Future of small business and not-for-profit organisations is changing rapidly
Cloud computing, mobile, social media, robotics, analytics and big data have created a new normal. Particularly for the future of smaller businesses, not-for-profit organisations and customers’ expectations. The future is changing rapidly and those who fail to keep up are at risk. Home-based businesses http://goo.gl/g7z2Ue and lifestyle business http://goo.gl/anIkPt will become more commonplace because people are seeking to improve their quality of life.
The following is only a short brief outline of the changes taking place. Many future changes are in the pipeline and still more haven’t even been invented yet. One thing is for sure, the amount of change in the future will be challenging, so you need to be prepared for it.
Changing your organisation in order to keep up with the future?
Agility is the competitive advantage of small business and is the key to adapting to the disruptive forces and taking advantage of new ideas and opportunities as the future unfolds.
Large companies are interested in future trends and it’s where small businesses have an advantage because they can respond to any future trends more quickly. They can also test future ideas without great risk. Many small businesses really know and have a practical understanding of what is happening at the grass roots and will use this information and knowledge to their advantage.
There is a proliferation of high-tech customer service technologies. But future small businesses who are technology savvy will improve customer experiences using automated technologies, analytics and big data. They will leave other businesses in their wake.
New challenges will come out of the blue sky. Fortunately, you will be small enough to adapt.
New marketing concepts are already impacting your business and should be understood because marketing is at the heart of every business. The basics of marketing will not change much, but the reshaping of it is continuously evolving. Technology is speeding up marketing processes and businesses who want to get the message out about their business, need to constantly educate themselves on new marketing and future business and customer trends.
The basics of marketing will, for the most part, stay the same but in the future, the landscape will be continuously evolving. Information technology and communications (ITC) constantly changing, making everything faster and cheaper. Businesses need to constantly educate themselves on future trends.
Business will become much more service oriented
If you are a brick and mortar company, over the years you will have watched many businesses lose to the Internet because you can buy just about anything online now. Customer service means everything to businesses now as the bar has been raised even higher, particularly those who are more service oriented.
The consumer wins because restaurants, spas and fun spots are becoming more desirable tenants to landlords as many retailers go out of business. In the future, the ‘customer experience will become even more important, because if you want customers to visit your business it must become more experiential.
The new service infrastructures being developed will make what seems impossible today, ‘doable’. This is where cloud, mobile, big data and analytics will enable rapid new customer services and experiences to be developed and new innovation paradigms created.
Globalisation is shifting to personalisation
Every day marketing is becoming more personalised because of the plethora of technology available to both buyers and sellers. Personalisation will become more important in the future as businesses rework their structures with new technology and increase their regional and local influence. Customers of the future are starting to demand the ‘traceability’ of the products they buy.
Customers are wanting to know who produced the eggs they buy, when they were produced and how they were produced. This example will apply to many products as consumers become more aware in the future. Suppliers are even wanting to know more about how their product is handled and consumed. This is evidenced by the live cattle trade.
Businesses who are exporting will have advantages in the future
Exporters will be able to expand their volume and take advantage of being able to spread their costs beyond their local market. They will also be able to take advantage of higher pricing structures. Once a business becomes involved in exporting, many innovative ideas are introduced to their businesses, their products and services. Ideas and opportunities that can completely transform their approach to their local market.
Future export opportunities are becoming plentiful but are still challenging for some businesses, however, opportunities to operate on the world stage have never been so good. To help you on your exporting journey you must address certain key areas. These areas include preparing for export, developing an export strategy, winning export contracts, financing exports, getting paid on time and expanding your business overseas. This website will provide more of the basic information you will require, http://www.efic.gov.au/
Consumer segmentation will increase in importance
Businesses will want to know where the people on marketing lists came from and how they can best address problems, frustrations, wants and needs. Businesses will need to keep and utilise more detailed demographic and psychographic information to better target their marketing efforts.
Social media will play an increasingly important role in helping businesses to target their customers more accurately while becoming more socially orientated. With market segmentation, content marketing will become an even stronger marketing tool.
The future will have a more caring and sharing marketplace
In a way, you are reverting to the distant past where people were more caring of each other and used to share most things. This happened in many cases just to allow people to survive, particularly when times were tough. In the future, consumers will begin to lend and borrow amongst each other more frequently. You are already seeing examples to follow, from living spaces to cars, electronics, clothing and vegetables are grown in the home garden.
Businesses will need to change their business models and greatly improve their value chains. The caring and sharing economy will infiltrate all aspects of your lives and cause customer service to take a giant leap forward. Those businesses who can’t keep up will simply be absorbed or fall by the wayside.
Transparency will become increasingly more and important as the world marketplace shrinks. Brands have the ability to be radically transparent through so many different online mediums but few are taking advantage of the opportunity.
The best brands are the ones who you now share accurate information on what they’re doing in the interest of their consumers, not just sometimes, but all the time because they care. You will all look back at those early photos you uploaded to social media and say “how did I let that happen”?
In the future, people will become more interested in preserving their privacy. As a result, these privacy conscious consumers will demand products and services designed to keep their buying patterns, online browsing habits and travel patterns more confidential. This will cause all sorts of legal concerns and hopefully meaningful debate.
Websites and social media user experience will be even more critical
Online activity has increased exponentially over recent years and it will continue to intensify. The customer experience is becoming more valuable but at the same time less impactful as competition increases. It is important to make a lasting first impression when customers visit your website or access your social media sites.
You will need to make all your touch points extremely responsive. You will have even fewer seconds to impress the visitor. If the information they are looking for is not immediately apparent you will lose them, possibly forever. Content marketing strategies will need to be in place and kept active.
Social media will be used to disrupt the way business is done. However, it will require longer-term commitments, imagination and patience. It’s just a matter of getting your product in the right hands by utilising the available information technology. This can be done using social media sites where the user’s demographic information is already linked to their profile. The technology makes it easy to collect valuable data when engaging and tracking future purchasing criteria. Increasing social media awareness also allows customers to share, increasing brand awareness through recommendations.
Mobility will increase and become easier
The mobility evolution towards more virtual and flexible working conditions should be one of continuous improvement. Having mobility and flexibility built into your working environment is not all about working from home. Mobility is about you and your employees working from wherever you want or, need to be. While working from home may not be a suitable option for everyone, there are many new and different ways of working. Adapting to the changing business environment is extremely important, http://goo.gl/wwhT0i .
Business improvement will only come about if the changes involve employees and improved customer engagement along with their service experience. With mobility, hours will not diminish. When using flexible working arrangements, employees should be able to perform all their tasks as per normal, just at different times. However, if a mobility strategy is done well you can look forward to improvements in profits, growth, loyalty and sustainability.
Everyday operations will become digitised. Thanks to smartphone proliferation, people are actively embracing apps that make it easier to do business and create opportunities. Mobile is taking over as people spend more time on mobile devices than on their desktop computers.
There’s no better time to become familiar with mobile searching, optimisation, ubiquity and conversions. It’s something that you should recognise and prioritise. Virtual reality will become the norm, from board rooms to people working remotely. Much of it will be driven by smartphones, video conferencing and business orientated social media.
Mobile payments will change everything
The barrier to mobile shopping has always been in processing payments. The success of mobile apps like PayPal www.paypal.com has come from their ability to ease this burden. Mobile payment processing is going beyond platform solutions, such as security pins and saved user info. Technologies allow people to buy anything now, using information on their mobile devices.
New payment processing technology will soon be accepted across all digital and brick-and-mortar retailers and will change everything. It is now not unreasonable to envision a complete replacement of cash and credit cards going into the future.
Business process automation will change the way you do business
In the past, only huge corporations had the funds and resources to purchase software platforms and technologies to more effectively run their businesses and automate repetitive tasks. But now business and marketing automation is an easy and affordable option for small organisations. In fact, many small businesses are starting to rely heavily on their automation technology.
There will be more and more benefits in the future coming from business automation as information technologies and communications improve.
- Improvements in your customer experience because customers are acquiring better technology.
- Reductions in your costs of doing business with reductions in time spent doing day to day activities.
- Improvements in the quality of your work and services offered because the quality is now an imperative.
- A platform for continuous improvement within your business so you can meet future wants and needs.
There hundreds of businesses providing products and service just like yours. What will make your business successful into the future, will be the processes you use to execute on a daily basis. Process automation could become your unique competitive edge.
Big Data will become a huge advantage to smaller organisations
By sharing information and working with each other, businesses can make good use of what they have collectively learned. In the future, businesses will continue to see the evolution of the information and knowledge environment. Many have already started down the path of embracing big data to improve revenues, control costs and find new ways to drive their businesses.
Challenges include searching, capture, analysis, storage and retrieval, data curation and information privacy. Accuracy in big data will lead to more confident decision making in the small business sector. This will lead to better decisions as the future unfolds, along with greater operational efficiency, cost reductions and reduction of risk.
Content marketing will be a critical part of the future marketing mix
You live in a time where everyone has a voice; anyone can publish anything on virtually any platform. This concept has created a real need for brands to hire content creators, writers, developers, producers and speakers. Beyond this, you need a writer who not only has great writing skills but one who knows your niche market. Great writing skills won’t mean anything unless your creators have experiential knowledge and are well versed on your audience.
