5 Ways To Think Bigger in 2018, According to Entrepreneur's Editor In Chief Number one: Truth is the new year's competitive advantage!

By Jason Feifer

Entrepreneur Media

This list is from The Feifer Five, a monthly newsletter by Entrepreneur's editor in chief, Jason Feifer. Each month, he shares five entrepreurial insights to help you think bigger. Subscribe here.

Here's the only prediction I can guarantee: Next year will bring new opportunities for sharp, forward-thinking entrepreneurs. And what exactly will those opportunities be?

I have a theory. Which leads me to #1 on my list...

1. 2018 can be a fresh start.

For Entrepreneur's December issue, we asked tons of smart people to make a prediction. (Gary Vaynerchuk's answer, in part: "The same way I felt in 2008 about social media is how I feel about voice now.") And as we did, I began forming my own prediction: Trust is next year's competitive advantage.

Following a 2017 full of fake news, divisiveness, hacking, corporate malfeasance, and never-ending scandals, consumers want to embrace anything that is true and honest and decent and giving and real. The entrepreneurs who are most trustworthy -- who have nothing to hide, who speak openly and clearly, whose companies are transparent, who believe in their customers as much as they believe in themselves -- will be the ones that win people over. The future is for entrepreneurs to shape. Next year is a fresh opportunity to prove it. May we do so in the image of our best selves.

2. Great opportunities at the wrong time are actually just bad opportunities.

For evidence, look no further than this episode of my podcast Problem Solvers. It's about what happened when Noosa, the yogurt company, said yes to its first big retail opportunity -- and lost $100,000 because of it.

(Side note: After this episode ran, Noosa sent me a box with dozens of their yogurts. It's great stuff but, oh man, that's too much. I literally gave some away on the street outside our office, so they'd all be eaten before going bad.)

3. You may be making things unnecessarily hard.

Every so often, someone tells me something so simple and yet profound that I immediately know: This is something I'll think about for years, if not forever. And it happened recently, during a conversation I had with Tim Ferriss. He was telling me that the past year-plus has been the most productive time of his life. I asked: How? And he said: He started to look at every project and asked, "If this was simple, what would it look like?"

If this was simple, what would it look like?

In other words: Imagine what it would take to make this project easier. Imagine the structure. The other people you'd need to involve. The way you could delegate, spread, or re-organize the tasks. The stuff you can simply cut out of the process. And then... do that. Stop doing it the complicated way. Make it easy. Because the easier it is, the more you can accomplish.

I've been asking this of myself a lot lately. I don't always have the answers, but the question feels like a lifeline all its own. (And when I do have the answers, I'll share them with you.)

4. If you anchor yourself to the old ways of doing things, time will just move on without you.

The year is 1777. Frederick the Great is ruling Prussia. Coffee was becoming popular there, so Frederick made the drink prohibitively expensive for people to buy. His explanation: "It is disgusting to notice the increase in the quantity of coffee used by my subjects, and the like amount of money that goes out of the country in consequence. My people must drink beer. His Majesty was brought up on beer, and so were his ancestors."

What Frederick didn't appreciate: Just because something happened in the past, that doesn't mean it must or even can continue in the same way. He died in 1786 and was succeeded by his nephew, Frederick William the II, who lifted the restrictions on coffee. People still love beer, of course. But they love coffee too. There's always room for something new.

(This all came from the latest episode of my podcast Pessimists Archive -- site, iTunes -- where I tell the story of how coffee survived 500 years of bans and health scares. Frederick is my absolute favorite moment from it. Though, I also loved diving into what 17th century coffee houses looked like in London. Hint: Not Starbucks!)

5. Own it!

I loved this sandwich board, which I spotted outside of Emmerson in Boulder, Colorado in November. It's a great reminder that confidence trumps almost anything else. Someone insult your food? Use that to promote yourself, and suddenly you've flipped the insult on its head. It's like you're saying, Our food is so good, we can joke about it being bad. That's how confident we are you'll love it.

That's a compelling message.

Jason Feifer

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief

Jason Feifer is the editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine and host of the podcast Problem Solvers. Outside of Entrepreneur, he is the author of the book Build For Tomorrow, which helps readers find new opportunities in times of change, and co-hosts the podcast Help Wanted, where he helps solve listeners' work problems. He also writes a newsletter called One Thing Better, which each week gives you one better way to build a career or company you love.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business News

Kevin O'Leary Says to 'Survive the Rest of Your Life' You'll Need This Hefty Amount in Your Bank Account

The "Shark Star" explained the concept of passive income based on interest rates.

Business News

Amazon Is Offering Students $25 Flights Home for the Holidays

Amazon partnered with StudentUniverse to sell thousands of $25 tickets for Prime Student members.


How to Build a Socially Responsible Employer Brand (and How It Can Help You Tackle Attrition)

People of all ages and from all generations have become skeptical about companies' corporate social responsibility efforts. Here's how to fold social change into all the fibers of your corporation's brand.

Business News

George Santos Is Making Six Figures on Cameo, According to a New Report

He's on a path to eclipse his $174,000 Congressional salary.


How to Lead With a Balanced Sense of Optimism When The Future Looks Bleak

This approach can help conscientious leaders maintain good morale and results even through uncertain times.

Growing a Business

6 Signs You Need an Executive Assistant

Executive or virtual assistants perform much more diverse functions than most people realize. Here are six signs you need to hire one.