Businesses today are drastically changing with the change in technology, and the future business environment will be no different. The use of technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation will become part of almost every business. We already see more and more businesses adopting cloud-based or other business management software for managing day to day operations in the valley.  With the popularity of start-up culture in India, we will witness more such behavior in the valley as well. More businesses will be individual-driven in the form of freelancing skills and influencers on social media. At the same time, there will be businesses that will not make it to the future. Due to reluctance to adapt to changing conditions, many businesses are struggling. How people shop is changing. How they go to the markets is changing. How they communicate and meet each other is changing. In order to be profitable in the future, businesses will have to look at their customers from these changing perspectives. The following are some of the business ideas that are feasible and will be profitable in the future.
 E-commerce
In India, the market for online shopping is anticipated to increase from US$ 46.2 billion in 2020 to US$ 188 billion in 2025. The new trend in the industry is the entry of new small D2C players  targeting niche segments. Our valley has yet to join the e-commerce revolution. There are a few success stories, but many failures. Businesses here are reluctant to change and adapt to modern ways. In today’s market, if you don’t reach a customer from your end, someone else will. One of the basic features of most industries is that they are highly competitive today. A clothing shop owner in the downtown area of Srinagar is in competition with Myntra, Ajio, Flipkart, Amazon, and others without him even realizing it. Businesses in the valley should have an online strategy and start selling their goods and services online by joining the multinational platforms already mentioned. They can use and are using social media to promote their products. Opening a retail website isn’t a viable option as it will not have the same flow of customers enjoyed by the big players. This may be a viable option in the future once the brand is popular. 
 
Outsourcing
The future of outsourcing in India will get the better of the world’s leading outsourcing players because of their augmenting access to vast internet penetration, a huge remote workforce, superior talent, quality results, and great turnaround times at a low cost. Technology outsourcing is expected to grow by around 20% annually over the next decade as companies across the world step up digital transformation initiatives and renew existing contracts with IT vendors. Kashmir has a pool of talented IT professionals and it is increasing continuously. The various costs associated with running an outsourcing business are lower than in most parts of the country. We already have some successful examples of IT outsourcing businesses in Rangreth. But I see more potential in it. People with outside exposure and knowhow of the industry should bring the processes home and run them here. I am sure they will save many costs and add to the bottom-line.
 
Logistics
We have already seen the result of the E-commerce revolution here in the form of a logistics business boom. Besides the national players, many natives started the logistics business as well. This is a complementary business industry and exists with the e-commerce industry. In fact, the boom in the logistics industry is due to the needs of e-commerce. According to a 2019 prediction from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), India’s logistics industry will grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 10% from $200 billion in early 2020 to at least $320 billion in 2025. Providing a competitive edge to their partners would be the key to success for the new players in the industry and an entry point.
 
Freelancing
Many people have decided to pursue freelancing as a career due to the difficulties in finding employment brought on by COVID-19. The fact is that most startups and businesses now hire freelancers to handle their needs. This saves them a lot of money. There will be a plentiful supply of qualified individuals with a variety of skills in the future. Many people are choosing to have the ability to work at their preferred locations, times, and jobs. The number of freelancers in India is expected to reach $20 to $30 billion by 2025. Many IT professionals are already working from home for multinationals. Content writing jobs and online teaching are some of the other freelancing preneurs already happening around us. There are many more possibilities in freelancing, and the list is ever growing. All you have to do is to acquire the skills that are in demand.
 
Online Education
With online learning, both the teacher and the student can choose their own pace for learning, and there’s also the added flexibility of creating a schedule that works for everyone. India already had the second-highest proportion of internet users in 2019. It is the second-largest internet market in the world. The revenue of the well-known learning app "Byjus" provides additional proof of the growing acceptance of online education in India. Around 18 million Indians will need to change careers by 2030, according to a study from February 2021, which emphasizes the importance of reskilling and upskilling. Kashmir has a rich supply of talented teachers. They can pool their resources or individually explore the potential of online-education. This model has the potential to make their product available globally and teach the skills that are and will be in demand.
 
Become an investor in a current or new business
This is definitely something that is new to the valley, but I would put it at the top of the list and my personal favourite. In the coming years, it could be a successful business model in the valley. Businesses need funds all the time to commence and operate, and the availability of funds is not always there. People with money don’t always have the ideas, and people with ideas don’t always have the money to invest in them. Once the two come together, then we may witness wonders. There are lots of potential and existing businesses in the valley requiring funds. Investing in them would be good business. This would require a team of people and not just one person’s job. Individually, this is happening in the valley at family or friend levels, but requires a more organised and analytical approach to succeed at a higher level.
Social media influencers
This thing is already popular in value and has future potential as the demand for social media content is ever increasing. Current youtubers should focus on affiliate marketing and promoting local businesses as done by national and international influencers. People with skills or a knack for influencing others should share their talent online. Social media influencers have improved in terms of creativity, teamwork, and strategy. Influence on social media is no longer a side interest or a chance event. Influencers on social media are aware of the value of the influence they have accrued over time. The demand for micro-influencers in the influencer marketing sector will skyrocket in 2022. Due to brands favouring micro influencers because of their higher engagement rates and accessibility, their share of the overall industry increased significantly last year.
 
Besides the following, there are many more opportunities for future-proof businesses in the valley. Become a wholesaler or a distributor for new or established brands; scale a small business at the district level; and last but not least, invest in small real-estate units. Kashmir is a huge market with a huge population and consumer demand is always increasing. You will find buyers for everything that is affordable. How you reach the customers will be the differentiating factor between success and failure.
 (The author is a faculty, Department of Management Studies, North Campus, University of Kashmir. He can be approached on: miui70@gmail.com) 

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