Your business evolves with time as people evolve. They hold the key to what can give you an edge in the year ahead. Experts believe that the following trends are going to have the maximum impact in 2017.
Millennials spearheading change
Millennials constitute the largest population in America now, and have surpassed Gen X as the largest labor force in the country as well. Born after 1980, they were the first generation to reach adulthood in the new millennium. Seen as liberal, confident, self-expressive and open to change, they are one of the most educated generations of America. They are the future executives and managers, and have to be groomed for leadership for your business to succeed.
Social media: Millennials are not conscious of big brands. But possessed of a strong sense of self-expression, 75% of them are connected to social media platforms. This is one reason social media remains a major advertising forum for businesses and will continue to do so in coming years. Millennials’ strong affinity for technology also makes them savvy about choices, comparison and reviews. This helps them narrow down quality products and services which are value for money.
Going green: Millennials are conscious of the environment and will employ methods to conserve resources. Businesses that embrace the values of contributing to this mission have their attention and patronage. Millennials believe in accessing products and not owning them. So, more people of this generation might put off that car purchase or never buy one in their lifetime. But they will seek a car sharing service to address their needs.
Staying fit – Millennials are also extremely mindful of their fitness and general well-being. Good health is not merely seen as the absence of disease. It is a continuous process of eating right, exercising adequately and developing techniques to stay calm under stress or duress. Wearable fitness trackers, nutrition supplements, holistic healing services, and mobile applications related to them can all see a growth spurt.
Thinking beyond traditional forms of communication
Internal communication within firms can drain employees of their production time when structured inefficiently. When you spend too much time sorting through mails, many of which do not merit your attention, it leaves you exhausted. Businesses could move to cloud-based systems like Slack which enable effective communication.
You can channelize team conversations through projects, teams or topics so that all members have access to the information. Targeted information is communicated through direct messages or voice and video calls. File sharing is simplified through the application and you can even sync other apps to receive all notifications at one place. When your business turns towards other means of internal communication, you tell your employees that you value their time and wish to simplify non-production tasks at the workplace. There is increased transparency and little scope for disgruntlement among your employees.
The role of technology
Artificial intelligence – As digital marketing is set to see an upward trend, it is also important to focus on technologies that will aid you in this direction. The question of artificial intelligence (AI) is on everybody’s mind. As large firms invest more to improve AI, you can profit from this business tool. AI can be used to increase the efficiency of sales people on all fronts.
When humans become overloaded with information, AI can help sift through this to make it meaningful. We have companies building virtual sales assistants, to handle initial e-mails with sales leads. Customer service is another region when AI is being used for primary responses to customer query. AI and machine learning will improve the working of apps by adding the power of intelligence and inference to them. They are set to have a stronger impact on businesses in the future.
Augmented reality – Augmented reality can be used to change that way a user connects to a product or service. The user can get a more personalized experience through this aspect of technology. It will also bridge the divide between the real and digital world and pave the way for how business is done digitally.
Digital mesh – This is the process of using the connections between devices, people, content and services to drive your business. The evolution of technology platforms focus on data analytics, customer experience and the Internet of Things, where everyday objects can send and receive data through internet connectivity.
The human factor
Businesses will however not be just about numbers and targets, but about creating connections with your customers. This is important to sustained revenue and growth. As the current generation can tell marketing from hype, and have so many choices, loyalty has to be earned.
You have to look beyond the constraints of geography to employ and train employees from other locations. Most start-ups use hire remotely and this is a business model that can save on overheads for the employer and expenses like travel and food for the employee.
The importance of strength-based training cannot be emphasized enough. So the hiring strategy would be to focus on a person’s abilities instead of trying to fix aspects they may not be good at.
You can use the above insights from expert forecasts to revisit your business model and revamp it in 2017.