Technology is changing the world we live and work in at an increasing pace. There’s artificial intelligence, innovative health care technology, new work trends, shifts in consumer habits and more. Things will be quite different in the next few years.
What will these changes mean for CEOs and entrepreneurs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area? What are the most important factors to watch and things to implement to survive and thrive?
I’ve been a Dallas-based business owner for more than a decade, and I regularly consult hundreds of other regional executives and independent professionals as clients through various businesses. I’ve seen some of these emerging technologies changing their ventures. I’ve invested in the frontline of the latest technology through AI-powered biotech and software, which has provided great insight into what is being created behind the scenes.
Below are a few of the trends I believe Texas-based business leaders should keep an eye on this year:
1. The Small-Business Landscape
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that certainly applies to the business landscape, too. In 2018, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was No. 1 in job growth in the U.S., according to The Dallas Morning News. The region also has a healthy small-business climate. Recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is one of the strongest for employment in the nation. As of January 2020, the BLS reported:
• The area had almost 4 million people employed in 2019.
• Business and professional services added more than 20,000 jobs between November 2018 and November 2019.
• Employment in education and health services rose by 4%.
• The Dallas-Fort Worth area added the most jobs of any of the nation’s top 12 metro areas.
Whether the national economy enters a recession or keeps charging on a bull run, I believe Texas is likely to continue to be a major beneficiary of new residents and companies, thanks to its reputation for being investor-, tax- and business-friendly.
Despite the area’s healthy business environment, millions of jobs in the U.S. are expected to be replaced by machines in the next decade. Additionally, three out of four employees consider remote work “the new normal,” according to 2019 study by the International Workplace Group. This shows me that small-business owners, in particular, will need to move toward working in the cloud to remain competitive.
2. Real Estate Prices
But when there is a need for being at work in-person, Texas also stands out for its lower costs of living. While the state might certainly still boast being far more affordable than New York or California, Zillow data shows Dallas-Fort Worth rents and housing prices are up substantially from 2011. It’s important to consider real estate prices if you’re investing in office space or paying to relocate employees. If you’re worried about price, consider creative alternatives for lowering the costs while keeping your team comfortable. For example, affordable housing models or even new materials such as 3D printed polymers can help reduce housing costs.
3. Healthier Work Environments
The push to create healthier workplaces can increase productivity and efficiency, provide businesses with a competitive advantage, help them attract better talent and drive down the costs of taking care of teams and loss from absenteeism.
Office-bound and work-from-home employees can benefit from health-focused technology and design. Robots, for example, have started taking over dangerous and labor-intensive jobs, which helps reduce workplace injuries. We’ve already seen this in construction, with drone delivery by Amazon and Google, and in Walmart stores. I’ve also observed new health care industry-focused startups are aiming to make insurance coverage cheaper and provide more preventative medicine options. As a result, I believe in the future, we could have more productive teams with more uptime and lower costs.
When it comes to debating whether to invest in new technologies for your business, I find the best question to ask is, “Have I regretted adopting other new technologies too early or too late in the past?” Delaying investing in new tech could be more expensive, but it’s also important to avoid purchasing technology your team can’t benefit from.
4. Efficiency In Your Home And Your Bank Account
I also believe that employees and business owners could have more free time thanks to technological developments. Look at smart home technology: Consumers are expected to spend more than $150 billion on smart home devices by 2023. Our lives, from waking up to buying medicine, could eventually become completely intuitive with devices working for us on autopilot.
But beyond your home, tech is also beginning to play a role in how we manage our money. Artificial intelligence, for instance, is now used for stock market investing. You can use this approach to help you achieve attractive returns and invest in line with your values. There are a few caveats to consider, but I’ve found it can be a useful approach for leaders who aren’t well-versed in day trading.
5. The Importance Of Online Reputation
Everything is online. Businesses and executives will thrive or nose dive based upon their online reputations, which are affected by your business’s visibility, consumer reviews and employee reviews. With misinformation and identity hacks becoming more common, be proactive about building your online reputations, both personally and professionally, and also use alert notifications to identify negative reviews as soon as they hit.
The future looks bright for business owners in Dallas. The economy is expected to remain one of the strongest in the nation. If you remain open to change, I believe new technologies offer many advantages for standing out and thriving in this environment.