When running your small business, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the day-to-day management that you miss some bigger opportunities to help you grow. Let’s discuss some major business trends companies should be aware of in 2018. We’ll divide them into Tech, Management, and Marketing.
1. Personal data security has become an important topic of discussion recently. With the misuse and overwhelming size of personal data that is floating around, it’s not surprising. It may not seem like a small business issue, but if you collect any personal information from your customers – you are responsible for handling it correctly. Making sure your websites are secure with SSL is a good place to start. Read our blog about SSL to learn more.
2. Cashless payment options are popping up almost everywhere we go. Millennials are carrying less cash and instead are relying on electronic forms of payment. The barriers to entry are low and the benefits can far outweigh the extra payment it might cost your business. If you can offer cashless payments – do it!
3. AI and VR (Augmented reality and Virtual reality) have quickly captured the attention of consumers who are eagerly awaiting the prices to drop. It may not be the right time to invest your company’s money, but keep your eyes on AI & VR. They are the next great platforms and getting on-board early could make all the difference.
4. Millennials currently make up more than a third of the workforce and they are rising into management level positions (the oldest being around 35 years of age). Countless studies have been done on the millennial worker – they prefer engaging and responsible companies who value teamwork and open communication. Soon Millennials will be managing Generation Z workers who are just now beginning to enter the workforce.
5. Remote offices are increasing at a rapid pace. Last year, 43% of employees in the US said they spent some time working from home. Not only are more people telecommuting, but they’re able to be more productive by trading in a long commute for more working hours. As more companies recognize this tradeoff, they will attract and retain talent by allowing their employees to work from home at least part time.
6. Micro-influencers have become the new norm for small businesses to reach highly targeted groups of buyers. A micro-influencer is someone with a growing following of people online because they are an expert in some area such as food, lifestyle, wellness and such. You’ll see them on social media with a very engaged following of fans. With 700 million people scrolling through their phones, partnering with the right micro-influencer for your brand could prove a worthy effort.
7. Social shopping will continue to grow with apps like Instagram offering options to tag products on posts. Sync your Facebook shop with your Instagram account and tag your products in any pictures you post for more exposure. Brands using social media to generate new leads and boost sales is a fast-growing trend.
8. Live video content is a great way to build engagement with your audience and capture their attention while they’re online. Make sure to post reminders of when you’ll be going live so your audience can join you in real time. Try writing a general script with major points to make sure you stay on track while talking.