The unprecedented shift in consumer behavior and technological innovations has forever changed the way people do business. Whether you’re about to launch a new venture or have managed to navigate recent developments as a first-time entrepreneur, a number of challenges still lie ahead.
Being prepared is half the victory, so it’s necessary to be aware of current industry revolutions so you won’t get left behind by your competitors.
Here are the 5 leading trends that you should pay attention to:
1. Leveraging Analytics and Business Intelligence for Problem-Solving and Growth
The demand for data-driven solutions for decision-making is expected to rise amid the 15% to 25% growth that businesses achieve after investing in analytics and business intelligence.
- Analytics platforms or built-in social media analytics tools can provide insights on the behaviors and preferences of your customers or your target market, especially if you’re in e-commerce.
- Business intelligence tools can help you identify market trends and opportunities, reduce risks, and optimize marketing campaigns.
- Also, collaboration or workflow systems have performance metrics for evaluating your internal business operations. They allow you to track project management and product or service delivery.
When put together, data analysis can help you improve employee experience and productivity, innovate products and services, create better customer experiences, and build brand authority. Over 60% of firms surveyed by Harvard Business Review reported that they’ve already invested more than $50 million in data and AI engines and a rising number of small businesses are taking their critical business infrastructure online. Businesses using more digital tools (i.e. payment processing, e-commerce functionality, productivity software) had 61% higher revenue increases than those that did not.
You don’t need to be a data scientist to make the data work for your business growth. The internet has a wealth of references on understanding performance metrics.
2. Using Digital and Cloud Technologies for Customer Support
Being able to shop any time of the day across different devices is the primary reason why the public is drawn to online shopping. Mobile apps, chatbots, and other online platforms can help you keep up with this always-on culture. They can handle inventory management, order and payment processing, shipping options, and query support 24-7. Omni-channel accessibility is vital given that 80% or over 260 million U.S. consumers shop online.
By deploying automated client support, you can engage with prospects and followers anytime, especially with those whose time zones are different from yours. He explains why this is a precious opportunity: In the world of internet customer service, it's important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.
3. Maximizing Freelancer Partnerships
The appeal of flexible schedules and workspaces is expected to expand the skilled and remote freelancer workforce. Hiring freelancers is a cost-effective option, as you can hire people on a per-project basis and pay them a set fee without spending on mandatory employment benefits.
IT, ART AND DESIGN, ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE, HR AND RECRUITMENT, MARKETING, AND REAL ESTATE are some of the industries that are already harnessing freelance talent.
To find a freelancer who won't disappoint you, ask for referrals. Be clear with your job scope as well as your timelines and deliverables. Remember to check their background and previous work experience. Also, know their preferred mode of communication. Then, give plenty of room for their ideas, especially if you don't have any expertise in the subject matter.
Stick to your agreement as much as possible. For any modifications, ask the freelancer first or suggest adjusting the pay rate to make up for your required changes.
Small business owners can find strength in numbers. Start building your network by joining a community or association belonging to your niche and attending sales campaigns and trade fairs. Memberships and event attendance can teach you about best practices on sustainability, automation, and other issues. You can also get “inside information” on trends and form connections for better business visibility to partners and prospects. You can invite an entrepreneur who offers a product or service that complements yours to jointly market and host an activity.
Another popular form of networking is teaming up with influencers, who have already established credibility among their audiences and whose recommendations can impact consumers’ buying decisions.
You can prevent idea theft by first being discerning about those you plan to meet and work with. Investigate the group's track record as well as its members. Have a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement (NDA) when teaming up with someone like a developer or engineer who will breathe life into your idea. Most importantly, you may have to seek legal advice to have your idea copyrighted, patented, or trademarked when you come up with a prototype.
5. Building an Emotionally Intelligent Team Culture
Modeling and encouraging empathy as well as offering mentoring and coaching opportunities nurture workplace engagement and improve retention. Empathy builds trust through transparency.
This reduces friction in communication and relationships. Meanwhile, skills training will make workers feel employers take a genuine interest in their development and role in adding value to their company.
Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers. Workers who feel supported and recognized are energized to look after their customers' comfort and convenience. Your clients will associate your brand with the kind of customer experience your frontliners offer.
A good mix of relationship skills and an awareness of customer/employee-centric technology are necessary for any start-up to thrive in today’s world.
Take time to study these five trends to see how each one will figure in growing your current or upcoming venture.
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