It’s that time of year when all the experts put on their prognosticating hats and tell us what’s going to be big in 2014. It can be exhausting, not to mention confusing, to take in all this information. So, to save you precious time, I scoured blog posts and articles from one end of the Internet to the other and found three trends that are mentioned repeatedly as major developments that you should be aware of as you plan to grow your small business in 2014. Here they are:
• New payment methods – The momentum behind electronic wallets, mobile credit card payments, smartphone-powered gift cards, and other forms of new payment methods will continue to grow in 2014. It is only a matter of time before cash transactions at retail locations become a rarity. If your business has a cash register, it is imperative that you get up to speed on this rapidly evolving technological change so you can determine the best course of action to provide your customers with the increased convenience they crave when it comes to paying for goods and services.
• Cloud-based software – Keeping up to date with the latest software has always been expensive for small businesses. Because of the expense, many business owners opt to stick with the tried and true and miss out on the efficiencies and capabilities that come with new software. But now along comes cloud-based software, which in many cases is either free or offered on a less-expensive pay-for-use basis.
Not only does cloud-based software reduce costs, but it also provides more security since nothing is stored on hard drives or other media that can crash and burn or be lost or stolen. And the accessibility can’t be beat; you and your employees can access documents anywhere, any time on any device.
I could go on and on about the benefits of this technological innovation, but suffice it to say that this is a money-saving trend that you need to consider when you’re reviewing your IT capabilities and needs for 2014. If you’re still not convinced, here is a good article that provides more info on this development.
• Videos as a marketing tool – If you’re looking to rev up your marketing in 2014, consider the growing power and popularity of videos. With 100 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every hour, you are wise to give serious consideration as to how you can make use of this popular medium as part of your social media marketing. Also, the trend in all social media is shorter, shorter, shorter, so consider tools like Vine, which features 6-second videos, and Instagram, which features 15-second videos that can be fully integrated with your Facebook page.