Warning: These 13 Trends Will Change the Way You Do Business

13 Trends in Small Business Operations That Will Change the Way You Do Business

Each new year brings a wave of new trends that decidedly impact your business operations for the better. Whether it’s new technological advances to integrate or different ways to streamline your business performance, these trends can help shape how your company operates in 2018 and make a difference in the revenue you bring in. That’s why we asked 13 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

“What trends are you predicting will gain traction and alter the way you do business in 2018? How are you preparing for this?”

Trends in Small Business Operations

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Tech Takeover

The world is moving at a rapid pace. Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, and even robotics are slowly eliminating business and revolutionizing the path ahead. Due to this, we have surrounded ourselves with software developers and tech entrepreneurs to guide and advise us on the coming changes. – Engelo Rumora, List’n Sell Realty

2. Longer Meta Data

Google is slowly revising the way it indexes information, and employing longer character limits for meta data. If formally announced, it will drastically alter the SEO landscape. I launched a new division of my business well in advance of these noticeable changes toward long-form content creation, to make my business more competitive in response to the new digital landscape. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

3. Personalized Marketing via AI

The idea of one-to-one marketing, and “personalization at scale” is now a reality through AI technology. Brands can now identify and target consumers that resonate with their brand, and then deliver relevant and personalized content across marketing channels, with prescriptive analytics, not just predictive. I am exploring various options since the pricing is now reasonable for SMBs. – Justin Casale-Savage, Savage Advisory

4. More Focus on Education-Based Marketing

More and more people are realizing that you need to educate clients before they buy from you. The most ideal customers are educated customers. You will see more companies creating courses and using AI to engage prospects before they buy. Adding value to your clients and prospects with education is the best way to build trust. We are building our own, called B2Bx. – Joe Apfelbaum, Ajax Union

5. Rise of Augmented Reality

Savvy marketers already know that visual communication is essential in any campaign; after all, 91 percent of consumers prefer visual content. But new visual mediums are popping up at a growing pace, and keeping up isn’t easy. While virtual reality won’t yet be key for reaching customers in 2018 because of its price point and low circulation, augmented reality will be on the rise. – Amy Balliett, Killer Infographics

6. Shift Back to Human Interaction

Society is growing weary of the robots and automations, and we need to shift our focus back to building relationships with consumers through real human interaction. As a service-based business, we’ve seen a major uplift in conversions by communicating with our customers through text. We plan to build on this strategy to build more impactful dialogues with our customers in 2018. – Scott Baxter, PlayYourCourse

7. New Algorithms

Not to be confused with net neutrality, although this will affect us later. New algorithms will hurt digital businesses that do outreach through their social channels. For instance, of the 16,500 followers we have on Instagram, only 2,000 impressions are garnered on average. Meaning our post isn’t shared with every one of our followers. To counteract, we plan on creating and sharing more content! – Andrew Namminga, Andesign

8. Fallout from Net Neutrality

While the ultimate resolution to the debate over net neutrality is yet to be seen, law firms and entrepreneurs alike will be struggling to understand how changes to internet access will impact the marketing strategies and visibility of various internet properties. This will be particularly disruptive for smaller e-commerce companies and service providers. – Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP

9. Mobile Growth

Although mobile has been a growing trend the last few years, we’ll see an increase in consumers using smartphones to shop and consume content easily and effortlessly. We’ll also see Google launch a mobile-prioritization algorithm. To prepare for this, we’ve created mobile-friendly versions of all our web properties, so our readers and customers can shop and read on their phones. – Kristin Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC

10. 360-Degree Videos

As more and more creators start adding video to their strategy, brands will want to differentiate themselves from all the videos out there. One way to do this will be through 360-degree videos. The videos will make the viewers feel even more connected to the brand, and if they have VR, they will feel like they are there. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

11. Voice Technology on the Rise

Smart home technology is exploding to the point that my children scream demands from all rooms of the house, expecting the house to hear them and answer back or perform some task based on their demands. This core consumer behavioral shift matched with the ability to passively interact with voice technology will change everything. Next year will be a huge year for voice. – Anthony Johnson, Attorney Group

12. Live Chat Customer Support Will Be the Norm

If we learned anything in 2017, it’s that the customer has the buying power. The shift to inbound marketing has brought customers to our door, and they expect to connect with a human on the other side, to answer questions in real time. Businesses that don’t offer live chat support will get left in the dust. – Ben Jabbawy, Privy

13. More Outsourcing of Accounting Activities

The trend to outsource accounting has grown significantly in the past few years, and is expected to double during the next couple of years. We plan on acquiring another 100 clients in 2018, which means we need to hire another 30 employees to keep up with demand! We have completely redesigned our QC program, and have many checks and balances put into place to ensure every client is extremely pleased! – Jennifer Barnes, Pro Back Office, LLC

Photo via Shutterstock

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.