Content is ‘King’, social media is ‘Queen’ and together they rule the customer world of the modern market place. With this in mind content audits will need to be higher on your priority list of things to do. http://goo.gl/bfnJ5W
Mobile and content marketing is being used to great advantage in small enterprises.
Interactive content marketing is not a new concept. However, it is an expanding aspect of content marketing currently taking shape as businesses begin to experiment with it. Future interactive content will allow users to simply engage, interact, enjoy the process
They will also gain insight into their problems, frustrations, wants and needs. They will be able to do this without feeling overwhelmed, pressured or targeted.
Future business models and value chains will be more agile and adaptable
Attitudes toward work are changing; more people want to find their true passions or go after what really drives them, versus compliance in a 9 to 5 environment that leaves them uninspired. Focusing on agility and adaptability will be vital in future business models.
Your world has become one of instant gratification and quick change, which means businesses need to be agile and have the ability to think one step ahead of customers and competitors. Being able to adapt or refocus marketing efforts quickly and successfully in response to changes in customer behaviour will become a more important attribute as the future unfolds.
Does your business model capitalise on the unique value your business provides? Will it deliver worthwhile outcomes for prospective customers to form a lasting relationship? Does it show how you will make the money you want? How will it take advantage of the new technologies available? Is your business model future orientated and does it differentiate your business in the marketplace? http://goo.gl/nLUBrl
Value chains will become more critical in line with improved customer service demands. Shorter value chains, with fewer suppliers, will improve efficiency and productivity. You will start to see more disruptive and destructive business models emerging as competition intensifies. As more millennials enter the workforce and as start-ups continue to emerge, new business models for how your workforce operates also need to be developed.
Minimising risk within your value chain is ultimately about understanding costs, working toward a balanced inventory and better customer experiences. Finding that balance will not always easy, however, it becomes easier when you take the time to itemise all the vendors and other components in your value chain. Trust and reliability will become important attributes of suppliers.
Future partnerships and ambassadors for exponential growth
Effective partnerships are built on a relationship of trust and mutual respect. Businesses, organisations, corporations and governments all have different ways of doing business and representing their stakeholders. In the future, partnerships will focus even more on the relationship first and projects and activities will be the outcomes of these relationships. Smaller businesses will thrive beyond their belief with a few good partners.
Encourage loyal employees, customers and people in partnerships to become brand ambassadors on social media. They will become an increasingly important marketing asset. Creating brand ambassadors is key to attracting more consumers as they will speak for your business and its products and services, encouraging others to follow and make purchases.
A dominant myth in business is that competition drives excellence. When working with others, either individually or collectively will be an effective part of a business in the future. It’s working together and cooperating to compete, that delivers productivity and creativity which will lead to even more innovation.
Visual communication will become essential to engagement
The average consumer has the attention span of five seconds. In a world where businesses are competing for that limited attention, the best tool to cut through all the noise is visual communication. It has been said that visual information gets to the brain 60k times faster than text and 90% of the information you retain is visual.
To engage their audience and impact results, businesses will need to focus more on their visual strategy. This means identifying ways to incorporate infographics, video and interactive content into their marketing efforts.
Voice texting will become more popular in business. As more and more young people enter the workforce there will be a larger focus on texting as a means of communication. Students are using email less and less for personal communication and see texting as their primary means of communication. I think customer service will be enhanced with the use of text messages as well as communicating upcoming proposals and events.
Utilising text in marketing will help attract a younger customer and employee base, but visual content will still improve engagement. Businesses that adapt to texting as a valid communication channel will have a better chance at attracting new customers, employees and suppliers.
Innovation and collaboration will be drivers of future growth
You are continuously faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems and frustrations. The challenges and opportunities that face most businesses and not-for-profit organisations are preparing for the future. This will be done by infusing new skills, new tools, new business models and new technology into the business in innovative ways.
“Me too” businesses will have a limited lifespan. Smart organisations will become more fluid and agile, allowing them to adapt to new strategic priorities, and to seek out new markets and opportunities.
Craftsmanship will return as a differentiator. You have cultivated an economy of sameness where there are distinctions without differences. Cars, phones, tablets, franchises and so on, all look alike. The uniqueness of the offerings has become a thing of the past. In this environment, people are beginning to value a return to authentic craftsmanship. Succeed in tomorrow’s marketplace, by creating a product or offer a service that is different, novel, well made, or efficiently delivered.
Staying small and agile will become a key success factor
As a business owner, you will face many tough situations that will ‘keep you awake at night’. But, by remaining small and agile, you will be better able to adapt to all the disruptions and changing circumstances we must all face up to, http://goo.gl/Zje7uQ. Having and creating options will become an important success factor.
“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second”. William James
“Just remember – when you think all is lost, the future remains”. Bob Goddard