Most of us don’t have time to sift through all the latest gadgets and technologies hitting the marketplace. Yet, we don’t want to fall behind our competitors because we’ve grown too accustomed to our old school ways of doing business.
As we move forward in 2015, pay attention to these top 10 trends. These trends in technology, financing, social media and consumer behavior are expected to make the biggest impact on the future of small business.
1. Cybersecurity is a growing necessity. It’s more common than ever for businesses to become a victim of cyber-criminals. According to McAffee, 60 percent of all cybercrime is now directed at small businesses.
2. P2P, or Peer to Peer, is the new B2B. The new sharing economy, made popular by Uber and Airbnb is becoming the norm. Why buy when you can rent goods, products and services from someone else rather than a business? Ask yourself how your business will compete in this new economy.
3. More efficient ways to complete tasks. Compared to a decade ago, more entrepreneurs are using freelancers, cloud-based solutions, or apps to accomplish work-related tasks. It’s time to discover which tools work best for your type of business and take advantage of these.
4. Big data or the Internet of Things is going to take off. More small businesses will have access to more data than ever before. It’s time for you to discover how your business can benefit from using big data.
5. Crowdfunding is poised for growth. If the rules of the new federal JOBS Act are finalized by the SEC, this may allow sites to solicit non-accredited investors with a lower net worth compared to the current equity crowd funding participants.
6. New payment methods will become standard. Mobile payment methods, like Apple Pay, make customer payment easier. More and more, people are preferring to pay using their smartphones.
7. Responsive mobile optimization is a must. Mobile device usage is growing by leaps and bounds, including purchases and other transactions. If your website isn’t mobile, you’re missing out.
8. Online reviews matter and influence buying decisions. Small businesses should be found on local directories like Yelp, Angie’s list and Yahoo Local. Monitor your company page on these sites regularly and study what customers are writing about your business.
9. Choose the social media that’s right for your business. Social media is a great way to drive traffic to your website. Get to know your target audience and the social media platforms they engage on the most. It’s not one size fits all when it comes to social media.
10. Discover new technology and grow. Continue to seek and adopt new technologies for improving your business. Make good use of these new technologies to improve efficiency and stay competitive. Stay connected with the latest trends in the business technology world. Sites like Mashable and TechRepublic are great places to start.
“Every time you blink a new platform or device appears on the horizon. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the technology changes happening today.”