10 the most reasonable strategies for you to consider revamping for 2018.

With 2018 upon us, it’s time to revamp and rethink your strategies for your small business. Align your goals with what’s trending to ensure you meet, or even possibly exceed, your expectations. From hiring to technological advances, here are trends you should keep in mind when setting your 2018 goals.

Marketing & Customer Service

Micro-influencers might be more effective for your small business.

Influencer marketing has been an effective method of personalization for potential customers, but it’s not always possible to have a high-following influencer to promote your products or services. For 2018, consider focusing on micro-influencer marketing instead.

Micro-influencers are influencers with less than 100K followers. These influencers might actually be more effective for your small business as relate to them better. Micro-influencers have a more attainable lifestyle than those with millions of followers and multiple sponsorships. They also offer cheaper contracts for sponsoring your small business. If you weren’t successful reaching out to influencers in 2017, target micro-influencers for 2018.


Invest in artificial intelligence.   

By 2020, artificial intelligence (AI) is projected to be a top five investment priority for CIOs, according to NFIB. Some small businesses are already hopping on this trend, with 59 percent collecting the information they need to build an AI strategy. As a small business owner, you should begin investing in data collection, integrating AI into your small business and training your team for AI.

Rather than creating a machine-learning tool, most small businesses will rely on larger technology companies to filter the tools into their cloud platforms. Incorporating AI will allow you to anticipate your customers’ needs, identifying your most profitable customers based on their behaviors.

Cashless payments expected to grow 80 percent by 2020.  

Bottom of Form

By 2020, it’s projected that 56 percent of customers will use mobile payments. While cash currently remains the most popular means of payment, non-cash transactions increased 11 percent between 2014 and 2015 while checks decreased 13 percent in 2015. As check payments fall, mobile payments should help you with your invoicing methods, giving you, your customers and suppliers more ways to pay.

To keep up with cashless payments, adopt mobile wallets. You can also offer in-app, in-browser and person-to-person (P2P) payment platforms.


Outsource where needed.

Outsourcing is expected to continue growing in 2018 but not without its own trends and challenges. Cloud-based outsourcing is one popular method. Ninety-five of businesses in a study claimed to use cloud computing systems. Cloud-based outsourcing offers fast scalability and pay-as-you-go methods, but employees based in this system often don’t work long-term.

Consider outsourcing the areas of your small business that you’re not as well-versed in. If you’re bad with numbers, outsource a bookkeeper and an accountant to help you keep up with your financials. If you’re not a marketing strategist, outsource a social media manager, content creator or search strategist.

Gen Z has different desires for the workplace.  

Millennials are rising into leadership positions in their careers as the oldest is 35 now. Soon, they’ll be managing Gen Z. Born after 1998, Gen Z begins to make its presence in the consumer and workforce space. However, each generation has its own ideals in terms of their career and what they want in a workplace.

Although both grew up with devices and technology, Gen Z has different desires for their careers and workplace. Gen Z is more independent than millennials, which could lead to a return of closed-off workspaces (unlike the open-floor plan millennials crave). As they’ve grown up with multiple technological advances, Gen Z can adapt to technological advances more quickly than generations before. Gen Z is also more likely to be in pursuit of a steady paycheck instead of millennials, who are more likely to pursue happiness.

Make your small business a place people love to work at.

You should also aim to make your small business a fun place to work. While it’s not possible to make every moment of everyday fun, you can try offering a variety of workplace perks, big or small, to boost positivity around the office. You can also offer outdoor workspaces, which are proven to lower stress and boost morale. If your business is the type to have it, put a ping-pong table in the café or offer massage chairs. If you’d rather offer free snacks, dress-down days or once-in-a-while free bagels, do that instead.

Show that you care.

One of the best ways to improve your company’s culture in 2018 is to show that you care. If employees are dealing with personal matters, show them compassion. If they have new ideas, encourage their innovation. Express gratitude for big wins or even for small tasks they performed outside of their duties.

You should also listen to your employees. See what they value in a workplace, what they take pride in working for your small business, what they would like to change and how they’d like to be commended for their work.

With the right strategies, you can attain or even exceed your expected yearly goals. These trends will help you stay ahead of the game (and your competitors) in 2018.