Instead of guessing what the future holds, MSPs should focus on so-called hard trends and customer trust to maintain or accelerate growth in the future, according to Daniel Burrus, author of Flash Foresight. During a keynote at ConnectWise IT Nation this morning, Burrus (pictured) offered several examples of hard trends and customer trust that can carry your business forward.

While some channel partners worry about cloud computing and disruptive technologies, Burrus told VARs and MSPs to focus on building trusted relationships. He noted that media companies only give you their best deals and deepest discounts after you cancel your subscription. Burrus also pointed to phone companies, which only offer their best deals when you call up to cancel your phone service. Those approaches, he said, destroy customer trust.

In stark contrast, MSPs and VARs should ask customers to always speak with them before making any major business-related IT decision. In return, the MSPs and VARs should vow to always offer unbiased advice -- even if it means sending the customer out to purchase IT products from someone else.

Hard Trends vs Soft Trends

Burrus spent most of his trends talking about hard trends (guaranteed, certain trends) vs. soft trends (items where you can influence the trend). Hard trends include demographic data -- like the aging population. Burrus rattled off numerous examples of businesses that could potentially cater to the aging population. In stark contrast, soft trends involve things like fewer people becoming doctors. It's a trend, but it's a trend that can be adjusted -- hence, a soft trend.

Burrus also pointed to the accelerating mobile app trend. Of the 1,600 or so IT Nation attendees, only a handful said they are developing mobile apps for customers. Then, Burrus asked attendees if it's a safe bet 75 percent of the room would be in the mobile app market within the next two years. Most of the room agreed with that prediction.

His takeaway point: "What are you waiting for?" Grab hold of the hard trends, and execute against them now.