January , prediction time. Every writer and pundit is making predictions about the economy, small business, the internet, social media, fashion, trends and more. You can spend an entire year reading the trends, and miss the real year completely. As I read the multiple lists, I look for common trends in small business predictions, where does everyone agree.

So what seems to be on everyone’s prediction lists?

  • Erica Swallow writing for Mashable says we can expect to see increased spending on websites and a revolution in smarthphone technology.
  • Lance Ulanoff writing for PC Mag.com says it will be about speed as consumers demand the same type of speeds from mobile devices they enjoy at home   He also expects social media to continue to grow with Facebook dominating the space, and twitter a strong second
  • Jolie O’Dell also writing for Mashable sees an expansion of cloud computing and collaboration tools, improved Wysiwyg type interfaces for developers and higher standards for web and mobile security?

Technology is not the only area where we predictions this time of year.   Economists also jump into the game.

  1. a strengthening in growth from 2.1% on average in 2010 to 2.4% in 2011, with real GDP rising at an above-potential 3½% pace in late 2011
  2. A peaking in unemployment in mid-2011 at about 10.75%
  3. extremely low inflation – close to zero on a core basis during 2011
  4. a continuation of the Fed’s (near) zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) throughout 2011.

What are the implications for small business owners if they are right?

  • If you haven’t updated your website in the last 18 months, plan on doing it this year.  Focus on load times, compatibility with mobile applications and social media
  • Stop sitting on the fence when it comes to social media – Facebook and Twitter are a part of how business operates.
  • Low interest rates will make this an attractive time to make capital investments in your business as you prepare for growth in your business.
  • With continued unemployment, there will be many qualified candidates available, so hire wisely
  • Expect more low priced competition as newly unemployed individuals make the decision to start their own business in your space.

What are your predictions and plans for 2011?