#Asia 7 small business trends and predictions for 2016


A generational shift in the workplace and the ubiquity of technology will irrevocably change the way businesses operate


Economy, technology and markets have changed a lot over the recent years — and small business owners were the first to respond to these changes, sometimes using strategies that work, other times using strategies that fail.

2016 will be a year when the small business owners start applying winning strategies; some of these changes will reap large dividends and continuous success for small businesses.

Small business is more miscellaneous, creative and demanding that any other business sector. For those reasons, it has to move faster, adjust quicker and develop more than any other sector, so some trends for 2016 have already become evident.

2016 is a year full of opportunities, but with many obstacles for business owners. These obstacles range from public policies to regulations, to challenges of new technologies.

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The demographic is more important for marketing than ever and is not as simple as it used to be. Nowadays, people of the same age and gender do not necessarily have a lot in common, while ironically,  people of different ages and gender share more in common than ever before.

Human resources will adjust to a varying workforce

Hiring will become more demanding, for proficient jobs, in particular, which will lead to longer times required to fill positions. The price of hiring will, therefore, increase because of a mix of growing recruiting costs and the demand to increase wages. Small business owners and managers will introduce technology into the recruiting process. They will also automate many labor-intensive and executive responsibilities.

Human connection remains the most crucial

The combination of companies turning to technology to reduce costs, and customers having access to numerous options, will create a void in which brand loyalty is non-existent. Establishing and sustaining the human connection will be essential to a popular repeat business. It is highly important for any business to show their clients that every visit they make matters. The customers also need to be shown that they are important after the sale is made. This way the customer will come back again and again.

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Labour overtime rules mean budgeting for increased expenses

One important issue that small business may not be aware of is that the US Department of Labor proposed changes to overtime regulations. These changes could have a remarkable influence on the Fair Labor Standards Act, when they are completed. Currently it is difficult for employers to completely prepare for the execution of the proposed rules. Despite of that, employers can take a first small step and take into account the increased overtime costs and salary increases, when preparing the budget.

Businesses must secure data and implement mobile strategies

Businesses of any size must pay more attention to and assign financial resources for increasing the procedures that they take to keep their data secure. Having encrypted cloud storages and a secure network is of utmost importance. This is because the privacy law and protection of data are developing quickly worldwide. They also need to make sure that communications to their customers about their privacy and data-security practices are more clear.

Millennials making small businesses go mobile

The millennials, people born between 1982 and 2000, have a huge impact on many industries. They are a group that favours quick, immediate interaction via mobile devices, and will, for that reason, greatly influence the way small businesses  approach customer engagement in 2016. Service business will especially have to adapt to mobile customers or risk losing valuable repeat business they need to maintain their organization.

Millennials are also important to small business owners as potential employees. To help millennials prosper in your workplace you need to create a culture of collaboration, offer the latest technology, have a strong purpose and keep data safe. If you belong to this group, try to impress your boss with your knowledge of cutting edge technology and new business practises.

Analytics will become more profitable

Analytics software is developing and becoming cheaper and cheaper, allowing small business owners to make more informed decisions. To produce an analytics system years ago you needed a highly expensive team of developers and designers, but now anyone can do it with a tool which anyone can add into their site.

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Emotion analytics will rise while predictive analytics will continue to improve. Brands and retailers will implement technologies to measure the emotional engagement of customers to messaging or ads. Predictive analytics will use external data to get more precise information about the customers.

Ease of access through the latest technology will be a must

Using newer payment options such as Square, Bitcoin currency, Apple/Google payment options, will provide you an edge over your competition. Young companies built on a Web-based economy, which is constantly changing, will have an easier job adapting than large companies.

Small businesses nowadays have access to the tools that will help them flourish, such as POS system, CRM software and HR management platforms. Small businesses will continue to adapt and they will make a strong comeback in 2016.

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2016 is the year of small businesses

In 2016, small businesses will have more opportunities than ever to break through and prosper. They are more adaptable than large businesses and will have an easier job adapting to new trends and implementing new technologies.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your article here.

The post 7 small business trends and predictions for 2016 appeared first on e27.

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