Small business tech trends to watch in 2017
If you would like to save time, cut costs, improve productivity and increase sales, take a look at how the latest technologies can serve your small business in the new year.
The rise of the remote office
Although cloud-based solutions are not new, it is anticipated remote work teams are on the rise. One reason may be that small business, initially slow to adopt cloud technology, are now realizing its potential; recent research shows that 78% of small businesses will be fully adapted to the cloud by 2020.
The trend toward the new virtual office may come down to realizing its cost-effectiveness. One study estimates the US could save more than $700 billion dollars by allowing workers to perform their jobs remotely. It has been shown that productivity goes up when workers devote uninterrupted time to getting work done—a challenge in a typical office environment, where socializing is part of the work day. Businesses owners benefit, too, from cost savings on rented office or retail space—and when they can select from an expanded pool of workers from anywhere in the world.
The evolution of e-commerce
It is anticipated that worldwide e-commerce sales would exceed $4 trillion by 2020. Whether your small business sells products or services, moving into online sales can mean unlimited revenue potential, as you market to buyers outside your geographic area.
Recent technology makes it easier and more cost-effective than ever to build an e-commerce website. Shopify, for instance, provides an easy-to-use, affordable platform designed to help small business owners get an e-commerce site up and running quickly.
The adoption of automation
Business processing automation allows companies to facilitate greater growth, by reducing overhead costs while increasing efficiencies. Small business owners are increasingly taking advantage of automation to streamline time-consuming processes—such as manual accounting—reducing the need for human resources while eliminating human error. The high return on investment is creating a real culture shift for business owners, who are using automation to improve processes for everything from online marketing (think Hootsuite or MailChimp) to inventory management. Some predict 2017 will be a landmark year for increased workplace efficiency, as automation technology is combined with the advance of machine learning.
The shift to the subscription model
It is predicted the new year will also see a rise in small businesses implementing non-traditional revenue models. One recent statistic states that by 2020, 80% of software vendors will have moved to a software-as-a-paid-for service. Predictable cash flow is a compelling reason many small businesses will also make the shift to a subscription model, which supports recurring payments versus one-off purchasing. Subscription-based sales can be used in nearly any type of business, whether you are selling gourmet teas, craft supplies, home improvement services, or e-learning. Moreover, for business owners ready to make the leap, those same technologies that facilitate automation and e-commerce can be utilized to support a website implementing this popular sales model.
The latest advances in technology forecast a bright future for small business owners who are keen to adopt them. Which will 2017 tech trends you embrace for the enhanced success of your small business in the new year?