2016 was an eventful year to say the least. The presidential election in the U.S. brought in a new leader in Washington and with him a very different approach to government policy and Business regulation. Donald Trump has already started to make his presence felt in the first week. If that is any indication 2017 will be an eventful year for small Businesses for sure.
As a small business owner it behooves you keep an eye on the trends that will impact your business. Not only will it help you avoid getting into trouble, but also position your business for the future growth. So what trends do we expect to see in 2017? Here are the top 10 from my viewpoint.
- More solution-specific businesses
Targeting a more specific audience will put small businesses on the map. To compete with others on the Market, niche businesses can reach greater success by solving a unique problem and providing a solution that addresses its roots.
- Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is transforming how business is done across all industries. Small businesses can gain a competitive edge by incorporating different types of artificial intelligence technologies into their business practices.
- Cloud computing
A lot of companies, especially the ones with important and sensitive data, are switching to the cloud as a more secure and safe option. So many in fact, that there are actually more job openings than there are people with adequate expertise to fill in those openings. A good solution for small businesses, since even some bigger ones are struggling in this field, could be to provide the necessary training to the technicians they already have. There are companies, like the CloudAcademy, which offer just that – cloud training, courses and certification.
- Overtime regulations
Due to government regulations, small businesses in 2017 will prepare for the new overtime regulations. Proper classification of employees and ensuring all paperwork is filed appropriately is key, even if the regulations do not get pushed through.
- Strong e-commerce presence
To meet the demands of consumers and businesses to shop anywhere and at any time, e-commerce has gained massive popularity. Whether it is how you sell your products/services online, or keeping an eye out for new e-commerce startups on the market, knowing what is available is always valuable.
- Sales via social media
In addition to building awareness, small businesses can use social media to sell products/services online. Since resources can sometimes be limited, third party apps and social media platforms, like Facebook or Instagram, can often facilitate sales.
With the current state of the housing market, the market is unable to keep up with buyer demand. To make the best use of what is already available on the market, flipping homes has once again become popular. For companies specializing in house-flipping, credit line extensions and other financial support is being lent from banks to support small businesses and keep the house market strong.
- Sustainable options
To support sustainable living, businesses already on the market have worked with consumers to provide green options for their homes. The demand for solar roofs was met, and in 2017, other options to support a green lifestyle will be made available for consumers as well as for businesses to save money and hopefully benefit the environment.
- Stronger presence of millennials
Millennial now represent a large segment of the workforce and are known for chasing company culture. To attract and retain millennial talent, businesses will need to focus on creating a workplace culture that appeals to all of those in the workforce.
- Connect with customers by disconnecting digitally
Though global digitization has made connecting online easy, it has also changed how people, customers included, prioritize personal connection offline. It is important for businesses and all employees to learn how to connect both online and offline with customers so connections develop and stay strong.
Though technology and industry trends constantly change, the appeal of an adaptive and collaborative workplace will most likely stick around. Small businesses, keep an eye on these trends for 2017!