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It would be an understatement to say 2002 was a year ofuncertainty. But it's over, so let's look ahead. 2003 lookslike . . . well, at the moment it looks much the same as last year.But that's not going to stop us from trying to figure outwhat's next. Since that's not a task I want to tacklealone, we asked a few experts to share their insights.

Last year on this page, business consultant Elaine S. Peck (whoalso happens to be a professional psychic) and her colleague,Carroll Eileen, predicted that in 2002, "things will get worsebefore they get better." For 2003, they believe that while theeconomy will show signs of a slow (very slow) recovery, overall,our economic doldrums will continue. Money will remain hard to comeby for business owners, whether for start-up or expansion. Personaland business debt will soar.

Overall, they think many of us "will be ruled by fear"this year. While they see several major industries (like timber)suffering more than others, there is a bright spot on the businesshorizon: escapism. "Americans are in a runaway mood,"says Peck, and anything designed to help them escape will do wellin 2003. Entertainment-related businesses and products such as toyswill thrive. And they believe this will be a "fair" yearfor luxury goods and services. (For the scoop on how you can grabyour share of this market, make sure you read the May 2003 issue ofEntrepreneur.)

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