2018 is right around the corner. You’re still making plans for Boxing Day and New Year’s, your fridge is full of eggnog and champagne, and you’re receiving holiday cards from people you don’t remember.
But even with all the holiday madness, your mind is still on business.
Don’t worry. Ours is too.
It is a time for optimism, and contemplation. Here is some food for thought on trends to expect in 2018.
Learn From Your Past
Before you even start to dig into what to do in 2018, you need to know what you did right in 2017. Give yourself a good, thorough audit on the last year or so. Look at it all… the good, the bad, and the ugly. What did you do right? What did you do wrong? Take a look at all the big decisions you made, and what results they led to.
- Dig into any customer feedback you received (and if you never received any, now is the time to ask for it) and see how you can make improvements, or capitalize on the successes.
- Review the major business challenges you faced, and how you resolved them.
It won’t always be easy, and sometimes it will be downright painful.
But at the end of the day, you’ll be surprised with how much you can learn just from taking an objective look at yourself. We can talk about the future of small business and expected 2018 trends all we want, but you need to be familiar with your OWN trends, first. And when you’re done with your self-review, put your competitors through the same process. Identify their strengths and weaknesses in 2017. Trust us, they’ll be doing the same to you. Don’t worry too much about making comparisons, just be objective. Look at what worked, and what didn’t. Look at what people are saying about them.
Knowing what to do (and what not to do) will get you halfway to your 2018 roadmap.
Know What to Expect
Okay. So we have a good idea about what we want to carry over from 2017, and what we want to fix. Now it’s time to try to stay ahead of the curve, and figure out what 2018 is going to look like.
First, let’s talk economy. Most entrepreneurs believe the economy will continue to improve throughout 2018. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, they’re not wrong. The OECD expects Canada’s economy to keep growing, albeit slowly. As in, just a few percent slowly. Which means you don’t need to brace yourself for collapse, but you can’t count on a huge surge, either. The growth should be enough to boost your numbers a bit, but not so huge that you’ll have to form a new game plan.
Now, geography. Entrepreneurship is expanding, in more ways than one. As the importance of brick-and-mortar shops lessens, small businesses are moving out of the big cities and into midsize cities. It’s easier to manage your bottom line if your cost of living and cost of business is lower. 2018 could be a good time to pull up stakes and relocate.
Security has become a huge buzzword in the last year, and that is expected to be a top-of-mind trend for consumers in 2018. With all of the recent data breaches in some big-name companies, consumers are far more nervous about putting their personal information out there. Make sure your security is top-of-the-line, and make sure your customers know it. GoDaddy SSL is a fantastic way to keep your customers’ data protected. With the strongest encryption on the market and 24/7 security support, your customers will feel safe doing business with you.
2018 is a year for big tech trends. You’ll hear more about cryptocurrency, the “internet of things”, and a huge push for augmented intelligence (essentially A.I. meant to work with humans, not instead of them.) But the real trend at the core of that, is simplicity.
Consumers are looking for a streamlined experience. They want a seamless blend between online and offline engagement. They want to go paperless, they want automated operations, and they want constant access. So what does this mean for you? Make sure your customers’ experience with your business is pain-free. Make sure you are up to date with the latest tech, and that your user experience is pleasant and intuitive. Services like GoDaddy Hosting and Online Marketing help make sure that 2018 will be a breeze for both sides of the customer-business relationship.
Be Ready for Anything
Last but not least, you need to be ready for anything. We can talk about business trends, and economic forecasts, and consumer optimism. But the reality is, none of us have a crystal ball. We can make educated guesses and extrapolate from the data we have, but you have to be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice. Keep an eye out for new emerging trends, continue monitoring consumer feedback, and pay attention to the little stuff. Keep your finger on the pulse, and make changes as needed. If you don’t like the trends, set new ones. Blaze a trail. We’ve got 24/7 support to back you up every step of the way.