In the years leading up to 2016, small businesses faced the changing times in a variety of ways. It took some time but we finally understand “the cloud,” technology is more affordable, minimum wage is increasing and mobile is a must-have.
No matter what type of small business – coffee shop or data shop – you’re looking to stay ahead of the competition. And even though we’re just a few weeks into 2016, trends are emerging and small business owners are beginning to act. As you’re planning for the year ahead, pay close attention to the following issues to adapt to and changes to adopt to ensure a successful 2016 and beyond.
- Roll out policy changes. During election years, little to no policy changes occur. That said, the best advice is to accept the status quo and ensure that you’re doing all you can to comply with recent labor laws. Stay ahead and know the laws that apply to your business and your employees.
- Take advantage of affordable technology. From devices to data storage, it’s more affordable than ever before to have access to more technology. Software automation platforms that once were only accessible to big business are within reach for small businesses – allowing you to reach new customers and clients through data based on online behaviors.
- Embrace the capabilities of the cloud. As millennials enter the world of small business ownership, they’re relying on the benefits of the cloud-based technology to help simplify their processes and streamline expenses. The current-day belief is that the more integrated with technology a company is, the more profitable they will become. Look for ways to make your practices more efficient by utilizing the cloud for business practices like accounting and collaboration tools.
- Make mobile a priority. If you didn’t get to this in 2015, it’s inexcusable to back-burner this in 2016. Your customer expects mobile optimization from your business. Focus resources towards faster page load times, mobile responsive websites and creating compelling, sharable content and offers geo- targeted to customers.
- Focus on security. As the focus on technology continues to rise, small businesses must do all they can to protect customer data from being compromised. Among the best practices to thwart a threat are training your team, monitoring for “inside jobs,” updating your security software and having strong, formal security procedures in place.
A crystal ball is never crystal clear, but there are ways to predict the direction the small business industry will move. With an intentional and strategic plan to get ahead in 2016 by incorporating practices that will soon become standard operating procedure soon, you’ll open yourself, your team and your business up to a world of opportunity.