2016 has offered small business owners and entrepreneurs so many changes, improvements and developments. Internet marketing, social media and e-commerce continue to be a driving force that allows businesses to reach potential customers. Advancements in modern business technology has also provided opportunities to develop low-cost products and services. Consider the following list of business trends that will continue to have a big impact on factoring companies, small businesses and entrepreneurs in 2017.
E-commerce is attracting Internet users to the Web in masses, with retail spending continuing to rise in the U.S. Shipping fees are also playing a huge role in customers’ decision processes. For example, 58 percent of consumers say that, when presented with offers for free shipping, they are more than willing to add items to their virtual shopping carts to meet the free-shipping threshold.
According to comScore, “Online shoppers around the world want the ability to search and shop on multiple channels and devices, expect to see alternate delivery and payment options, and when it comes to shipping and returns, ‘free’ is a driving factor to complete the sale.”
Other developing areas of e-commerce include mobile commerce and social e-commerce. Consumers now enjoy the convenience of making purchases with a few swipes and clicks on their smartphones. In fact, mobile devices are quickly becoming the most used platform for researching and securing goods and services. A survey by Forrester in 2014 revealed that mobile payments would generate $142 billion over the next five years in the U.S. alone.
The millennial generation - the oldest members now in their early 30s - is quickly reinventing the way businesses manage the workplace. Millennials insist upon comprehensive leadership and growth opportunities within every position they fulfill. Transparency, collaboration and a flawless work-life balance are all attributes millennials aspire to have, both within and outside the workplace. That awkward adjustment period previous generations struggled with when adopting new technologies has been erased, thanks to millennials’ ability to effortlessly embrace new changes and improvements as they are announced. In general, the millennial generation places much emphasis and value on quality and ethics; thus, they prefer to use technology tools for collaboration, project management and workflow optimization.
A useful insight for small businesses marketing, Entrepreneur Magazine shares that “In return for improved products and services, 86 percent of millennials are willing to provide insight on their consumer habits and decision-making processes, often through the use of online surveys.”
3. Web Presence
Tech start-ups are not the only businesses that benefit from the services Internet-based technology provides. The availability of this technology provides small businesses of every industry with affordable and attainable solutions. Ultimately, it allows small businesses to have more control over marketing, brand development and customer engagement. Even so, small business owners’ websites do not always reflect the use of such Internet tools.
According to a Local Search Association Insider (LSA Insider) report, nearly half of small business owners’ websites are not accessible via mobile. In addition, local directory and advertising provider Hibu published a report that revealed a massive 45 percent of small businesses have no website at all. Considering the pivotal role a business’ website, reviews and testimonials play in consumer’s decision making, web presence is not a trend to be overlooked.
4. Content Marketing
The Independent We Stand (IWS) campaign reported that 97 percent of Internet users conduct online research before committing to a purchase. This research also influences whether they share the product/services with others online. With the number of consumers and buyers using online research continuing to increase, businesses are realizing the importance of integrating sales and content marketing. Ultimately, providing articles and videos helps to educate consumers and to build trust surrounding their purchase(s). With an increased demand for product, companies often use factors to meet the demand.
According to Forbes, “The goal is to ensure that when customers search for risks, challenges, and implementation strategies associated with your solutions, they will find your content to address their questions.”
Video has quickly become essential for small businesses, especially as a source of information for executives themselves. A recent Forbes study revealed that 80 percent of executives watch more online videos today than they did a year ago, 75 percent watch work-related videos on business-related websites weekly, and 65 percent visit a vendor’s website after watching a video. 52 percent of executives surveyed also shared that they watch work-related videos on YouTube at least once a week.
Videos are a valuable content source for consumers. They answer questions, while also connecting with customers in a more personable way than reading an article. In fact, if you want to make sure the entire message is consumed, video tends to be the preferred medium. Information derived from Hubspot’s Consumer Behavior Survey supports this: 55 percent of users confirm they will consume an entire video, compared to 29 percent for blogs and 33 percent for interactive articles.
6. Remote Employees
Ten years ago, many had never heard of a remote employee. Today, however, most tech companies and startups are hiring remotely – and very successfully too. This trend is now trickling over into other industries as well. More and more workers are putting together careers of their own making (freelancing, job sharing, etc.). A 2014 study commissioned by the Freelancers Union revealed that 53 million in the U.S. alone are independent workers; that is 34 percent of the total workforce. This study also estimated that this number will rise to 50 percent by 2020.
According to MBO Partners, “In the last five years the number of independent workers in the U.S. has risen 12%.”
Ultimately, this trend will lead to an emphasis on talent, rather than capital. In embracing this change now and investing in training these remote employees, businesses have the opportunity to hire talented individuals for positions, regardless of where they live.
7. Online lending
One of the biggest and most significant trends for small businesses is online lending. Because traditional lenders typically categorize small businesses as being too “high risk”, these business owners must seek services elsewhere. A Harvard Business School paper titled “The State of Small-Business Lending” found that this trend was driven by the “simplicity and convenience of the application process, speed of delivery of capital and a greater focus on customer service.”
There are many different online lending models available to small businesses. For example, peer-to-peer lending platforms connect institutional investors to small businesses. This trend has also shifted online lending toward investment crowdfunding opportunities. For those in need of vital cash flow to meet operational expenses or cover expansion, invoice factoring and purchase ordering financing (or PO funding) solutions from an alternative provider – like Security Business Capital – generate cash on hand without the endless requirements and stress of traditional financing.
Business Financing Solutions with Security Business Capital
One of the biggest problems a small business faces is securing the working capital it needs to cover operational expenses and/or continue to expand. The team of experts at Security Business Capital specialize in helping companies secure the funds they need to operate smoothly, grow their business and take advantage of opportunities - minus the high interest rates and costs. If your startup or small business is seeking alternative financing solutions, Security Business Capital offers a fast, simple and hassle-free set up process. Temp staffing, oil and gas, transportation, manufacturing and distribution, business services and government are just a few of the industries SBC provides services to.
To learn more about Security Business Capital’s invoice factoring option (or other services, like PO financing), contact SBC for a free quote and/or consultation.