10 Small Busi­ness Pre­dic­tions for 2015

Enterprise - - Contents -

Things are look­ing up for small busi­nesses in 2015. This com­ing year with be a crit­i­cal growth time for small- busi­ness own­ers. There will be a ma­jor pos­i­tive at­ti­tude shift for cus­tomers, em­ploy­ees and ven­dors that will help com­pa­nies grow.

Here are 10 ways to help your com­pany take ad­van­tage of the fac­tors that will have an im­pact on busi­ness in 2015:

1. The stock mar­ket will con­tinue its mo­men­tum. Even with the re­ces­sion in Ja­pan and the fear of one com­ing to Europe, stocks will con­tinue to rise.

Your move: With no daily fear from neg­a­tive stock mar­ket re­ports, cus­tomers will be in a buy­ing mood. Small busi­nesses should ramp up their mar­ket­ing on big­ger ticket items and sell ser­vices that re­quire a long- term com­mit­ment.

2. Com­mod­ity prices will stay low. The world­wide drop in the price of oil plus the pres­sure on other com­modi­ties will make do­mes­tic con­sumers bet­ter buy­ers than their in­ter­na­tional coun­ter­parts. In­fla­tion will re­main around 2 per­cent.

Your move: Re­fo­cus your com­pany’s mar­ket­ing on U. S. cus­tomers who’ll have in­creased buy­ing power next year.

3. In­ter­est rates will re­main low.

Banks will con­tinue to in­crease their lend­ing thanks to a rel­a­tively sta­ble econ­omy and in­creased com­pe­ti­tion from peer- to- peer lend­ing web­sites.

Your move: Make cap­i­tal in­vest­ments in your busi­ness now to se­cure low, long- term loan rates.

4. Com­pe­ti­tion for em­ploy­ees will ramp up. The un­em­ploy­ment rate will fall, and af­ter years of easy hir­ing, it’s go­ing to be harder to find the top tal­ent you need to help your com­pany grow.

Your move: Pay 10 per­cent more for each team mem­ber you hire, and ex­pect to spend more on ca­reer train­ing to en­sure their

loy­alty.

5. The Af­ford­able Care Act will grow. With seven mil­lion peo­ple sign­ing up in 2014, only a to­tal of 10 mil­lion are ex­pected to en­roll in 2015. This is down from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s goal of 13 mil­lion.

Your move: Small busi­nesses can get cov­er­age for their em­ploy­ees from SHOP (Small Busi­ness Health Op­tions Pro­gram) and se­cure a tax credit, which can add to your bot­tom line.

6. Peo­ple will ex­pect more from the cloud. With more than half the searches on­line be­ing done on mo­bile de­vices, con­sumers are now look­ing for the cloud to be sim­ple and se­cure. Un­for­tu­nately, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent In­ter­me­dia study, the av­er­age num­ber of apps used per small busi­ness is 14.3, and th­ese apps cost each small busi­ness about $15 a month per em­ployee in pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Your move: Cus­tomers want apps that do more with a sin­gle sign on. They also want to ac­cess their data in a seam­less way 24/ 7 re­gard­less of the de­vice they’re on. Part­ner with app providers to make this a re­al­ity.

7. Se­cu­rity threats will grow stronger and more preva­lent. With mo­bile “bring your own de­vice” ( BYOD) poli­cies grow­ing na­tion­wide, ex­em­ploy­ees with ac­cess to your com­pany’s in­for­ma­tion are be­com­ing more of a threat. A re­cent sur­vey found that 89 per­cent of ex- em­ploy­ees re­tained at least one lo­gin and pass­word from their for­mer em­ploy­ers. In ad­di­tion, there’s been an in­crease in dis­as­ters caused by se­cu­rity breaches or cli­mate out­ages.

Your move: Im­ple­ment a non-BYOD pol­icy. While this may ini­tially cost you more, you can more eas­ily man­age the se­cu­rity and apps that go on each de­vice. Con­tinue to store all data in the cloud for back up.

8. You’ll get a big­ger re­turn from “Big Data.” There’s a lot of in­for­ma­tion avail­able for a small busi­ness to put to use, but the de­mand is now for more an­a­lyt­ics with in­tu­itive in­ter­faces.

Your move: Em­ploy easy- touse tools such as Power BI for Of­fice 365 to graph­i­cally an­a­lyze what the data ac­tu­ally means and how it can help your com­pany.

9. Speech- to- speech trans­la­tion in real time is be­com­ing more preva­lent. The global world will open up even more for xeno­pho­bic small- busi­ness own­ers, who may be afraid to sell abroad be­cause of the lan­guage bar­rier.

Your move: Use prod­ucts such as Skype Trans­la­tor to do real­time lan­guage trans­la­tion on ev­ery in­ter­na­tional call. 10. More peo­ple will want to pay with their smartphones. In 2014, Whole Foods pro­cessed 150,000 Ap­ple Pay trans­ac­tions in the first 17 days of use, an in­di­ca­tor that in 2015, the mo­bile wal­let will fi­nally hits its stride.

Your move: Re­tail stores need to im­ple­ment a near field com­mu­ni­ca­tion- based sys­tem or, at the very least, have mo­bile point- of- sale de­vices avail­able to check­out cus­tomers to en­sure the best cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence.

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