The U.S. Supreme Court just made a major decision to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry throughout the country.

It is pretty big news here in the U.S. 

Most people I know personally are pretty happy and celebrating. Some are really disappointed. What’s no longer up for dispute is that gay marriages will now be happening a lot more often.

What hasn’t yet been discussed is the market opportunity such a change (or any change of this magnitude) creates.

In my consulting work, I’m often asked how I sometimes seem to be able to “see around corners” to anticipate future customer or competitive actions. It’s not magic. It takes some common sense, a bit of logic, and some extrapolation.

For example, now that gay marriage is legal through the United States, it’s reasonable to anticipate that there will be more of them.

This means there will be more gay weddings, gay marriages, gay adoptions, gay marriages in trouble, and gay divorces.

Over time, there will likely be a major structural increase in demand across all things related to the intersection of marriage and people who are gay / lesbian.

The second order implication of this is that there’s an opportunity for service providers to fill that demand.

Here’s a laundry list of opportunities that come to mind:

  • Wedding coordinators that specialize in gay/lesbian weddings
  • Wedding registries for gay/lesbian couples
  • Adoption services for gay/lesbian couples
  • Marriage counseling for gay/lesbian couples
  • Divorce attorneys for gay/lesbian couples
  • Burial plots for gay/lesbian couples

I know, I’m probably such a cynic.

Everybody is celebrating love and weddings, and here I am doing the math…

Well if there are 1 million more gay/lesbian weddings each year, and we assume the divorce rate for gay couples is similar to straight couples (yes, I am doing an estimation exercise), that means that eventually there will be 500,000 more gay divorces each year.

Now I don’t know the markets that I listed above very well. It may very well be that such service providers already exist in states where gay marriage was already legal. Maybe the fact that it’s legal across all of the United States doesn’t really change the number of gay/lesbian marriages in some states.

My point isn’t to predict future market trends, but rather to illustrate how one can look at change — any kind of change (legal, regulatory, social, cultural) — and start noticing the ripple effects of these changes.

If I had clients in these fields, I would be advising them today to investigate these opportunities further.

Stock market investors often say “The Trend is Your Friend.”

That may not be true all of the time. But what is true is that if you learn to notice the trend and thinking ahead a little, you can have an advantage.

This is true whether we’re talking about your clients, your employers, your career or your personal life. Every aspect of your life is subject to trends and outside forces. Learn to notice them and the direction they’re heading in… and if it’s appropriate for your situation to get slightly ahead of them.

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