Growing your business
Emerging Small Business Trends for 2019
As the year comes to a close, budding entrepreneurs and business owners alike should take time to reflect on the past year of business – to review their successes, failures and effectively plan for the year ahead.
Looking back is a great place to start when organising future business endeavours, with past sales giving an estimation as to the profitability and benefits of certain products/services. However, as per the ever-changing landscape of the financial climate and business operations in general, looking forward at emerging trends can also be an effective game plan. Whether it be in customer service, technology and/or marketing, to understand an arising trend is to be one step ahead of the game, and thus, one step closer to a successful 2019.
The Customer Is Key
Customer service has come a long way since the advent of the internet all those years ago. As sales gravitate further to the online world, it can be difficult to give the customer that personalised experience that technology (in all its efficiency) could never replicate.
As Claire Sporton, Senior Vice President of customer experience innovation at Confirmit, insists, “we need to keep in mind that AI and predictive analytics will not replace the human when it comes to delivering the customer experience”.
Algorithms can only say so much about a sale and very little about a person’s actual wants and needs. That’s why a personal and sincere customer service experience is vital to the transaction of particular products and services. So, keep your business plan open and the routes of customer interaction plentiful, thereby ensuring customer satisfaction, increasing customer retention and proving your personal commitment to the people who need it most.
That being said, technology is certainly not to be ignored in this day and age, with ecommerce sales in the UK taking over £500 billion in revenue in 2017, the time is now to get on board with new tech and give your business that fancy modern touch it deserves. It’s all about a combination of the two - technology and human interaction that is – and using them to enhance one another.
Data analytics and algorithms will continue to grow in use in 2019, letting entrepreneurs estimate effectively their sales trends and consumer base. Moreover, as analytic applications become increasingly common, Michael Berthold, founder and CEO of KNIME, believes this will enable “data scientists to productionize data analytics by making applications more broadly interactive, accessible and usable by business analysts, IT and others in the organization”.
Whether it’s a website, an EPOS system or simply a snazzy new app for your business, technology is thwart throughout the world of sales, and should be considered an effective tool for any and all entrepreneurial escapades.
As you’ll know, marketing and advertising are vital in raising awareness to your business and the products / services you supply. Personalisation has become the be-all and end-all of many marketing campaigns in 2018, as Harrison Doan, Director of Analytics at Saatva, states, “[n]o longer will stock images, generic nurturing campaigns or impersonal calls to action convince consumers. In order to succeed, you'll have to provide high-value and personalized content every step of the way”.
To succeed in this foray into modern marketing, it isn’t a bad idea to get creative – showing a little innovation can go a long way for today's interconnected, social media-infused consumer base. Perhaps consider creating a blog for your business; integrate a social media or two to expand upon your sphere of influence and to build bridges between merchant and customer; or indeed, email marketing is an effective implementation of personalised advertisement, but don’t go overboard with it – no one likes an overcrowded inbox.