Where do you see yourself in 5 years? It’s a time-worn question, but there’s a reason it’s heard so often. Looking to the future is an effective way to sharpen your focus on the preparations that need to be made in the here and now.
But what if we look 20 years into the future? Where do you see your small business two decades from now? What role will technology play in your company’s day-to-day operations, and how will that affect your business model?
Bank of America asked small business owners those very questions, and the newly released Small Business Owner Report details their responses. Overwhelmingly, entrepreneurs from every industry predicted major changes in the way they would be doing business 20 years from now. Here’s a look at their top 3 predictions.
1. Virtual Offices
Nearly half of respondents (49%) saw virtual offices as the wave of the future, with physical offices taking a back seat. And with good reason – already today, a growing number of small businesses are taking advantage of the benefits a virtual workplace provides. Besides the obvious cost savings, virtual offices allow companies to hire the best talent available, regardless of their location, and studies have shown again and again that remote workers are actually more productive than in-office workers – not to mention happier.
A significant amount of business operations would be handled via automation in the future, believed 42% of small business owners. This is already a trend we see everywhere today, in areas ranging from automated marketing apps to automation in enterprise resource planning, and with the rise of AI tech, such as IBM’s Watson, it’s bound to be a major factor in business operations by the time 2037 rolls around.
3. Going Paperless
How many bills do you still receive as physical letters in the mail? If you’re like many Americans, the answer is not many. Going paperless is a popular choice among consumers, and increasingly, among businesses, as well. With the advent of cloud storage and even backup- and disaster recovery-as-a-service, 42% of respondents said there’s no need to keep hard copies of most files anymore. Virtual files can be stored more securely and are easily accessed – and as a bonus, the environment stands to benefit, too.
One interesting point to note, however, is the fact that most small business owners surveyed did not think that this future was inevitable. A whopping 75% agreed that encouraging innovation in the workplace was a priority in order to bring businesses into this brave new world. And in fact, 77% felt strongly that this would be a key contributor to future business success.
So where do these small business owners see themselves in 20 years? Saving time and money while boosting productivity by working from home, taking advantage of automation, and going paperless. And they’re not waiting around for the future to come to them – they’re actively pursuing it, encouraging a culture of innovation in their companies. So now the only question is: Where do you see yourself in 20 years? And what are you going to do to get there?
About Shama Hyder
Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015. LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.
Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.
Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation