2019 is a year packed with potential for small businesses. 60% of small business owners in the US expect to see the economy increase in size over the course of the year. Those in the UK are somewhat more pessimistic, with business confidence dropping fast as the Brexit deadline of 29 March 2019 approaches. China’s business confidence is eroding too, as its economy slows down, albeit as part of planned measures to taper and stabilise the runaway growth of recent years.
For small businesses across the world, despite their geographical and linguistic differences, several trends are likely to keep surfacing through the course of this year. Tomedes has taken a look at five of these global small business trends.
1. Using social media growth tools
Does your company really have time to wait around or do you need to increase your exposure fast? Many businesses are likely to dispense with relying on organic growth in their followers and audiences this year, with social media growth tools helping them to build up their presence faster than ever before.
From SocialSteeze for Instagram to CrowdFire for Twitter, 2019 will see businesses racing to build up their followers the smart way. Companies will still need to share and create interesting and relevant content in order to maintain those followers, but social media growth tools will provide a good starting point for those who want to get ahead fast.
2. Enhancing the customer experience
Around the world, small companies are increasingly turning to technology to deliver an enhanced customer experience. Social media is going to play a key role in this in 2019, as are automated services such as live chat bots, moving customer service further away from more traditional, telephone-based support.
“Companies are starting to make greater investment in delivering customer service through automated technology and chat apps,” comments Richard Andrews, CEO of South Africa-based Diversiti Management Consulting. “In doing this, customers are given a more customised experience as they drive the interaction and ask the questions that bring them closer to what they want and need.”
For companies operating in international business environments, social media translation and chat bot translation will be particularly important in order to support this trend.
3. Improving data security
Data security is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – it is an essential part of any company’s operations, no matter how large or small that company may be. Beaming reports that UK businesses suffer from online attacks every 2.5 minutes. According to the firm’s analysis, the average UK company suffered 52,596 cyberattacks between April and June 2018.
Small companies will need to invest more in their data security in order to keep their – and their customers’ – data safe in 2019. Large businesses can be hurt by data security scandals; small ones can be wiped out. As such, and given the intensity of the cyberattacks taking place, increased data security expenditure is likely to be one of the biggest trends for small businesses in 2019.
4. Focusing on the environment
From eco-friendly toilet roll made of bamboo to cycle to work schemes that support employees to purchase bicycles, there are plenty of ways that small businesses can make a big difference to the planet. While the Carbon Majors Report found that 71% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions came from just 100 companies between 1988 and 2017, that doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t make a difference.
Small businesses in many parts of the world this year will be focusing on a range of environmental issues, from using sustainably sourced, recyclable/reusable packaging to reducing their use of plastics. Every single change can make a difference and there’s a growing body of evidence to show that the time for dawdling about tackling climate change has well and truly passed.
5. Boosting mental health
The final 2019 small business trend that we’ve picked up on is the push to focus on mental health issues and improving employee wellbeing. We’ve a long way to go before mental health issues become the equal of physical health issues in the workplace, but the business environment is beginning to change, and small businesses can play a key role in that.
The World Health Organization states that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Small businesses that are genuinely committed to supporting employees with mental health issues and to improving employee wellbeing overall are likely to find themselves with strong reputations and loyal, committed staff teams.
A busy year ahead
With so much political and economic turmoil in the world, small businesses are likely to have a busy year ahead if they want to succeed. Determination, resilience and flexibility have never been more important.
Tomedes is happy to be able to help small businesses achieve their goals in 2019. Aside from our expert translation and localization services, we provide a handy Text Summarizer Tool, which is freely available to small businesses and other users. Check it out to find out how it could benefit your company this year!