In the age of entrepreneurship, small businesses are increasingly learning how to adapt to a consumer-based market. As a result, it’s important to keep on top of new practices that will help give your business a competitive edge. Check out these emerging top small business trends in 2014.
Whether you’re a tech company or not, having a clean, efficient website is a must for your small business. In 2014, more and more users will be browsing the internet on their mobile phone or tablet, so the importance of responsive design has moved front and center. Having a responsive design means that your website will be fully functional regardless of device or screen size. Making your site responsive will give you an advantage by adapting to users’ electronic habits.
Creating a Social Media Presence
If you’re a small company who isn’t on Twitter or Facebook yet, now is the time to get on it! In 2014, consumers are more likely to engage with a brand on social media than with a phone call, so make sure your page is set up. Social media is also a great marketing and communications tool, as visitors can see what is being said about your company or product, and if friends have already liked the page.
Happiness in the Workplace
2014 is the year for happiness. Companies are doing more and more to keep their employees happy by offering fun perks, free food, stock options, and more. While small businesses may not have the ability to do that yet, they can give their employees more responsibility and a sense of fulfillment that comes with doing a job well. Finding the right candidate for the job, or the right fit as an employee can be difficult, but there are jobs that match your skillset out there that help match the right candidate with the right company culture.
Healthcare is Hiring
Healthcare is trending in the US as one of the fastest-growing jobs in the nation. Forget doctors and nurses, the jobs that are in demand include medical assistants, physical therapists, dental assistants, home health aides, and other personal care professionals. These professionals are alternatives to increasing healthcare costs, and should be considered as a key industry as baby boomers begin to look for healthcare for their aging parents.
Working in the Cloud
If you’re not already in the cloud, 2014 is the perfect year to catch up. Using SaaS, or software as a service, applications are high on the rise, and the costs are only going to get lower. The number of companies offering cloud services is also increasing, so you’ll be able to get the bundle and price you need. Moving to the cloud is not only practical for a small business, but for individuals as well. Having your data whenever and wherever you need it and sharing it with co-workers is a wonderful thing.
Software Developers Wanted
Another rapidly growing industry is tech. Many businesses are now taking the Lean Startup approach and developing minimal viable products to test on the market before launching a full product. As a result, these young startups are increasingly looking for front-end and back-end software developers to help create their product. IT is no longer a separate industry, but it is becoming an integrated component in both small and large businesses, becoming its own functional segment, such as HR, operations, sales, marketing, and finance.
Big Data Takes Over
From receipts to email addresses, small businesses already have data on their customer. However, 2014 will see an increase in the use of big data from Facebook Insights and Google Analytics. Big data is already used by retailers to predict their customer’s next purchase, but small businesses can take advantage too. Knowing when your customer opens their email can help determine what time of day is best to send out your newsletter. Big data will make small businesses more efficiently run and cut costs while increasing sales.
2014 will highlight the importance of technology at a small business, as well as personal happiness and satisfaction. With trends such as responsive design, cloud applications, and big data, it’s time to become more numbers driven.
Morgan Sims is a freelance writer who loves all things tech and social media. When she's not trying out new gadgets and tweeting she spends most of her time with her dog, cooking and staying active. Follow her @MorganSims00.
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