What do you think 2013 holds and what kinds of businesses or new ideas and/or technology trends may benefit?
Great question, but a little too early. In the next 30 days we should all have a better handle on the "Fiscal Cliff," European economics, Middle East Geopolitical events... And let's not forget, hopefully by then we will all know who will be producing Twinkies in the future.
I get your point and at the same time think that even with 30 days, uncertainty may be the new normal.
For instance, the Middle East has been uncertain for 40 years and trending toward more so. I guess that's my prediction. If you agree and with that in mind, how do you adjust?
I work in the construction. It appears that trade magazines are pointing towards government contracts, as well as private-public partnerships. The government is also pushing for SDVOSB and other SBA organizations. In construction, 2013 may be best for the companies involved in government contracts. Specialty contracts will benefit from this also, more so than general contractors, especially unionized specialty contractors since they are the beloved of the government.
Technology will continue to move and be emphasized to move towards the cloud. I think we can expect more software companies to push numerous customers to the cloud, almost in a forceful way.
I think if the economy tanks also the displaced workers may get an entrepreneurial spirit and try to make something happen themselves. The question then becomes what will the displaced person focus on. What industries may be the hardest hit due to the items Regis mentioned above? The answer may lie there.
I am still cautiously optimistic about 2013 regardless of what happens.
As a funny side note, well funny to me, if the economy does wind up tanking again, the field to be in might be religious institutions, irrespective of faith association or denomination. Churches tend to be fuller in tough times. I've heard there aren't too many Atheists on a crashing plane...
Chris, I like your "cautiously optimistic," which I regard as wise for any discussion of 2013 business ideas.
My guess is the macro is not so good. Of course, I could be wrong.
So, in the micro I'd gravitate to companies or ideas that in some way cater to value pricing basic necessities (like Cash and Carry) and energy efficiency. Natural gas glut aside, a lot of coal-fired electrical is going off line permanently and there's always the specter of increased regulation to drive up energy costs, even in a weak economy.
I imagine low long-term interest rates for 2013 may continue to breathe a little life into the housing sector. Of course, uncertainty over the mortgage interest deduction is not so good for now, but probably resolved shortly. So, home improvement may have some life for a while longer.
Nichier still, I noticed on a recent trip to Vegas that non-casino billboards were often personal injury lawyers and gun ranges. It looks like anything having to do with gun ownership is doing well. Hopefully, one doesn't fuel the other.
I wonder how private security guard and alarm monitoring companies are doing.
There seems to be a resurgence in urban farming, bee-keeping and backyard poultry among non-survivalist types. Also, high-end food trucks seem to be quite popular, causing some backlash from local restaurants stuck with high fixed costs.
Then, there's always liquor, fantasy entertainment, quasi-legalized (in some localities) pot and gold.
I know this isn't exactly steel mills (interesting article on world glut getting worse in WSJ today), but hey, that's a shaky economy for you! Same issue had a story on Europeans cutting back on Christmas spending and online odd novelty retailer Fab doing well. They sell necessities like beanies with crocheted beards.
Of course, making whatever business you're in more efficient through better technology (ERP, CRM, expense management, cloud everything SaaS, etc) is a perennial.
What do you like and where do you see opportunities?
There seems to be a certain amount of activity around companies like Nokia, Clorox and AMD selling and leasing back headquarters and other buildings.