The year has just begun, but it’s easy to see which business trends are having on impact across the country.
For business owners who already feel behind this year, there is still hope. All these entrepreneurs need to do to get back in the game is catch up on a few trends that are really taking off at the beginning of 2017. Business owners who manage to implement these strategies such as specialization over generalization, access to mobile payments and big data position themselves as the leaders in their respective industries. Those who don’t might find themselves struggling to keep up with their competitors and lose influence with consumers.
These are some of the major trends business owners should consider joining in 2017 and beyond:
Accept mobile payments
Consumers are increasingly open to using technology while they shop, and mobile payments are on the forefront of that movement. Many shoppers enjoy the convenience of having the credit or debit cards stored right on their smartphones because it gives them one less thing to keep track of. This not only means business owners need to adopt mobile payments as soon as possible; it also means they need to start advertising that mobile pay is available at their stores or their websites so consumers know they have that option.
Revenue from mobile payments is expected to increase exponentially over the next few years. Experts expect global sales from mobile payments to increase from $780 billion to more than $1 trillion in 2019, according to a report from Statista. Small business owners who want to stay competitive in their industries can’t afford to miss out on this revenue stream.
To help pay for the technology that will enable mobile payments in their stores, in addition to advertising to promote the option to customers, entrepreneurs should apply for a small business loan from an alternative lender. Unlike traditional banks that make applicants jump through hoops, alternative lenders can approve borrowers for a loan in as little as 24 hours to help keep a business running smoothly.
Find a niche
It’s no longer good enough to simply offer a generic experience and products to customers. Business owners who want to truly stand out and thrive moving forward need to establish why they’re better than their competitors and what they can provide that others can’t. This is important for several reasons.
First, businesses that offer a unique product or service increase the likelihood of earning customer referrals. For example, if a company is the only business in an area that sells picture frames, then local consumers will likely come to that store when they are thinking about decorating their home. It might be less beneficial to sell other interior decorating products if other businesses already sell them. Instead, that business would likely see more benefit from focusing on picture frames because no one else is competing with them.
By offering specialized products and services, entrepreneurs can help ensure their business will consistently provide something to consumers that others can’t, which will help drive business for years to come.
Nearly every aspect of a company’s business strategy can be improved through the effective use of data. Using CRM technology, entrepreneurs can analyze sales, marketing, the supply chain, expenditures and more to help identify inefficiencies as well as areas where businesses are thriving. Throughout 2017 and beyond, it’s going to be critical for business owners to quickly figure out and remedy any problems a company is experiencing, otherwise, they risk losing customers and falling behind their competitors.
Those who use their customer data effectively will be able to identify trends in consumer habits, which will allow them to stay ahead of rapidly changing customer preferences. In this day and age, customer loyalty can change on a whim if they believe a company is no longer serving their best interest, so it’s crucial for business owners to know exactly what shoppers are looking for.
To finance the upgrade to CRM technology or any other upgrades a business requires to stay competitive, entrepreneurs should look to alternative business financing. Loans from alternative lenders are hassle-free, and borrowers can get their money quickly to make adjustments without any major delays due to cash flow.