In the past, a small businessperson could simply be a small businessperson. What I mean by that is that he or she could concentrate on their business, knowing that, for the most part, it would stay the same, year after year.
Today, that is not true. Just think about your business even five years ago. In all likelihood, while your website was important, it was not as vital as it is now and that is even truer when it comes to social media. Business is changing rapidly these days and you simply must stay abreast of latest trends so that you know where things are headed.
So let’s take a moment to look at the top trends in small business right now:
The changing nature of social media: Just when you thought you had Facebook marketing figured out, along comes this, a big change to Facebook. Last year, Facebook announced that “promotional posts” (especially by businesses) would get less airtime in newsfeeds. These include “(1) posts that push people to buy a product, (2) posts that push people to enter contests, and (3) posts that reuse content from their ads.”
What this means for small business owners is that Facebook is becoming a pay-to-play medium.
The changing demographic nature of small business itself: For the first time ever, Baby Boomers are not the dominant demographic; Millennials are, especially when it comes to small businesses. For example, this year almost four million Baby Boomer small business owners are set to retire.
Not only are there now more Millennial versus Boomer small business owners, but also according to the most recent Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, these Millennial entrepreneurs are more bullish about both their own businesses and the overall economy as a whole than any other generation.
What this means for us is that your colleagues will increasingly be Millennial small business owners; folks who do business differently and have different attitudes than their older counterparts.
The changing nature of work itself: Not only is small business changing insofar as ownership goes, but it is also equally changing vis-à-vis employees.
The new watchword is “flexibility.”
For starters, as you well know, the 40-hour, 9-to-5 workweek is a thing of the past. Not only do we average 47 hours of work a week (according to Forbes), but employees increasingly expect to work when, where, and how they want, using their own devices. In fact, according to the most recent Small Business Owner Report, almost half of all small businesses surveyed said that they now offer telecommuting as an option. Employees want to be mobile, on the go.
Mobile is the new standard: In 2015, mobile searches outnumbered desktop searches for the first time ever. Not only that, but Google updated its algorithm to promote sites that are mobile optimized and ding sites that are not.
In 2016, the small businessperson must have not only a mobile-optimized website, but a mobile marketing strategy because that is where the eyeballs are.
Cybersecurity is more important than ever: The Small Business Owner Report also found that 59% of small business owners are very concerned about being a cybersecurity attack, and, they should be. 60% of all cybercrime is now directed at small business.
Emergence of the gig economy: Uber has more than one million drivers worldwide. Airbnb is the new way to travel. Swifto is an Uber-type dog walking business. TaskRabbit lets freelancers do your to-do list for you.
Welcome to the gig economy. This new business model is quickly taking root and seems poised to change much of the way we do business, and life.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.
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