Remember when virtual reality was all the rage? What about the daily-deal explosion?
We love a good story and a quick cash infusion, but when it comes down to it, we're far bigger fans of businesses built on a solid foundation -- those that can weather the economy's fits and starts; that can embrace what's trendy but don't crash when kids move on to the next big thing; that address the wants and needs of America's increasingly diverse population.
Our list of the trends we've got our eyes on will help anchor your business, present or future, in reality. From cooking up goodies that satisfy America's growing taste for all things spicy -- a sign of our shifting demographics -- to helping workers who are locking the door on traditional office setups, these trends are built to last (at least for a while). Consider this a jumping-off point as you envision new products and services -- and look at it as a heads-up on evolving ways to manage your current business. Now, to your future.
Cutting-edge entrepreneurs are stepping up to crunch the vast (and ever-growing) stockpile of information too large for companies to store and analyze in-house.
Factors like more affordable labor, higher shipping costs, a better financial climate and a surge of homegrown innovation mean the U.S. manufacturing startup universe is experiencing a renaissance.
The office is getting a new look -- or being phased out altogether.
CEOs get the message about the value of fun in the workplace and its contribution to the bottom line.
Consumers take a shine to advanced personal-care products.
Move over ketchup. Hot sauce is now one of the 10 fastest-growing industries in the U.S.
Energy-enhancing products have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry fueled by young consumers.
The digital health-technology market will be worth $5.7 billion by 2015, with chronic care, wellness and medication management leading the charge.
Weary consumers have had enough of false promises and conflicting marketing claims and are simply seeking brands they can trust.
Recent innovations like touchscreen technology, electronic-payment options and unique products could give the vending machines industry a boost.
Traditional business lending is still faltering, but more people are starting businesses, which means borrowers and lenders are getting creative.