[Trend 2020] Top 5 Topics Entrepreneurs Should Focus on in 2020 There are global issues such as cultural conflicts and global warming that directly or indirectly influence any business ecosystem

By Dr. Finn Majlergaard

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As a small business owner, one has to adapt to the changes in the surrounding environment much quicker compared with the bigger and more established companies. The great idea you got last year may not be so great anymore or maybe it can become even greater due to the changes in the surrounding environment. Changes in the political landscape, economic and social changes may boost or kill your great idea. On top of that, we have constantly emerging technologies, global issues such as cultural conflicts and global warming that directly or indirectly influence any business ecosystem anywhere in the world.

As a small business owner, you need to keep the analytical radar rotating all the time. Here are five topics, which I believe you must take into consideration when forming your strategy and action plans for the coming year.

Relate to and support the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations has set up 17 Sustainable Development Goals for transforming the world. These goals cover education, climate change, sustainability, equality, health and much more. You can read more about the goals here. I advise that you carefully look at these goals and determine how your business can support these goals and what you can do to contribute. You should do that for several reasons. First, you have the opportunity to show that you care by addressing one or more of these values. It helps you in positioning your company and gives you more stories to tell in your marketing efforts. Second, it helps you shape your company culture from the very beginning if you focus on a greater good instead of just developing an idea for short-term profit. Having a purpose will help you attract the best customers, the best employees and the best investors.

Related Read: 8 Companies Utilizing AI to Tackle Climate Change

Think of Your Business as Part of the Circular Economy

If you don't already know what the circular economy, then you must definitely get up to speed on that topic. Better today, than tomorrow. In short, a circular economy business model is one that benefits the business, the society and the environment. As an start-up entrepreneur, it is much easier to apply that business model than it is for a big company. I don't meet many CEOs of big companies today who brag about having focus only on shareholder value. But the transition into a truly circular economy is difficult for big companies. So if you do it as an entrepreneur, you can gain a lot of competitive advantage.

Think Global From the Very Beginning

I have mentioned it in previous articles too, but it continues to be utterly important. You have to think global from day one of your business—not only in terms of how and where you can sell your products or services. When forming your team, make it as diversified as possible in terms of education, nationality, gender and previous experiences. Because of that cultural diversity, you will become more innovative, more resilient and have a much better foundation for growth than if you are all clones of each other. You may also consider having an advisory board consisting of people who can give you input for the future and who can connect you to stakeholder necessary for your future growth. Personally, I am on the advisory boards of a number of small and medium-sized companies. I get paid nothing or very little but I find it a great pleasure being able to help the next generation entrepreneurs. And I know a lot of people with a lot of experience and networks who feel the same way.

Make Innovation a Priority

As an entrepreneur, you constantly need to look for new opportunities to grow and expand your business. That is why innovation must be at the core of your business. Innovation has to be constant—not only your products or services but also the way you sell and distribute them. To remain competitive, you need to have a diversified team as outlined above. When you have a diversified team you automatically get more perspectives, inputs you had never considered, questions clones of yourself would never ask. Making innovation a priority is the best insurance you can get to remain in the business and the best foundation you get to develop competitive advantage and grow your business.

Develop Solutions to Overcome the Challenges of Crosscultural Management

When you are aiming at having a diversified team and thinking global in all aspects of your business, you will, of course, need the necessary skills to succeed across different cultural barriers. It can be across different professions, different nationalities and different age-groups, among others. My advice is that you make sure that everyone on your team acquires a certain level of cultural intelligence so that you learn to see the diversity as a source of synergies and opportunities and not as something that needs to be fixed or overcome. There is a lot of academic research showing that multicultural teams are more innovative and agile. Make sure that your team is one of them, so you can stand out from the competition.

I wish you a happy and successful 2020.

Related Read: 5 Business Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2020

Dr. Finn Majlergaard

CEO of Gugin

Dr. Finn Majlergaard is the CEO of Gugin, helping entrepreneurs and companies around the world to become more successful internationally. He does this by helping his clients leverage their cultural diversity. Culturally diverse teams are more innovative and a diversified international network gives endless new opportunities. He also helps entrepreneurs develop a strong company culture from the very beginning;

He founded Gugin in 2001 and he has worked with more than 600 companies and entrepreneurs around the world, helping them become better at leveraging the opportunities and mitigating the risks of a globalised world.

He is also an Author, Keynote Speaker, Board Member and Entrepreneur and he teaches at several universities and business schools around the world on global leadership, cross-cultural leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Dr.Majlergaard holds a doctoral degree from International School of Management in Paris, Tokyo, New York and Shanghai and an MBA from Henley Management College, UK.

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