SDR Ventures recently sponsored the 14th annual Colorado CEO Forum that took place on October 1, 2013. The conference hosted over 450 CEOs of Colorado companies at the Seawell Grand Ballroom in Denver, Colorado.

This year brought back the always informative keynote speaker, Brian Beaulieu, the Executive Director of the Institute for Trend Research, who provided the audience with insights about the current and future trends in politics, economies and businesses.

Beaulieu discussed the three mega trends to watch that will have the most impact on the economy: demographics, inflation and taxation. Demographics, in particular population, is one of the key drivers that will affect the economy.  As the population in the U.S. grows (predicted to increase to 420 million people by 2050), demand for products and services will grow.   Inflation, the second trend, is forecasted to slowly increase.  While there is a lot of talk of hyperinflation in the news, Beaulieu remains confident that inflation will happen gradually, and suggested that we invest in countries with large natural resource bases.   The final trend to watch is taxation, which is going to increase in the US over the next few years.  With no solution to national debt or budget deficit issues Beaulieu predicts that taxes will only get worse.   The U.S’s major issue is “not a taxation problem, it’s a spending problem.” If the U.S. could get its spending under control taxation would not be a major issue.

Beaulieu discussed some actionable items for individuals. With interest rates predicted to remain low through 2015, Beaulieu recommends borrowing as much as you can now and purchasing hard assets.  One of the best hard assets to purchase in the Colorado region is commercial real estate, especially in urban areas such as Downtown Denver.  Another highly recommended industry to invest in is 3-D printing.  Beaulieu predicts that 3-D printing will be to manufacturing what the internet was to communications. Finally, Beaulieu indicated that economic signals are pointing to “normal stock market decline” of 15-35% in 2014.

Beaulieu also discussed some actionable items for businesses as we shift into the next business cycle. In particular, Beaulieu’s economic forecasts call declining growth for most businesses through the end of 2014, followed by a strong upswing in the business cycle for 2015 through 2018. Beaulieu offered numerous management objectives for businesses during this period, some highlights include: focus on increasing productivity through technology investment/development and employee training; product and sales-staff expansion; focus on competitive advantages and a concerted effort to lock in costs.

For more insights on trends or get information on 2013’s Colorado CEO Forum, please click here to access the slides and a video from the event.