Every January, periodicals - including this one - go to great lengths to reveal and discuss the trends on the horizon.  Like you, I've read them and like you, I've got my opinions.  Right, wrong, or otherwise, they're out there.  So what is coming?

Who knows?

There is one trend you need to understand and begin to act upon, though, and that is the one where entrepreneurs must fully understand and be able to educate their clients.  In other words, you need to be THE expert on your own subject.  What does that mean?  In essence, you can speak not only to how your company serves clients, but more importantly, you can identify how your company can serve other clients.

Rhetorical?  Not at all - and more importantly - your ability as an entrepreneur to identify where you can enter into new markets by using your current offerings to expand horizons.  Is that a new trend?  Of course not.  After all, whether it was Ray Kroc selling franchises, Steve Jobs integrating technology, or Jeff Bezos deciding to use the shipping systems he had already created to ship nearly anything, subject matter expertise has been a hallmark of business expansion for as long as there have been successful businesses.

In 2018, though, we have a myriad of options, so using your product and service expertise to grow a company is far more advanced than simply opening the doors.

You have consumers with more research available on a nearly daily basis who are using every imaginable medium to find your business and the make the buying decision.

Are you making your expertise available to them?

While any business may be grown by reaching new audiences that are, in reality, simply new populations of the target audience - opening up a new store in a new city, for example - transformative growth can be found by solving the problems that your non-target audience never knew could be solved.

An obvious example is the idea of using an Uber driver to deliver packages or drones to deliver Amazon purchases.

If you are in the service sector, of course, you may have to think a little harder, but let's say that you own a catering business with a full commercial kitchen.  A second stream of income - with no additional overhead - could be sourced by offering access to that kitchen to mobile food service trucks in your area.

In both cases, a subject matter expert can easily see how to spot these extra income opportunities, but someone who isn't completely confident is too busy struggling with their day-to-day operations to focus on expansion.  Guess who else isn't able to take this extra money to the bank?

The small business owner who doesn't have the time to work ON their business instead of simply IN their business.

So the trend you need to be aware of in 2018 is how you can make sure that your sales people - and that may just be you, of course - can interject your business into new spheres while also keeping your core market aware of how you are expanding your brand and assisting new industries.

Publicity helps to breed sales and those sales can be the catalyst for growing into markets that were never envisioned when you created your company.

Subject matter expertise can be a powerful trend that can shape - or re-shape - your business through simple communication and training.