Though none of us can accurately predict the future, the question of what’s coming down the road for Canadian business is one experts will continue to ponder regardless. The only constant in our world is change and that rate of change has only increased in recent years. We dusted off our SBBC crystal ball to examine some 2019 Small Business Trends we predict will impact Canadian small businesses in the coming months.
The Increasing Viability of Remote Working
The days of spending eight hours per day at a desk in an office are rapidly ending. Progressive businesses have blazed a trail in allowing staff to work remotely when appropriate. This cuts down on transit and food costs for employees, while also enabling them to enjoy an improved quality of life. An expectation for 2019 is more employers will offer this option, with more employees expecting it as a perk. We’ve now reached a point where businesses who don’t offer this option are now seen as old fashioned and will struggle to compete for the best people.
Rising Interest Rates
Interest rates have seen a steady rise over the last 12 months and that trend is almost certain to continue into 2019 leaving a dual impact for small businesses to contend with. Customers with debts will have less disposable income as they are paying a higher interest on servicing their debts. Alongside this, businesses who regularly operate with an overdraft will face higher costs in meeting their own debt obligations. During this period, it’s best for businesses to be conservative with their cash flow to avoid unnecessary expenditure on debt servicing.
Blockchain is Coming
Whether you’re tech savvy or not, you’ve almost certainly heard of Bitcoin. This ‘cryptocurrency’ is just one aspect of blockchain technology, a term you’re going to become familiar with in the coming years. Blockchain technology has evolved to the point it has direct practical uses to businesses in everything from cloud storage, to business contracts, payment methods and even supply chain management. A good intro to this maturing technology is to decide whether accepting cryptocurrency as payment is right for your business.
A one size fits all approach to marketing simply doesn’t work anymore. Marketers are learning on the fly that a tailored approach isn’t just best practice, it’s necessary to compete in 2019. The abundance of data and analytics available on marketing platforms allows businesses to achieve a level of granularity with targeting that improves the quality of ads while achieving improved return on investment. If your business hasn’t yet leveraged the power of tailored marketing, 2019 is the year to begin.
Alongside this abundance of data comes ethical considerations businesses will have to address. Facebook endured a torrid 2018 as they lurched from one crisis to another due to how they handled user data. The introduction of GDPR in the European Union has created a useful template for businesses to navigate user data issues. It’s recommended to be completely upfront with your customers about how you use their data. Customers will appreciate knowing their data isn’t being used in any untoward ways.