The new year is the perfect time to review your business so you can set your business up for growth in 2019.
With time seemingly getting faster with each year, it’s easy to mistake February as actually being the first month of the business year, right? Have you outlined your goals yet? Have you planned and scheduled in campaigns and sales tactics? Do you feel confident with your marketing strategy? Or, have long term plans fallen to the wayside as you just try to figure out how to get through each month?
While setting some business resolutions on how to improve your leadership skills will certainly help stimulate better results in the future, it’s equally essential that you monitor the trends that could affect you in 2019.
Here are our recommendations on four of the biggest – and achievable – trends of 2019 to keep your business pace at a solid speed.
The Automation-Human Touch Conundrum Chatbots have been around since the 1960s and really hit fever pitch in 2017. They revolutionised the customer service space: instantaneous, personalised response that not only meets customer expectations, but also saved businesses a lot of money.
“Chatbots are evolving and play a large part into the future, but the AI is still only as good as their programmed content’, says Karen Lloyd-Collins from Chat2. “The main benefit is that they provide instant responses for simple questions. However, a human component is still an essential touch for business.”
“Chatbots can provide the immediacy of response for a business, however it may not always get it right with the knowledge, if the query is random or complex. Even if you’ve invested in technology to automate your marketing, businesses still need to make a point of having real conversations with clients. Personal interactions will always win when it comes to improving customer retention and boosting sales.”
The key takeaway? “Stay in touch with technology, it is a game changer for your business. Be in the space where your customers are, businesses should be there to greet and welcome their customers in this space and at the time they are ready to buy.”
Connectivity Is The Key
Technology has changed the relationship between businesses and their customers, with new applications for business streamlining being released almost every day. Ensuring businesses are amongst the early adopters of technology mean that processes are in place keeping your business efficacy on point.
“The theme in technology for 2019 is adoption”, says Doug Stephens from Airbridge Networks. “Connectivity is the backbone for any business. If there’s no connectivity, then there’s no cloud-based technology, making adoption of new technology extremely challenging. Airbridge Networks see the value in tech adoption. We want to deliver outcomes for businesses, communities and social activities via technology, which makes connectivity vital.” Connect airbridge.net.au
THE MODERN WORKPLACE
The Gig Economy is here to stay as commute time is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Our increasingly digitised world is creating opportunities for more people to launch their own business ventures, working remotely. With the rise of telecommunications (video, chats, etc.), the need for employees to hit the road has subsided, so the challenge lies in how to encourage workplace collaboration when everyone is in a different place.
Employees are placing more value than ever before on having a flexible work environment that allows them to spend more time out of the office. Adapting business policies to allow for remote work could help improve employee retention, but it must be managed appropriately to keep productivity at appropriate levels.
The growth of sustainable responsibility and corporate social responsibility has been gaining steam for years, with AdNews.com.au reporting that nearly two thirds of consumers wanting businesses to take a stand on social and environmental issues. Small businesses will no longer be able to afford to neglect sustainability in 2019.
Millennials are especially more likely to buy from companies that promote green initiatives, as they see the actions of businesses as crucial to combating climate change and other global problems.
Molly Steer, Founder of the Straw No More Project says,
“People need to take baby steps – take one bit a time, and know that every bit counts.”
For work offices, start with keep cups; stop using plastic bin liners and bottled water. Cairns has the best water in the world. Why would you drink anything else?”
Being in North Queensland, businesses are in a particularly good position to implement sustainable practices, as being smaller means less bureaucracy and less of a dependence on existing energy solutions. Simply switching off electronic devices at the end of the day can go a long way to reducing one’s impact on the planet. In addition, deciding to go paperless or only using recycled materials is not only great for the planet but can also be turned into successful PR campaigns.
Part of what makes goals and resolutions interesting is their challenge. So, go ahead, make those resolutions – but be sure next year’s trends signal a smart investment.