Business Trends and Learning Resources for 2015

Last Updated: May 12, 2016

A big part of moving your business forward is knowledge of emerging trends and an ability to continually learn new skills as the trends evolve. This week, we’ve highlighted a few trends that are pertinent to various aspects of starting and growing your business, and have complimented them with some open educational resources (OER) to deepen your understanding of these fields of business.

business trends 2015Industry trends

  1. Services for an aging population
    As Canada’s population continues to age, there is a sustaining market for focusing business ventures on baby boomer and elderly health services, says Mark Eversfield of Small Business BC. A specific demographic has unique needs and if a new business can address those needs they can find their niche in a market. Eversfield speculates that the boomer generation will provide a large market influence for the next 18 years. Consider this small business spotlight on elderly advocacy.
  2. Going gender neutral
    If you are looking to develop a new product for consumers, creating products with gender neutrality resonates with today’s consumers, says Profit Magazine’s summary of the Canadian Business Opportunities 2015 report. Considering the popularity of shows that defy gender stereotypes like Girls, Orange is the New Black, and RuPaul’s Drag Race, it is no surprise that the public may be evolving their view of what products are desirable (the Apple Watch is a great example).
  3. Technology applications in new markets
    Applying new technology trends in markets that have not traditionally been linked to the tech world can tap into an untouched area. For example, the farming community has been introduced to the world of technological disruption with an app developed by a Saskatoon-based startup, as profiled in Canadian Business. And although gender neutrality is growing, it doesn’t dismiss the fashion industry’s desire to incorporate wearable technology in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Here are OER for helping you work through your business idea in 2015:

»Developing New Products and Services (Saylor Foundation)
»What’s Your Big Idea? (UNC-Chapel Hill via
»Developing Innovative Ideas for New companies: The First step in Entrepreneurship (University of Maryland via

Marketing trends

  1. Authenticity and personalisation in social media marketing
    Social media shouldn’t be about the likes, favorites or mentions, but instead should be about building community around your company and brand. In fact, social media strategist Kim Garst says that pushing sales on social media will become counterproductive. Attract, don’t push, she advises.
  2. Mobile first strategy, not just mobile friendly
    There has been growing acknowledgement for the need to adopt a mobile first strategy when developing an online presence, but this year it seems to become imperative. The primary focus should centre around mobile access to your content, not just whether or not your content is mobile-friendly, says Kim Garst.
  3. Don’t dismiss old-school methodsSuccess ahead
    It might sound counterintuitive with most marketing focusing on the digital world, but paper-based marketing methods shouldn’t be discounted if done effectively, says Natasha Koifman in the Globe and Mail. Business2Community goes a step further, and even mentions “old-school” trade shows and other in-person events.

Here are OER for working through your marketing strategy in 2015:

»Your Target Audience (HP LIFE)
»The Mobile Playbook (Google)
»Marketing in the 21st Century (OpenLearn)

Human resources trends

  1. Infusing and accepting technology as a recruitment method
    A Global Recruiting Trends report by LinkedIn found that the use of social professional networks continues to rise, and ERE, a company for recruitment advocacy, advises recruitment managers to be more flexible in acceptance of online profiles in lieu of paper resumes.
  2. Generational turnover among management
    As the workforce ages, millennials are expected to move into management roles, as found in a study by Ernst & Young. Barbara Bowes, an HR specialist says in the Winnipeg Free Press that this can lead to underdeveloped management and intergenerational conflict in the workplace.
  3. Supporting a diverse workplace
    As the population in Canada ages and positions open, the country will continue to rely increasingly on immigrants to fill positions, says the Conference Board of Canada, and understanding the needs of diverse groups of employees will be a growing trend for human resources managers.

Here are OER to prepare you for human resources challenges in 2015:

»Hiring Staff (HP LIFE)
»Technology-focused human resources  (Open2Study)
»Managing local practices in a global context (OpenLearn)

Engage with us!

Do you have a particular trend that you are watching in 2015? Share with the SBA community in the comments below.

Photo credit: Photo remixed with Upward Trend, created on Juen 12, 2012 by Daniel Kulinski. Image made available under Creative Commons-NC-SA 2.0 Generic License. Created on March 19, 2015.