The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Trends: 2020 & Beyond
Because 67 percent of small businesses expect their revenue to grow throughout the remainder of the year, the outlook of small businesses looks promising. However, 2019 is already halfway over, and you should start planning and considering the strategies you’ll use next year.
In this post, we’ll reveal the top eight emerging trends that small business owners like you should pay attention to and explain how these trends can help you grow.
The Top 8 Upcoming Small Business Trends:
1. Automation Software Is Leveling the Playing Field
Although automation technology is still evolving, it’s becoming increasingly popular to small business owners. Whether it’s for accounting, data entry, email marketing, customer service, or any number of business processes, entrepreneurs are achieving more with less, thanks to automation. In addition to these benefits, automation could even create 58 million new jobs by 2022!
Artificial intelligence (ai) and other automated technologies might seem too “big” for your business but investing in them could help you simplify intensive processes and grow your business’s sales. The possibilities are endless!
2. Remote Work Will Become the New Norm
In the past, business owners and managers believed that if their employees weren’t working from their business location, they weren’t being productive. But research shows it’s quite the opposite. A nearly two-year Stanford study proved that remote employees put in a full day’s work or more! Instead of being distracted or unproductive, they put in more work, and they don’t have to waste time commuting to the office.
If you want to be a competitive employer, you should allow your employees to work from home at least a few days a week. This flexible, understanding work will help you both save costs; you’ll spend less money on operational expenses like water and electricity, and they’ll save on their commute. By doing this, you’ll have a happier, and more productive work environment!
3. Go Cash-Free
In 2020, starting a small business will be more affordable than ever. Smaller and smarter systems and manufacturing methods will reduce the costs of running a business. So, if you haven’t started your venture yet, now may be the time to do it.
Even in areas where business infrastructure costs don’t decline, technology accessibility will increase. Plug-and-play features and a variable-cost basis will provide affordable access to large-scale business infrastructures, even for small firms.
4. Women in Business Will Thrive
It’s an exciting time to be a woman in business! More women are taking on leadership roles, and the gender gap in earnings have narrowed significantly over the past decade. In fact, this gap is expected to close in by 2020.
Another way that women in business are flourishing is their commitment to education. They are entering and graduating from college at a higher rate than men and are expected to have an increasing presence in the health, education, and service sectors in the coming years.
5. Social Media Marketing Experts Will Be Key
Per a survey from Clutch, more than 70 percent of small businesses used social media in 2018, and that number is expected to grow over the next few years. Due to this it’s crucial that your business is active on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
In addition to your independent social efforts, you may benefit from hiring a social media influencer. These professionals specialize in increasing engagement rates and can leverage their large following to bring attention to your products or services. If you’re serious about getting more eyes on your social media marketing campaigns, you may want to research influencers in your industry that can help.
6. Generation Z Will Contribute to Small Business Success
Most likely, you’re aware of the need to understand and engage millennials. However, over the next few years, the next generation is set to take over. Gen Z are true digital natives and it’s crucial that you consider them in your buyer personas.
Gen Z is made up of 86 million people, and they are expected to represent 40 percent of all consumers by 2020. Plus, they’ve already contributed nearly $44 billion to the U.S. economy!
To leverage this audience, you should evaluate your hiring processes and consider how you engage talent as this young generation enters the workforce. Whether you’re building a sales team or hiring technical talent, 2019 is the beginning of the Gen Z takeover in the workforce, so your business should be prepared.
7. The Freelance Gig Economy Will Continue to Grow
Now more than ever before, professionals are starting their side hustles to supplement their income or monetize hobbies. For example, common side hustles include driving for Lyft or Uber, selling homemade art on Etsy, and tutoring or teaching skills.
Having a side hustle can be extremely lucrative, as the gig workforce adds $715 billion to the economy each year. So, if you don’t currently own a small business, starting your venture as a side hustle could be a great way to get your feet wet as an entrepreneur. Many successful founders and CEOs started their businesses as a side hustle, while still working their full-time jobs. This can allow you to get your business going, without losing your current source of income.
8. Technology Will Help Businesses Improve Customer Service
When considering customer service, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for your customers to contact you. They are busy and want to get answers quickly. Luckily, technology is making it easier than ever before to satisfy your patrons!
According to Nextria, 57 percent of customers would rather contact companies online than call them for help. However, the study also found that 40 percent of customers still want to have access to voice-based customer support when handling complicated issues such as payment disputes.
This study is a great example of why it’s so crucial to consider your customer’s needs. Striking a balance between technology and traditional customer service methods is crucial, but you should still make sure you’re implementing new strategies.
Business leaders should be in-the-know about the latest industry trends in order to achieve growth. The small business space is always changing, but if you take time to research and implement new trends, you’ll be ahead of the curve in 2020 and beyond!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.