2018 Trends in Small Business

As one of the top business resources in your community, it’s likely people look to your chamber and staff for advice and innovation. This time of year they may even be wondering about 2018 trends in small business. While it’s not completely incumbent upon you to tell your members where the climate of business will take them, it does help them to prepare for what could be.

Big Trends in Small Business

Some trends are led by innovation, others by fear. Here’s what we see as important information to know on the horizon.

  • Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity will continue to be a major concern for all of us who operate on the interwebs. As people continue to use their own device and work outside of the office on a variety of networks and then return to home base, you can assume the potential of security issues will increase. Here’s a self-paced training exercise on the topic from the Small Business Administration. Another big topic in this area: net neutrality.
  • Chatbots. So many of us hate to wait in a queue for customer service or sales answers. In a sales situation, a wait for an answer could jeopardize the sale itself. Sometimes the wait just isn’t worth it. With chatbots, people can get their questions answered when they need them most, even if the office isn’t open. A lot of small businesses have ignored this technology because they think it’s only for Fortune 500 companies. But the tech is actually relatively easy to implement through Facebook Messenger.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure. If you’re a Gen Xer, you likely grew up with these books. This series allowed the reader to make their own decisions and pick their own ending. Business is becoming a lot like that too. A one-size solution is no longer palatable and consumers are getting used to “having it their way.” Innovative businesses should be looking for areas in which they could implement personalization. They should already be doing it in their marketing.

There are many other trends we could be talking about in 2018 but most of them focus around putting the customer first and humanizing the business. Amazon and Google home assistant devices are going to have a huge influence on how consumers expect to get their answers and needs met (and you can bet there were a ton sold this holiday season because the tech is extremely affordable). If you’re not keeping up with what that could mean for business, you have some reading/researching to do in the new year.

On a good note, fidget spinners are on their way out.

By: Christina R. Green