As a small business owner, you should always pay close attention to the business trends that could impact your business revenues. Some trends may bring more business to your door while other trends may not be that beneficial. However, knowing the trends is always a great way to keep up with the industry and what influences customers.
2018 Business Trends That May Impact Your Small Business
- Independent Contractors and Telecommuting
Telecommuting has been a growing trend for some time. Many companies hire employees who work from home full-time. The employees only come into the office periodically. Telecommuting can save money for employers by reducing the cost of providing space and equipment for in-house employees.
However, a growing trend for 2018 is the use of a flexible workforce of independent contractors. Employers are discovering they can save even more money by utilizing on-demand workers to complete specific projects or handle overflow when business picks up. Because these individuals are not employees, you can reduce payroll taxes and benefits while increasing and decreasing your workforce based on demand.
- Methods of Payment
We have been moving toward a cashless society for decades. That business trend will continue and grow in 2018 and beyond. Many people do not even have checks for their bank accounts because they use debit cards or credit cards for all purchases. However, you will see a growing number of your customers requesting digital payments instead of plastic payments.
Digital payments such as GoPayment, Apple Pay, and Square will become more popular. As a small business owner, you need to do your research and get on board, or you could lose customers to companies that offer digital payment options.
- Use of Artificial Intelligence in Small Businesses
Artificial Intelligence(AI) is no longer only for huge corporations and government agencies. AI is being used in small businesses throughout the United States. From customer service solutions to marketing systems, AI is becoming a beneficial tool for many small businesses. During 2018 and beyond, the use of AI in many industries is expected to increase.
- Niche or Specialty Products and Markets
From microbreweries and all-cold food restaurants to nothing over $5 jewelry start-ups, niche businesses are picking up steam. Small businesses can stand out from the rest of the crowd by offering a specialty product or niche brand. Taking advantage of a specialty market and targeting “niche friendly” Millennials may be one of the biggest trends in business for 2018.
- Crisis Planning and Preparedness
It is essential that small businesses have a crisis plan and invest time in crisis preparedness. With the number of disasters occurring throughout the United States from floods and hurricanes to wildfires and other disasters, small businesses that are not prepared for a crisis may never reopen. Many small businesses will begin investing in disaster planning and preparedness in 2018 and beyond.
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