Trend #1: Mindfulness Is the New Secret Weapon
NY Times Corner Office columnist says that mindfulness is “paying attention to our thoughts, emotions and sensations in our body in the present moment in a non-judgmental way.” He explains that the most important and difficult part for business owners is to be non-critical.
David reminds us that as business owners we need to avoid getting frustrated or angry which only makes the problem worse. With all the distractions and interruptions in our business day, this is a simple concept, but hard to put into practice. David frames mindfulness not as just a feel-good type of practice, but one where business people are seeing measurable effects on improved productivity with lower stress levels. Apparently, mindfulness training is also now being used in the military!
Moving forward we can expect businesses of all sizes taking a more mindful approach to operations.
Trend #2: Narrow your Focus, Don’t Expand It.
Too many entrepreneurs cast a wide net when trying to get new customers. This only dilutes their focus and makes them seem like every other company.
Instead, Brandon says they need to “niche down” and specialize. They should find “hyper-focused communities to serve.” He states that the way small business builds a brand today is about engaging customers through solving their problems, not selling general products.
In the future more SMBs will become comfortable casting smaller nets to get clients, and with the idea and benefits that come alongside specialization.
Trend #3: Productivity is a Result of Ruthless Prioritization.
Lindsay Anvik talks about why small business owners are so frustrated because they are busy, but not productive. She insists that making a to-do list isn’t productive.
The key is to prioritize the tasks that are most critical to your company. Your attention must be focused for at least a short time during the day with all distractions turned off.
Small business owners are already aware of how distracted they can get during daily operations. Wearing a lot of hats with a smaller team means it’s inevitable. These little micro-bursts of productivity that Lindsay refers to are key to being successful. I think small business owners will become an even more skilled and disciplined workforce moving forward.
Trend #4: Data Privacy is Now your Problem
Businesses are now being held financially responsible for customer data that gets hacked from their company. This has become a chief concern of all customers and can be a deciding factor on who to do business with since they expect their privacy to be protected.
Business owners do bear an important responsibility to keep their customers safe. As technology and ways around it continue to evolve, we as business owners have to adapt as well.
Trend #5: You Can Now Run Your Business On SmartPhone
When computers first came out, mainframe software applications were only for the large companies. Then personal computers gave small businesses the same systems as big ones.
Chinwe Onyeagoro discusses one of the biggest small business trends for 2020: how “all in one” smartphone applications can now help solopreneurs run their business from the palm of their hand. These apps include critical functions like scheduling clients and getting them to pay quickly via text. Most importantly, she talks about the analytics that are available by using one app to improve their company.
Today and even more next year, we’ll see more and more busy small business entrepreneurs managing operations from their Smartphones.
Trend #6: It’s Time To Appify Your Business.
Bill Furlong insists that there will never be one software that can give your small business all the technology functionality it needs, so it’s important to invest in technologies that are able to talk to each other. This is why many companies are now putting together a cohesive technology strategy that consists of multiple applications.
Tools are now available that allow all the apps in your “technology stack” to communicate and share data. Bill says this is required if small business owners are going to be able to analyze the entire picture inside their company.
By next year we’re going to see more small businesses developing a technology strategy that includes apps. Similar to the trend where more SMBs are doing business via mobile, apps play a crucial role.
Trend #7: “Love-Based” Marketing is now Replacing Fear.
To get people to act, you need to tap into their emotions. People have traditionally bought many products and services because they were afraid and wanted to protect themselves. Michele Pariza Wacek describes how “love-based” marketing is replacing traditional advertising that is based on fear as a form of persuasion.
This small business trend for 2020 is more about education and letting people make their own choice. Michele believes this sales process leads to boosting your brand for an extended customer loyalty since fear based many times leads to buyer’s remorse.
Trend #8: Emojis are Critical for Effective Business Communication.
Dr. Nick Morgan believes that texting and short emails are poor substitutes for verbal or in-person communications. Too many times, they are misunderstood since it is trickier to connect with people effectively in a virtual world.
Nick insists that empathy is more difficult to communicate online and this hurts connections between people. He recommends the use of emojis that can sometimes express emotions better than just written words. 😊
That’s an interesting forecast, and I don’t think it would shock anyone if even more emojis emerged and more and more people used them to facilitate personal and professional communications.
Trend #9: Your Story is Now Your Brand.
Corey Blake says that customers no longer want to buy your stuff. They are attracted to your story. But companies need to ensure that it is an authentic one; customers want a key element in that story to be fragility or vulnerability.
Corey insists that corporate storytelling is one of the biggest small business trends for 2020 that will attract opportunities that you just can’t strategize and cements customers who will have an unshakable belief in your brand.
Trend #10: Ethics is Changing in a Digital World.
Jim Blasingame claims that after 10,000 years, the nature of ethics and trust is now changing. According to him, digital ethics is not the same as the ethics that are found offline.
With less accountability by using screen names and social media handles, some people are no longer held back by the same ethical standards while on the Internet. However, he insists that trust is still the key ingredient to acquiring customers.
Jim suggests that small businesses need to examine their digital ethics to make sure they are consistent with their authentic brand. As consumers evolve and our dialogue around business and digital ethics grows, the SMB landscape will continue to take shape accordingly next year and into the future.