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Looking forward for business usually means examining the hottest emerging trends to predict where they may lead. This kind of speculation helps companies stay ahead of the curve in terms of products, marketing and public relations. But looking ahead sometimes means actually looking backward. Three business areas expected to be especially important in the future are all based on concepts that are at the heart of business and deeply engrained into the history of business success.

Shareable Information

The sharing of information and ideas is deeply rooted into the foundation of any successful business. When a company starts out, it’s run almost entirely on passion and dedication so the sharing of information is vital. Over the years we’ve seen plenty of ways to accomplish this — from the early days of white boards to modern day mind mapping software. Today we also have cloud based software that can share information between locations as well as people. The use of cloud-based software is expected not only to enhance collaborative efforts, it can also improve inventory control and sales analysis for companies that make use of multiple sales channels.

Listening to What People Want

Customer service is perhaps the most obvious pillar of business success. After all, a company is nothing without its customers. Using social media is now an established way to improve customer service and contact. Going forward, viral and original content will become the norm for companies that want to stay relevant, popular and at the front of their chosen industry.

Knowing What People Need

Listening to what customers have to say is important, but so is understanding what they need. Henry Ford is credited as once saying: “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” Customer feedback is an important part of business intelligence, but listening to competitors and industry experts plays a role, too.

The sharing of information and the importance of building intelligence and insight by listening to customers and staying informed about your industry are concepts as old as business itself. New technology, however, has put a new spin on these fundamental concepts making them some of the most important trends highlighted for 2016.