The only way to make your business successful is by staying on top of trends in your industry. These tend to come and go pretty fast, and they are mostly about two things – making the customer experience better, and using new technology to save money and make your business more automated.
These will dominate business planning in 2018 as well, but that doesn’t mean that everything will stay the same. Technology is going to change every aspect of running a business from planning to customer interaction, so businesses need to think fast about adopting it. At the same time, customers are always going to expect more and more, and you need to keep up with their needs.
Finding the funds to start a business is becoming increasingly difficult on its own. The banks are reluctant to help startups because the market is saturated with them, and paying back loans can really drain a small business.
The following year, we are going to see a rise in micro-financing and peer to peer lending, where individuals finance the businesses themselves, without a need for banks and financial institutions.
The rise of outsourcing has begun long ago and it has changed the way businesses are set up. Traditional offices have become a thing of the past because most of the work can be done from a computer or a mobile device. This trend is going to spread further, even to businesses with local employees.
This will save money because finding and maintaining an office is pretty expensive and a lot of small businesses end up wasting most of their budget on it. The actual work will be done from home, while meetings could be held in a rented office.
Businesses need to find more than one source of revenue if they want to avoid risks and make sure they will be able to go through a rough patch (and there are going to be rough patches). That’s why a lot of businesses plan to diversify their products and dedicate resources to finding new clients.
One of the ways this will happen is probably by B2B services, with companies providing some products to the clients directly, and others to their competitors in the industry. That way there’s always going to be another stream of income to fall back on.
Security has been on everyone’s mind for a while now since having a good security system shows how seriously you take your business and puts your customers at ease. This concerns both the physical premises of your company and online security as well, which is where most of the work takes place.
The advancements in technology are driving these changes. Every company needs to buy a few security cameras, an alarm system, and ALPR system. These are especially important for retail businesses that have to deal with a lot of customers every day.
It’s clear that small businesses need to invest in their marketing campaigns as much as big ones because the competition is tough. A business needs to fight for every customer and not just in terms of getting them into the store or office. It’s important to create a community around your brand that will keep the clients coming.
Marketing campaigns of 2018 are going to focus on videos because this format is the most popular with younger audiences. User-made videos are going to be especially prevalent since they provide a sense of authenticity to the campaign.
Automation is one of the biggest new trends, and also the most worrisome for a lot of businesses. It’s going to change the way we work, thus making a lot of current jobs obsolete. For the companies, this could mean saving money, while workers could have a chance to upgrade their skills and find jobs suited to them.
When people talk about automation they usually think of self-driving cars and the like, but it’s about more than just that. Marketing and customer services will be the first to change in this fashion because they could benefit from all the data businesses are collecting on their users.
In the end, taxes are what worries small businesses the most, as they usually have a hard time dealing with the competition during their first years, and the government takes quite a big chunk of their revenue. Make changes in these policies that are planned for 2018 will affect small companies quite significantly, especially those working in the digital industry.
The first major change will concern the rules about paying for overtime and paying taxes on those bonuses. The second change is about sale taxes, and how they apply to digital transactions and services. It’s important to discuss these with your tax lawyer.
These trends will affect your business the most in 2018. Keep in mind that trends often tend to change and that customers will stay loyal if your product is good.