Running a small business requires entrepreneurs to put on different hats and deal with a variety of business functions. These include, for example, financial management, marketing, sales, personnel management and product development.
But you also must keep a watchful eye on trends. They can change the way your company operates. As a result, powerful marketplace trends can jeopardize your entire organization.
Fortunately, technology has arrived to ease the burden brought about by these challenges. Check out these seven trends that are bound to impact small businesses in 2020. And see these seven tools to help you to meet the challenge that each trend poses.
2020 Business Challenges
1. Cyberattacks Continue to Run Rampant
Cyberattacks comtinue to increase. In January 2019 alone, attacks resulted in over 1.7 billion records being leaked in various data breach incidents.
Hackers now target small businesses as well. As a result, most small business security measures no longer suffice. So an attack can prove devastating to SMBs. For example, 60 percent of small businesses that fall victim to security breaches go out of business within six months.
How can SMBs react: Reason Cybersecurity recently unveiled Reason for Business. The company tailored this cybersecurity solution for small businesses. Reason protects workstation and endpoints by offering standard anti-malware and antivirus features. For example, it features real-time protection and threat removal. This week, the company issued its recent threat analysis report.
The company’s new tool features ransomware protection. This blocks encryption attempts from successful execution. The solution also offers camera and microphone protection to guard user privacy. These essential capabilities combat modern cyberthreats many small businesses typically face.
2. Consumers Look for Engaging Content on Social Media
Customers are constantly looking for interesting content on social media. Stories on Facebook and Instagram are among the biggest trends in social media marketing today.
Individuals and organizations are also now using stories in publishing their campaigns and promotions and increase their traffic. In just two years, there are now about 500 million people who use Facebook Stories.
How can SMBs react: StoryBoost is an app that can help small businesses create excellent stories for different social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It contains over 1,000 templates that can be customized with animated text, stickers, and filters.
Using these elements, small businesses can easily create engaging visual narratives that promote their brands, products, and services, all from their mobile smartphones. The app is part of the BoostApps suite, which helps small businesses and entrepreneurs create compelling social media content.
3. Stakeholders Want to Be Educated
People now thrive on information so small businesses must be able to effectively educate their stakeholders to keep them engaged. Prospective clients will do plenty of research on the web before availing products or services.
As such, companies must be able to educate clients in engaging ways. Internally, small businesses should also be able to effectively pass on information between management and staff through reports that are easy to understand.
How can SMBs react: Piktochart allows small businesses to create visual content such as reports, infographics, and presentations using templates and a simple drag and drop interface.
Users can create interactive maps that compare data between regions and engaging charts and graphs that can be used to communicate ideas better than straightforward numbers and statistics.
4. Distributed Teams Require Collaborative Task Management
Small businesses can now tap into a global workforce thanks to the rise of freelancing worldwide. In the US, 35% of workers took on freelance jobs in 2018. Lower costs of living in some regions allow freelancers to make their services available at more affordable rates.
As a result, small businesses can leverage the availability of these professionals. However, distributed teams can be quite challenging to manage.
How can SMBs react: Todoist is a cloud-based platform that can help SMBs regulate their team’s workflow, manage projects, and track deliverables.
Using Todoist, managers can easily create projects, assign members, and set due dates to ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page. All members of the team can easily share files and discuss the details of a project within the platform. Members are also notified about upcoming projects, overdue tasks, and changes to the project.
5. People Want to Do Business with Thought Leaders
Maintaining a strong digital presence should be a top priority for small businesses. This is the case when it comes to the company’s brand as well as the personal brands of its executive leaders. Today’s customers want to transact with businesses that not only have attractive and functional online channels but are also led and managed by reputable and knowledgable leaders.
Consumers put a premium on industry and thought leadership. They try to determine whether the company they’re working with has a true visionary at the helm. All this happens before they commit to a purchase. You see this especially in the B2B service sphere. As a result, relationships are built on trust in niche expertise.
As such, entrepreneurs must leverage their expertise and know-how in their specific verticals to help establish a connection with buyers. You need a website that’s able to promote your strong professional brand and that makes the case for your relevant knowhow with compelling media experiences.
How can SMBs react: Kajabi helps business leaders to instantly create full-featured websites with strong branding elements. Its platform has a simple drag and drop interface which allows users to make professional websites without prior coding knowledge.
The platform supports blog creation and ensures SEO optimization. As a result, it allows executive leaders to create and publish helpful content in online course formats that are perfect for showcasing expertise. Integrated tools for landing pages, automated cross-channel lead nurture and contact management make it easy for leaders to turn their personal brands into self-qualified customers for the company.
6. Customers Demand Fast Responses to Inquiries and Concerns
Small businesses must be able to maximize opportunities to convert leads into sales.
Companies typically only have five minutes to reply to inquiries or else the chances of getting in touch with a prospect drastically decrease. Active support channels allow companies to instantly answer inquiries and engage customers. For example, live chat offers an excellent option here.
How can SMBs react: Happyfox offers helpdesk service and a live chat integration. These help companies in various business functions. For example, customer support, lead generation, and sales.
Through the service, customer support teams can quickly answer inquiries. They simply click from a list of ready-made answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs). The tool also sends automated personalized messages to customers. As a result, it allows even smaller support teams to do more.
Small businesses should turn to digital tools to overcome common business obstacles. These tools help them be competitive in today’s landscape. The strategic adoption of innovative tools helps grow the business. But it also minimizes the impact of growing pains. All companies go through these pains. And all face the prevailing trends that can affect their respective businesses.