The important trends that can practically transform your business this year aren’t the flashiest major new trends you may have read about in other lists like Artificial Intelligence or Cryptocurrency. These ‘hot’ trends aren’t relevant to most businesses, yet. Adopting trends too early can be a devastating decision for any sized business so it’s understandable that most businesses take a wait and see approach to the hottest annual trends.
Mobile is the dominant trend overall but we quickly realized that mobile, rather than being a trend, is the wholesale transition from the use of larger less portable devices like desktop computers or laptops to using mobile devices to manage communications and business operations from the palm of your hand.
We considered practical trends in the context of different businesses including a small restaurant or food truck, a speciality retailer like a private clothing label, a traditional restaurateur, and a large shopping centre. This is the first in a series that will feature the changing landscape for businesses in 2018 and beyond including practical tips on how to take advantage of these major trends to transform your business.
provide better options for payments and purchases
Businesses are more likely than ever to use the same systems and devices to manage purchases, inventory and sales. As we explore frictionless payments we’ll discuss both sides of the equation as business collect and distribute payments. Processing fees and credit card rewards can be optimized to squeak out an additional %1 which may seem small but in a business doing $1 million in sales per year would mean an additional $10,000 of profit.
Close the Distance…
with on-demand delivery and transportation services
If a smaller business selling doughnuts or knitted baby clothes wants their products delivered they might connect with a service for order processing and shipping/delivery like Shopify or Canada Post and for food SkipTheDishes, DoorDash, or Uber Eats. Skip The Dishes currently supports the most cities in Western Canada. It’s important to watch your margins when using these services as they may take 20-30% of your sale but they also handle ordering and payment processing providing some additional value. The size of your city and region will determine what on demand services are available for your business.
with free and low-cost software for business operations
Free and low-cost services for day-to-day business operations are streamlining a lot of manual work and putting information into the cloud allowing management and communications from mobile devices instantly. Businesses might use software services for payroll (Rise is free with 20 employees or less), accounting and bookkeeping (Quickbooks and Freshbooks offer free trials and ~$15/month options), and scheduling (When I Work and Homebase offer always free options).
Reach out and in
with digital communications and offers
Using social networks for communications at scale and personal communications alike is still of growing importance but we’ve been hearing that for years. It’s now more about the new and emerging technologies solutions to reach and drive potential customers like GetintheLoop! A big trend this year is something we call your advisory board in your pocket. Using private text groups, slack, or messenger groups on Facebook to communicate with other business owners, employees, or stakeholders to share information in real-time are emerging as valuable communications solutions for businesses and families alike.
Today many businesses can use their smartphone or tablet for almost everything they need to do day-to-day. We’ll be diving deep into each of these trends in upcoming posts where explore in detail how these four trends are changing the way business is done at all kinds of businesses from shopping centres to small one-person businesses.