3 Trends for Business Owners and Enterprises to Watch in 2018

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Business Trends
Here are 3 major trends that are especially important for small-business owners like you. Flickr/ Robert Douglass

Believe it or not, 2018 is nearly halfway gone. And in the first half of this year, some important trends have begun to emerge in the business world. From new technology to new ways of marketing, these trends can have a direct impact on the success of your business. Of course, the trends of major conglomerates might not have a heavy effect on your small business, but here are 3 major trends that are especially important for small-business owners like you.

Marketing with Micro-Influencers

Using major social media influencers as promoters for your business is hardly a new idea, and is built off the even older marketing tactic of paid celebrity endorsements. But the biggest social media influencers (those with millions of followers), have a lot of requests for endorsements, and charge an average of $800 just to share a sponsored post.

So if you’ve been less than successful at getting these “macro-influencers” to promote your business or enterprise, focus your efforts instead on “micro-influencers.” These social media stars usually have under 100,000 followers, but that’s still an enormous audience that you can reach out to. With a smaller price tag (averaging just $271 to share a sponsored post), they’re usually more affordable for small-business owners.

But more importantly, micro-influencers tend to have a closer connection to their smaller audience. They’re essentially the social media equivalent of a small business themselves—serving a smaller customer base with more specific needs. This can make them a better choice for your small business regardless of the price tag associated with their endorsements.

Turning Customers into Innovators

Businesses of all sizes have come to realize that there is one innovation source that has been sorely underutilized in the past—the customers themselves. And best of all, this well of ideas is pretty much free to tap into. Consumers are always happy to provide ideas that will provide them with problem-solving products, and an overall better user experience.

This is especially important among large businesses and enterprises. In the past, many consumers believed large companies to be too impersonal, and often felt that their opinions went unheard. But as innovation and idea management software has been introduced to the market, these businesses can now more easily receive, filter, organize, and implement the feedback they receive from their clients and customers, turning it into usable ideas to improve their businesses.

The innovation software company Qmarkets refers to this as “harnessing the wisdom of the crowd,” and it’s a trend that many businesses and enterprises are jumping into. With just a few tools, and some old-fashioned persistence, any company can turn their customers into innovators for the business.

Using Freelancers

Working with reliable freelancers used to take extensive networking, and often resulted in subpar results. To avoid the hassle of this, a lot of business owners may sacrifice additional funds for the convenience of having a dedicated, full-time employee. And while there are certainly benefits to having an on-site worker, some tasks simply don’t call for a full-time (or even a part-time) worker, and hiring one for a short-term project is a serious waste of company funds.

But with the growth of freelance websites like Upwork and Fiverr, finding and contracting with these free-range workers has become incredibly easy, and substantially more reliable. Now, a business owner can get professional-level graphics from a graphic designer in India, without worrying about the complications involved with international contracts. Plus, with the additional competition this creates among freelance workers, you can get the work that your company needs completed at a lower cost.

With freelance websites continuing to expand and becoming easier and more affordable to use, working with highly skilled professional on short-term contracts is becoming a very popular trend in 2018. Businesses can now achieve the perfect balance between dedicated, full-time employees, and temporary freelancers. Finding this balance can help your company to run more smoothly, and with lower overhead costs.

While business trends can change quite rapidly, each of these 3 small-business trends are sure to hold water throughout the rest of 2018, and will likely continue into 2019 as well; the incredible benefits they offer simply don’t go out of style.