The past decade has drastically changed the way we do business. Dozens of trends that were supposed to be the next big thing have come and gone, only to be replaced by other hot trends that excited business owners, but only for a short period of time.
In reality, very few business trends actually stand the test of time. Usually, these are solutions that either streamline long business processes or significantly bring down If you’re starting a business or looking to expand your current venture, take note of the following modern business trends that have actually proven to be useful and are thus, worth the hype:
A few years ago, the idea of running paperless businesses seemed incredulous — impossible even. However, the advent of the digital age proved that it is 100% possible to run a successful enterprise while reaping the benefits of having paperless operations. You might think the savings you will get from never buying paper won’t be that big, but imagine never having to buy folders, printers, ink, and even filing cabinets ever again.
2. Focus on Sustainability
Another thing that makes the shift to paperless a wonderful idea is the fact that sustainability has generally been a good trend for businesses. It is, after all, the age of responsible consumerism, so clients and customers prefer environmentally conscious and socially responsible brands to associate with.
Some ways you can support the cause is by practicing recycling in the office, improving working conditions of your employees, and realigning your CSR efforts towards preserving the planet.
One of the most valuable business lessons of the past decade is that there is an alternative to working hard, and that’s working smart. If your expansive growth is constantly slowed or bogged down by mundane, everyday tasks, then you need to automate some of it. Instead of having ten different teams working on stuff like accounting, following up on suppliers, or per-client project management, get everyone onboard a resource planning system like JDE Software.
These applications are worth the hype because they take your mind off the logistical concerns so you as business owner can focus on bigger things like expanding your services and building your client base.
4. Machine Learning and AI
Speaking of automation, it’s never too late to start utilizing data to evaluate how your business is doing. Big data and machine learning are concepts that may be hard to grasp at first, but are undoubtedly helpful in improving the way you do business.
Robots may never be able to replace humans in the workplace, but they’re still great to have around for things like collecting data from clients and keeping them safe and encrypted.
5. Leveraging LinkedIn
If your brand is still not on LinkedIn, you’re missing out. Networking has always been essential in getting your brand out there, and LinkedIn remains the best place to network professionally online. There are entire courses dedicated to teaching business owners how to optimize LinkedIn for business and marketing, and they are definitely worth the hype.
6. Search Engine Optimization
Some cynics would say that search engine optimization is dead. However, 90% of people still don’t look past page 1 of their Google results whenever they want to learn about something. If you want your content to show up in the only page that matters, you have to familiarize yourself with how search engines work and how you can get them to work in your favor.
Search engines are not going anywhere, so might as well learn how you can leverage them for your own gain.
7. Gig Economy
Finally, the most recent trend to have emerged in the business scene recently is the proliferation of freelancers in the gig economy. Employee loyalty is fast becoming a thing of the past. Millennials and Gen-X workers place high value on creativity, and being able to work on several things at once. Instead of pushing for strict employee retention, you have to welcome the gig economy by exploring seasonal, project-based and remote working schemes that will allow freelancers to contribute to your business without binding them for your exclusive servitude.
Indeed, being a successful entrepreneur is being able to quickly adapt to the ever-changing terrain of doing business. Sometimes, it’s just all about having an eye for trends that are actually worth the hype — and the investment.