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Which small business trends will help you grow your business in 2020? Here are 8 new predictions that will make an impact on your bottom line this year.

It’s not a drill – 2020 has arrived and with it, the chance to make your growing company better than it’s ever been. For SMBs, this means taking a moment to understand which trends will give you a competitive edge in the market.

According to Forbes, 2019 was the year of transparent employee communication, wearable tech and remote work. What will 2020 be about?

Business moves at a blinding pace these days! It pays to know which market insights are emerging, so that you can take advantage of them sooner rather than later.

So, here are the top business trends to watch in 2020. Get all the inspiration you need to grow your SMB with the 8 trends that matter most, right now.   

 

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#1: AI Becomes a Tool for Actionable Advice 

 

For most small business owners in America, artificial intelligence and machine learning are nothing more than buzzwords.

According to a recent SMB survey, very small companies don’t yet realize that AI is a viable solution. And, 41% of other SMBs only use it in the financial space. This year, a lot has changed. 

AI has matured enough to give your small business a serious edge.

Not only can it recommend actionable marketing and business tactics, but it can explain why these tactics will succeed.

This means tools that will tell you where, when and how to act to gain more customers. No more guesswork,  for your convenience the entire process is mapped and based on past data.

TREND ALERT: Implement AI tools to automate your business growth

 

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#2: Micro-Influencers Deliver Higher ROI for SMBs

 

Second, on the list of top business trends involves influencer marketing. In previous years, companies have faced poor return-on-investment with prominent social media influencers who didn’t deliver a buying audience.

Now the stage has been set for micro-influencers – personalities who have much smaller, more authentic audiences and who drive better results for small businesses.

This is one of those popular business trends that can really pay off in the long run. Nurture relationships with micro-influencers and their highly engaged audiences for immediate results.

In 2020, smaller is better when it comes to influencers. Audiences of 10,000 followers or less are often highly targeted, deeply engaged, and give small business owners better business ROI.

TREND ALERT: Invest in a series of micro-influencer promotions

 

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#3: The Rise of The ‘Always-On’ Small Business

 

In the early 2000s there was such a thing as ‘available hours.’ This year marks the solidification of the ‘always-on’ business – a company that uses technology to be constantly available to customers.

As small business trends go – this is huge. It skyrockets the customer experience and allows people to reach out and connect with your company at any time, day or night.  

Automated social media assistants and chatbots are two prominent examples. Business owners are even spreading out employee hours so that someone is always available.

As one of the most significant trends to watch on the list, the ‘always-on’ small business has a superpower. Loyal customers whose needs are addressed instantly, coupled with highly personalized service from local merchants, create more sales.   

Yahoo Business Maker will help your business switch to an ‘always-on’ service model. Just answer a few questions to get a customized solution, and improve your business in 2020.

TREND ALERT: Switch to an ‘always-on’ service model with automation technology

 

Young female customer holding credit card and smartphone over table while going to order xmas gifts for family

#4: Online Holiday Shopping Spreads Out a Little

 

Remember the pandemonium of Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Small business trends like this one are putting an end to the early growing pains of intermittent online sales.

In this instance, the battle is ending between e-commerce sites and real-world stores. Consumer behavior has changed and people are no longer clamoring to buy on the internet on one specific day. Instead, they’re buying all the time and throughout the season.

Yahoo’s e-commerce merchants report that in 2019, Cyber Monday sales were 7% higher than on Black Friday. Two years earlier in 2017, Cyber Monday sales were 26% higher than on Black Friday. What has changed?

It seems people are no longer concentrating their online buying more on any particular day. The novelty of a day for online sales has worn off.  Instead, they are shopping for deals across the whole Black Friday weekend, and all the way up to Christmas, spreading their spend over many days.  

Buyers are already online, so don’t consolidate your deals on one day – spread them out.

As holiday shopping spreads out a little, these trends in business mean that your conversion funnels need to be in good shape. Not just for ‘boom days,’ but for every day.

TREND ALERT: More people are happy to buy online, so streamline your sales funnels and spread out your deals

 

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#5: DIFM & MSPs Take Care of Complex Data Compliance

 

The fifth in our list of top business trends involves compliance. The law is complicated and regulations on customer data and what can be done with it continue to change.

This impacts small businesses and how you interact with your customers online. A simple solution this year is to invest in a DIFM (do-it-for-me) service.

Trends to watch may also include adding an MSP – or managed service provider – who will deal with these complicated data issues for you. Your SMB may even benefit from an MSSP, or managed security service provider, to lock down your cyber security practices at the same time.   

TREND ALERT: Simplify your data compliance needs with a DIFM, MSP or MSSP

 

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#6: Wider Adoption of Digital Services by SMBs

 

Simple sells. Slowly emerging business trends like this one prove it. If you use digital services that make it easy for your customers to buy – then they will buy from you more often.

According to Visa, 50% of SMBs struggle with digital transformation.

They haven’t tried digital services that simplify the buying process for the customer. Some examples include self-serve kiosks, shipping and delivery, a curbside pickup option, or online order-ahead services. Then there are accounting integrations, unified digital dashboards and CRM systems – all to make sales easier.

If there is any small business trend to acknowledge as you read this, it’s this one. Help your small business leap ahead in 2020 by completing your digital transformation.

TREND ALERT: Widely adopt digital services that make buying easy for your customer

 

Customer Paying For Shopping At Checkout Of Sustainable Plastic Free Grocery Store

#7: A Shift Towards Sustainable Business

 Having a ‘green’ business may seem like one of last year’s trending business ideas, but it isn’t. Consumers are making a drastic shift to support more sustainable business models.

Small businesses that are more eco-friendly than competitors make more money. It’s time to look at your supply chain, your products and your business model through a ‘green’ lens.

Profits aside – the world is in trouble, and sustainability is the responsibility of each and every person and business. Brands are being rewarded by consumers for their contribution to lower carbon emissions.

These emerging business trends in the eco-conscious niche will continue to gain traction. Take advantage of increased consumer support and invest in a more sustainable company.

TREND ALERT: Make a conscious shift towards greener business

 

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#8: Invest in People with Strong Digital Skills

 

So many parts of your small business benefit from digital services. From a creative business website, to automated marketing activities and using mobile point-of-sales devices – digital has become a part of your company DNA.

With more digital pathways connecting customers to your business, it makes sense to hire people that have stronger digital skills.  

According to a recent case study from Facebook, 76% of businesses say that online tool and app proficiency is important for most jobs. Your employees should be able to quickly and easily navigate the digital parts of your business that help it grow.

This trend highlights the increasing importance of digital skills when hiring staff members. Make sure that every person in your business excels at using and leveraging digital technology.

TREND ALERT: Make strong digital skills a hiring priority this year

 

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These 8 small business trends will help your company grow, right away.

Whether you’re choosing to finally embrace digital transformation, adopt AI tools, or invest in an all-in-one platform like Business Maker that will make starting or running your business easier, this is your way forward in 2020.

If you have a minute, jot down trending business ideas from this list that you like.

Look for the ‘AhHa!’ trends that will spark the most growth for your business this year. Pick one or two to focus on, and unleash the potential trapped inside your SMB.

It’s going to be your best year yet.