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With January already behind, small business owners have only 11 more months to make relevant and innovative changes that would take their businesses to the next level. Here we have listed a few top trends the business owners as well as the experts are expecting 2016 to hold for small businesses.

Businesses should focus on building relationships and creating connections with customers-

Industrial experts such as Seth Godin, entrepreneur, Clay Hebert, crowdfunding expert, define today’s economy as the “Connection Economy”. In the traditional economy, the businesses sell their products and/or services and get its returns. However, things have changed; the customers are looking out to connect with individuals or other customers who are like minded to get the best value in return in the long-term. Therefore, if a small business wants to stand the test of time, it has to create a platform where the customers can connect with each other to exchange their views and experiences, as well as share valuable assets that are extended beyond the sale.

Businesses to use internet technology to mentor and engage remote employee-

Today companies hire skilled professionals from around the globe and they are allowed to work from their own locations instead of commuting to their workplace. When businesses utilize telecommuting strategies, at times they tend to overlook the employee skill development and training. With an advancement of the Internet technology, today there exist revolutionary tools such as podcasts that can be used to teach, monitor and mentor the remote team members. The electronic tools enable a remote employee to update his existing skills and learn new ones at his on schedule, pace and also get on-demand support. Also, the companies should look forward to hire and train the millennials.

Business should look at harvesting the strengths of the employees-

For instance, if a manager asks an introvert to go out and network, the results are going to be poor. Introverts are good at creating one-to-one relationships. Therefore, if there is an introvert in the team who is a product expert, ask him to handle a couple of the top customers or clients instead of sending him to manage the tradeshow booth. Businesses should understand the strengths of their employees and give them a chance to use their strengths at their day to day work. By harvesting the strengths of the employees, businesses can achieve better results at a faster pace.

Customer experience and customer service is the new marketing strategy-

The quickest way to make profits and create word-of-mouth publicity is by retaining the existing customers. The small businesses have to be aware of the fact that online customer complaints spread like wildfire and it can affect their reputation. Therefore, keep aside a budget to create an incredible customer experience and many smart customers would be willing to pay a bit more if they are getting a better service. For creating a pleasant customer experience, the small businesses must build the corporate culture from within. This is achievable through engaging team discussions.

To succeed in a highly competitive world integrate impartial content into sales process-

Today’s consumers not only think twice but also makes multiple inquiries before making a purchase. Small and innovative small businesses have to integrate engaging as well as impartial content that is relevant as part of their sale processes. Get subject matter experts and influencers to create write-ups on the products and/or services and also allow the consumers to reach out to other sources for content. Authoritative content provides a wealth of knowledge with regards to the product/service and the customers look forward to it.

Having a website and selling online may become a mandate-

Reputed online marketers such as Amazon and other similar online retailers have inculcated the habit of buying from remote sellers in their patrons. Therefore, if a venture wants to grow beyond its immediate neighborhood, have an eCommerce website. Also, consider developing a mobile friendly website, as today’s customer’s love to browse, make inquiries and make a decision while on the move.

With baby boomers contemplating retirement and skilled millennials available for recruitment, small businesses need to change the approach of how they utilize them. The young workforce has a clear vision of their personal and professional goals. Hiring young and fresh employees will help the company in attracting similar like-minded people who have quality as well as talent. We have put together the trends and forecasts for the small businesses. However, if we have missed out on any points, please feel free to add them in the comment section.

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