architects or manufacturers the ability to access 3D printer technology is mind—blowing.

I have minimal ability to conceptualise how something is going to turn out. Yes house renovations were a dreaded nightmare.

A business able to create 3D touchable prototype, can offer a solution that is far more attractive to me then a business still using flat drawings. It’s easy to see how 3D printers can be utilised by businesses, to win over clients and customers.

My mobile phone is my personal assistant, fitness trainer, photographer, navigator and nagger all in a single device! I’m able to outsource the everyday routine part of my life to my digital assistant so I’ve time to live in the other areas. I can’t wait till I have the chance to try augmented reality glasses in the form of Google glass. I saw Trey Ratcliffe demonstrate Google Glass at ProBlogger. Here’s a video he created on the Gold Coast along Cavil Mall – pretty cool hey!

A picture still tells a thousand words. A picture grabs consumer’s attention, sparking their interest to read the supporting text. Powerful visuals set you apart from your competitor. I find blog posts or comments across social media attached to visuals are far more effective investment than the black and white of text.

Pictures can be as simple as sparse crayon drawings, scanned and uploaded, through to design software. For a while all of my posts were accompanied by pictures of flowers — but I’m being a bit more experimental now. I find something, work with it a while and then move onto something else.

I saw a job add the other day; it offered free parking, premium Spotify membership and a gym membership! Wow!! Workers are more demanding looking for a stimulating environment, and flexibility around where and how they work. They bring their personality to work. I‘ve even visited offices that allow workers to bring their dogs to work. In fact some, like me simply connect into the workplace, and work from the comfort of home, during the hours they choose!

A significant amount of my time is spent training people how to use accounting software. Unfortunately I frequently hear ‘If I’d known how to do this three years ago — I’d have saved myself so much time!’ On the other hand I’m always excited when a start-up contacts me and says I want to get this set-up correctly from the start! It’s such a relief for both of us!

These days, learning does not just happen in the school classroom; there is one-on-one training, online videos, books, and podcasts. As a business I can invest in training in specific areas I need. I’ve just signed up to do a WordPress course at the State Library. As an accountant I need to demonstrate I am undertaking CPD – continuing professional development – to maintain my qualification.

Alternatively a business can also offer training in their area of expertise, generating additional income streams, and demonstrating their knowledge.

As the business world and technology evolve at a rapid pace, those constantly learning, are seizing new opportunities, and leaving behind those not improving their knowledge base behind.

I’m a huge fan of social media – it’s given me a voice to communicate with the media, industry leaders, my clients, and the community. With the advent of the internet, we have the opportunity to really focus on what we are interested in, and specialise in that area. My son tells me “My Little Pony” is having a massive resurgence of interest. Someone find it interesting talking about that topic — I don’t get it myself but am sure the MLP accessories industry is very interested.

Customers and opportunities are attracted to interesting people. People can be active online via social media and forums, and offline, by attending and contributing to interesting events. Take a look at and to discover events that interest you and give you the opportunity to meet people #inreallife.

No longer do the grey suits rule the business world.

If you want to know more about social media take a look at Learn Social Media in 7 Days by my friend Linda Coles. You could use the voucher offered below to buy her book!

The fabulous people at Officeworks have given me a $100 AU Officeworks voucher to give away to a lucky reader. I find myself at Officeworks all the time, so I’m sure it’s is a useful prize for business owners out there.

To win $100 Officeworks voucher, just leave a comment below telling me how you will adapt your business to the business trends outlined for 2014. I’m excited to let you know Futurist Ross Dawson has agreed to pick the winning entry!

[Tweet “How will your business adapt to 2014 business trends – comment for yr chance to win $100 @OfficeWorks voucher”]

One entry per person, entries close next Monday, 24 February 2014. The voucher can only be used in-store in Australia. It can not be used on-line. Officeworks do not ship overseas.


Futurist, Ross Dawson has worked with Officeworks to identify trends for micro to mid-sized businesses in 2014, to help business owners achieve their best year yet. Officeworks are providing the prize for this competition. All opinions are my own.