“There are more than 600,000 websites about the myths and predictions surrounding 2012,” Neill Corporation’s Debra Neill Baker told the audience of 1,200 attendees at Serious Business 2012 in New Orleans. “No matter what happens this year, it’s a time of transformational change for all of us. From the economy to changes with technology to current legislation surrounding the beauty industry, it’s a time to look at moving ourselves and our salons into the future.”

This year, Serious Business took attendees on a two-day, crystal ball-filled journey as it encouraged attendees to ask the question, “What’s the Future?” A variety of predictions were posed by the captivating speakers, and engaging breakout sessions encouraged attendees to continue their personal business exploration. Some futuristic words of wisdom:

Fascination Expert Sally Hogshead showed salon owners how to craft a message to fascinate their audiences. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the best, if no one notices or cares,” she said. “You don’t learn to be fascinating, you have to unlearn how to be boring.”

Futurist Watts Wacker offered a prediction of consumers seeking community at the mall and a generation of children who can write in computer code. “Don’t listen to the person who has all the answers, listen to the person who comes with the question,” he cautioned.

Attitude Adjuster Geno Stampora brought laughter to the stage, but punctuated it with a serious message for owners. “Don’t be so busy that you don’t have time to think about who you could be and what you could do.”

Responsible Business Leader Carol Sanford taught the audience how to be their own forecasters. “We’re moving toward that which is more whole,” she said. “In the future the survival of the fittest boils down to how do you fit as a part of the whole.”

Natural Healer Dr. Andrew Saul helped attendees gain a measure of control of their own health and wellness. “Natural healing is not about avoiding doctors, but finding ones who are open to medical alternatives.”

Haircolor Gamechanger David Adams demonstrated how to create a customized color experience for each and every client. “We need to give each customer color options and we need to make sure they have all the information upfront, such as how long is it going to take and what’s it going to cost.”

Leadership Compass Jackie Freiberg helped owners create places where best work can happen. “Leadership is about choosing to be comfortable in very awkward situations.”

Standup Philosopher Tim Freke closed the symposium by urging the audience to explore an alternative reality. “No one knows what will happen in 2012, but I do know one thing…Whatever happens, we need to bring love to it.”