Since 2000, I’ve offered prognostications on what was coming at small businesses in the New Year. Then, at the end of each year, I’ve reconciled my predictions against what actually happened and gave myself a score.
Through the 20 editions prior to 2020, my accuracy record was 73%. That might not impress you, but in the Major Leagues, batting .730 would get you into Cooperstown on the first ballot. Just saying …
As the third decade of the 21st century dawned, my 21st set of predictions, published on January 5, were heavily influenced by three-years of Main Street optimism about the momentum of the U.S. economy. But then, in less than 90 days, everything changed. An organic invader turned our reality from halcyon to horrific in a way that only Chinese President Xi Jinping could have anticipated.
In our history, never have American business owners had to simultaneously fear that a deadly disease would attack their families and the political response to that pathogen might kill their businesses.
Because of the unprecedented weirdness of this year, scoring my 2020 predictions as I have in the past isn’t possible. Reading the list will either produce a wry smile, a cringe, or an expletive. Consequently, this year I’ll follow each prediction with appropriate commentary without a score – even when I was right. Some of my predictions have been omitted from the original list because the pandemic either made them irrelevant or moved them forward. Buckle up for a bumpy ride.