Top Trends Small Business Owners Should Be On Top Of

An article recently published by Entrepreneur talks about how this year will be influenced a lot by the “macro-economic conditions and technological changes being implemented” in the small business market and I must say that I agree.

We’re facing an on-demand economy and we have to keep up—here are some of the top trends worth noting…

Self-employment is on the rise

“As of May 2015, 15.5 million people in the U.S. were self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—an increase of roughly 1 million since May 2014. That number is expected to keep growing at a steady clip. By 2020, a separate study estimates that more than 40% of the American workforce, or 60 million people, will be independent workers—freelancers, contractors, and temporary employees.”

This trend empowered by technology that allows people to collaborate, communicate and be more productive regardless of where they are. It’s a dynamic trend that is strongly anchored on how cloud-enabled solutions answer to an economy that wants everything at the speed of need.

What does this mean for small businesses? More options, more competition and a more serious look at the regulations and standards that govern the freelancing workforce.

Technology is making it a whole lot easier for small businesses to level the playing field

“There are now more ways to work remotely than ever before, from devices, apps, and other personal technology that lets us communicate with one another from virtually everywhere. But there’s another kind of technology that plays an arguably bigger role—platforms designed to match companies with talent.”

Access to a bigger talent pool via online platforms that match employers to employees, accessible cloud solutions designed to enable better collaboration and communication as well as productivity, and ability to gather valuable data and analytics are making it possible for small business owners to stay competitive.

Today we see the cost of similar technology being scaled down so that smaller scale businesses can utilize the same tools without having to invest in millions worth of infrastructure.

The cloud is finally becoming an intrinsic part of doing business

More people are putting their trust on the cloud. Throughout the years, the technology has only gotten better and more efficient—not to mention more affordable. As companies recognize the need to cut corners where they can, they realize that the IT infrastructure helping their business grow and flourish shouldn’t have to be one of them.

Cloud solutions make it possible for businesses to scale up or scale down as needed while ensuring that collaboration, productivity and communication is enabled. There’s also the fact that as more members of the younger generations join the workforce, these digital natives will seek out more innovative ways to do their work, which cloud solutions address.

Integration opportunities abound as more and more cloud companies are providing APIs (Application Programing Interface) that allow IT solution partners to integrate work processes across different cloud solutions.  These integrations can automate processes and provide advanced visibility into customer interactions that were never before possible.  These possibilities can include integrating your cloud voice system with your CRM for screen pop-ups or your online meeting rooms integrated with Box.com to notify team members of the latest version of the proposal.

The bottomline

The opportunities for small business and the convergence of technology makes it easier to open and run a business. The cloud, mobile and ubiquitous internet blurs international and state barriers, opening up global opportunities never before available to small businesses.