Small Business Trends You Should be Aware of In 2016
It’s no secret that running a small business can be difficult. In addition to building a team, a company, and a brand, entrepreneurs need to know how to expand while adapting to the changing world around them. While many fundamental principles stay the same (e.g. working hard, providing great customer service, etc.) it’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends in order to be prepared.
MSNBC recently highlighted five trends experts predict will affect small businesses in 2016. The first is unwelcomed news — cyber attacks against small businesses are expected to increase. Because of this it’s more important than ever for businesses to take a closer look at their cyber security. To protect your company from these attacks, be sure to familiarize yourself and your team with what threats exists and how to spot suspicious e-mails or files that could infect your system.
Next on the list is the rising popularity of mobile devices. As more consumers spend time on their phones there are more opportunities for local businesses to attract shoppers using mobile ads. Some popular options are launching demographic-based ads on social networks like Facebook or running search ads on Google. It’s also important to ensure that your website not only displays well on mobile but also functions well. For example you may want to redesign your mobile site so it’s easier for potential customers to find your location and your hours of operation.
While mobile marketing is a great tool for getting customers in the door, your efforts don’t have to stop there. One technology that’s taken off in recent years involves the use of beacons. These small devices have the ability to send shoppers coupons or special offers on their phones while they are in your store or close to it, which can help drive sales.
With events like Small Business Saturday, supporting local businesses has actually been a growing trend as many consumers have the desire to be a positive force in their communities. Likewise shoppers prefer businesses that give back and have a sense of social responsibility. Think of how your small business could be either giving back to the community or doing good in the rest of the world — you’ll likely be rewarded with loyal customers who also want to help.
Just as shoppers like to feel like they’re a part of something greater, so do employees. There is a growing need for companies to be collaborative and listen to the ideas of their team. Doing so could help you expand your business in ways you never thought about. While you should have no obligation to act on every idea presented, getting your team to care about the business and feeling free to make suggestions will create a positive culture that will also extend to your customers.
Making 2016 a Successful Business Year
A lot of trends will come and go, but what consumers love most about small businesses is the great and personal service they receive. In a way everything on this list comes down to service — tightening cyber security will protect customers’ information, using mobile marketing will not only help bring people to your store but can also help you receive feedback from shoppers, and growing a strong, motivated team will ensure your guests are truly taken care of. Overall if your small business is willing to listen to what customers want and give it to them, you’ll have a great 2016 and beyond.