Small business tech trends to watch in 2018

Small business tech trendsIf you’d like to save time, cut costs, improve productivity and increase sales, take a look at how the latest technologies can serve your small business in the new year.

The rise of the remote office

Although cloud-based solutions aren’t new, many anticipate remote work teams are on the rise. One reason may be that small businesses, initially slow to adopt cloud technology, are now realising its potential; recent research shows that 78% of small businesses will fully adapt to the cloud by 2020.

The trend toward the new virtual office may come down to realising its cost-effectiveness. One study estimates the US could save more than $700 billion dollars by allowing workers to perform their jobs remotely. Studies show that productivity goes up when workers devote uninterrupted time to working. This is a challenge in a typical office environment, where socialising is part of the work day. Businesses owners benefit, too, from cost savings on rented office or retail space—and when they can select from an expanded pool of workers from anywhere in the world.

The evolution of e-commerce

It’s anticipated that worldwide e-commerce sales will exceed $4 trillion by 2020. Whether your small business sells products or services, moving into online sales can mean unlimited revenue potential, as you market to buyers outside your geographic area.

Recent technology makes it easier and more cost-effective than ever to build an e-commerce website. Shopify, for instance, provides an easy-to-use, affordable platform designed to help small business owners get an e-commerce site up and running quickly.

The adoption of automation

Business processing automation allows companies to facilitate greater growth, by reducing overhead costs while increasing efficiencies. Small business owners are increasingly taking advantage of automation to streamline time-consuming processes, such as manual accounting. It reduces the need for human resources while eliminating human error. The high return on investment is creating a real culture shift for business owners. Many already use automation to improve processes for everything from online marketing (think Hootsuite or MailChimp) to inventory management. Some predict 2018 will see a marked increase in workplace efficiency, as automation technology combines with the advance of machine learning.

The shift to the subscription model

It’s predicted the new year will also see a rise in small businesses implementing non-traditional revenue models. One recent statistic states that by 2020, 80% of software vendors will have moved to a software-as-a-paid-for service. Predictable cash flow is a compelling reason many small businesses will also make the shift to a subscription model; a model that supports recurring payments versus one-off purchasing. You can use subscription-based sales in nearly any type of business. You can use it whether you’re selling gourmet teas, craft supplies, home improvement services, or e-learning. And for business owners ready to make the leap, you can utilise those same technologies that facilitate automation and e-commerce to support a website implementing this popular sales model.

The latest advances in technology forecast a bright future for small business owners who are keen to adopt them. Which 2018 tech trends will you embrace for the enhanced success of your small business in the new year?