Trends Impacting Business
2019 is on its way out, offering us an opportunity to reflect on the past year, and plan for the upcoming year with lessons learned. Business doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and it’s always changing. Changes in technology, marketing, finance, operations, and other external factors are imminent. Each year seems to bring changes that impact our businesses. Not long ago, it was important to get your niche business onto social media before your competitors, but today it is a given.
Implementing additional change early could be a strategic advantage over competitors.
Isn’t it always about sales and customer service? We must further adapt to modern clientele. Customers have more choices than ever, and they gravitate toward fast, seamless, and personalized service. It’s all about the better user experience.
Everything is more personalized — ads are becoming more targeted, and products more personal, particularly for online services where more and more of us are headed. Our customers are requiring more personalized solutions, which adds value. Technology is always improving, but we need to keep in mind that data and analytics can’t replace human interaction in delivering the customer experience. There are tremendous opportunities giving people better information, greater insight, and the ability to perform at the highest levels, but genuine relationships still trump technology. While technology runs our lives, relationships drive business. Even though data can only tell us so much about a customer, we must use automation where we can.
Technology and data are running our businesses. Marketing is becoming more technology-orientated. We have to be technologically skilled to keep up. New advertising spaces appear on personal devices, and a clever use of technology could be magic. Using social networking has been a cost-effective marketing tool. Users love to complain about businesses online, but we can use this to our advantage, because the conversation is public. We can promote great customer service by resolving the complaints. Of course, social media and shared data come with privacy concerns. Laws are changing as we speak, and keeping up is challenging to say the least. We have come to see the value in taking advantage of the cloud. Cloud services are great for keeping our data secure, and accessing it in real time. Pricing of cloud services has fallen, making it affordable for most of us.
The economy is following an economic boom; jobs are plentiful, and we need bodies to keep up. Those employees are spending because they have the income, all of which is good for business and helps drive further growth. Consumer confidence and overall optimism of the state of the economy is high. Confident consumers spend money, and business is likely to prosper and increase opportunity for start-ups to enter the market. Interest rates are reasonably low, and inflation remains in check. Our current trade issues may, however, cause increases in business expenses such as the cost of materials and goods used in production. Rising costs will likely force us to raise prices passed on to our customers.