Whether you’re a longtime business owner and entrepreneur or just getting in the game, it’s always wise to stay on top of the latest trends and potentials. The following are seven of the most important small business trends to watch for and benefit from in 2018 and beyond:
1. Highly Personalized Marketing
The Internet and social media have facilitated increasingly personalized marketing approaches. Instead of the “one-way street” of days gone by, it is possible to engage with your customers in a more intimate way than ever before. Business owners will seek ways to capitalize on the possibilities offered by technology and the world wide web.
2. More Integrated Social Media Strategies
Due to the effectiveness of social media as a marketing, branding and recruiting tool, there will be an increased emphasis on making the very most of these tools. Connecting social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn with web content and other aspects of an online presence will ensure consistency, highly effective branding and maximum engagement with customers.
3. Higher Quality, More Personalized Web Content
Hand in hand with personalized advertising and marketing is the trend toward web content that adds more value than ever before. Small business must stay vigilant about trends in their industries as well as aware of what their competitors are doing. This will facilitate deeper insights into how they can better serve current and potential future customers.
4. Increased Security Concerns
The Internet of Things and increased interconnectedness are bringing more efficiency to the workplace; however, they will also open up small businesses to more cyber attacks. There will be an estimated 20 billion connected devices by the year 2020. The tools within the IoT and IT infrastructures can all be hacked, so an added layer of security will be required to ensure safety of your data, customer information, intellectual property, financial details and other sensitive information.
5. The Evolution of the Cloud
“The cloud” was a buzzword of the past decade. Going forward, businesses will shift toward the next trend in IT: micro services. This refers to a process of segmenting their IT processes and scaling their storage and usage needs to smaller applications. This makes the entire system more flexible and efficient.
6. The Influence of AI
The algorithm in computing has changed the way we live and the way business is conducted. Artificial intelligence is informing decision making on a small as well as a large scale, making life easier and streamlining business processes. Going forward, AI will assist in scheduling, finding new clients, improving customer service and streamlining efficiencies in all areas of business.
7. Less Reliance on a Physical Workplace
The trend toward telecommuting or working out in the field will continue for 2018, with an increasing number of workers demanding this option as part of their hiring package. This will in turn reduce employer costs for leasing and maintaining a physical work space.
The pace of change in small business and entrepreneurship is faster than ever before. Stay on top of the latest trends and consider how your enterprise might benefit from these developments in the business world.
“Remember, wealth has nothing to do with money, success has everything to do with failure, and life is as simple as you make it!” – John Dessauer