New Year New Biz: What Will 2018 Look Like For Small Business Owners?
Adapting to the changing demands of running a small business will be essential for survival in 2018.
Regardless of where you’re at now as a business, 2018 is already shaping up to be a year of transformation. In particular, expect increasing levels of competitiveness.
As it’s never been easier to start your enterprise, standing out from the crowd will be a priority so that your business doesn’t get lost in the crowd of burgeoning startups.
Here are some essential business considerations for 2018 to get excited about, and read our previous post on how not to get derailed by life’s surprising twists and turns.
From an online perspective, shore up your customer acquisition funnels by ensuring your mobile website is super user-friendly.
The process of mobile-friendly design and content goes far beyond auto-generating a website that’s compatible with smaller devices.
Brands who are making the most of the mobile shopping experience will see continued success in the years to come.
The mobile market is a great opportunity for more agile, smaller businesses to successfully compete with the big clunky retail giants.
Millennial Working Practices
The millennial generation surpass the number of baby boomers in the US workplace. Therefore, daily working schedules and ways of working are set to shift over the next few years.
Millennials prefer flexible working hours, where time can be made up and accrued. They may also prefer working remotely from their homes or the local coffee shop. Smartphone bans, in particular, are becoming a thing of the past in office environments. Integrate cloud technology to allow easy sharing from any device and ready yourself for flexible working practices.
Business owners should be finding new ways of enabling employees to learn new skills while they’re working for you. It will help keep the new generation of workers interested and loyal.
Machine Learning Enters The Mainstream
There are numerous ways that new technology can benefit small businesses, so don’t be afraid of exploring a few fresh options. Even if they seem a bit far-fetched now, this sort of technology will quickly become mainstream…
- A.I chatbots have seen a surge in popularity over the past year. From a customer service standpoint, a messenger bot can act as a 24/7 sales assistant, and is the ideal way for a small business to serve customers without the need for a call center.
- Products like Cortana and Alexa have endless applications within the small business office. With specialist software, voice commands can be used to schedule calendars, send email, and even track customer orders.
- If you are looking for help and advice on things like marketing, you can also find virtual assistants that test and create social ads. Automating everything from your email newsletters to your Instagram posts can help you keep up with the increasing demands of social media management.
Social Media Development
The demand to dominate on social media is set to intensify in 2018.
With the rise of the trust economy, businesses large and small are looking to generate online traction through conversations on social media.
Tracking your social mentions with a tool like Hootsuite will help you find the subjects your customers care about. With this information, many businesses are adding value to consumers’ lives by maximizing their industry expertise.
Partnerships with ecommerce hosts now allow brands to sell directly from their social platforms in a seamless way. Whether you’re experimenting with Shoppable Pins or Instagram Galleries, change your thinking regarding social media investment. It’s not just somewhere you go to share content and pictures — it’s a place for making genuine customer encounters, pushing sales, and for servicing your existing customer base.
Social media influencer marketing and user-generated campaigns bring in both B2B and B2C opportunities. Capturing the taste-makers’ attention will give you more chances to showcase what a small business can offer that a large conglomeration never could.
Revenue Stream Diversification
Small businesses should be constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to diversify revenue streams, increase customer lifetime value, and generally think ahead from a financial perspective. Rather than spend money on product development or capturing new customers, hone in on what you’ve already got…and make the most of it.
Productization is a savvy way to make the most of existing company assets, expertise, or services. Online, you can use principles of psychology to inch customers towards a shopping cart and purchase decision. Ebooks, training courses, learner packages, worksheets, magazines, consultancy packages,and online courses are all things that you can sell online that are easy and painless to create. Even if you haven’t used ecommerce models before, it’s easy to build your own store, or alternatively find an expert to do it for you.
As well as ecommerce, small businesses may want to look into co-marketing agreements, sponsorships, and crowdsourcing as ways of reaching a wider audience and generating bigger company profits in 2018.
Small businesses will see significant transformations in the next year or two. The outlook is generally rosy for anyone looking to make a start on their own, but it’s important to never get complacent.
If you are looking to take the step into self-employment, or you are looking to incorporate your business, start your research today and pay close attention to your top industry competitors.
Victoria Greene is a writer and brand consultant. Her blog, Victoriaecommerce, is packed with tips for small business owners looking to turn over a new leaf for 2018. Big advocate of customer experience marketing.
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