The small business sector has changed drastically from two or three decades ago. But these changes did not just happen over night. Small business trends slowly shifted year to year, creating the business environment that we have today.
It’s an environment marked by technology, engagement, new products, new marketing techniques and more.
We may not be in the business of making industry predictions. But we are interested in helping you and your small business succeed as we all move into 2018. With this in mind, we want to present some of the most valuable insights that we have found in research small business trends and predictions for next year.
Trend #1: The Focus Will Increasingly Be on Connection
With millennials on track to spend almost $1.5 trillion in 2020, small businesses will need to focus on how to connect with this large market share.
In a phrase, the glitzy advertising of the early part of this century will not work. Today, many potential customers are looking for a connection with the companies that they do business with. This is doubly true for small businesses.
Instead of making sales pitches, small businesses in 2018 will have to figure out how to start connecting with their potential customers. Whether that’s personalized newsletters, an engaging website, or targeted Facebook ads depends on who you are and what you do. Just make sure that it connects.
Trend #2: The Demand for Local Products and Services Will Grow
Even in the face of increased globalization, there has been a recent pushback against outsourced services and imported products. This places small businesses at a great advantage in the market.
As a small business, your goods or services are almost certainly local. In 2018, you should take advantage of that by truly ‘going local’. With local produce and ‘farm to table’ becoming increasingly popular, small businesses in other industries can take a similar approach with their customers.
The key here is to show your local community that you both understand and care about their needs. Many small businesses are successful because they show their community that they want to be part of something outside of simply day-to-day business exchanges.
Trend #3: Remote Work Will Become More of an Option – Even for Small Businesses
It’s hard to imagine a business world that is completely free of front offices – especially for small businesses. But there is no question that remote work is becoming increasingly common for enterprises of all sizes.
In fact, 4 out of 10 American workers do at least some portion of their work from home. This opens up an opportunity for small business owners and managers.
Depending on the focus of your company, you can make it more efficient and your employees happier by employing some kind of remote option. The idea is to give more trust and responsibility to your employees. In turn, this should make them more productive.
This also holds a benefit for you as the small business owner. Remote work allows you to broaden your potential talent pool. This opens up the opportunity to outsource anything from accounting to web design.