77% of small business owners say that they feel optimistic about their future, according to a survey by Gallup. While this optimism puts you in good stead, to ensure you make a success of your small business, you need to put in hard work and dedicate plenty of time to it. That’s why you should be prepared for 2020’s biggest small business trends and have the necessary steps in place to grow your company now.
Whether you sell physical products or offer a service, customer reviews are an important part of your business, but in 2020, reviews will become even more crucial. Research from Fan & Fuel found that 92% of customers will think twice about a purchase if there aren’t any reviews available. Meanwhile, positive feedback results in customers typically spending 31% more than they otherwise would have, so the need to encourage customers to leave comments online about your small business is something you must work on. Ways to do this include:
- Offering incentives
- Sending prompts
- Responding to online feedback regardless of whether it’s good or bad
- Setting up a simple review system, such as a star rating system
- Providing multiple review platforms, such as on your company’s website, social media pages, and via an email form
88% of consumers say that they want companies to offer more sustainable products to help them reduce their carbon footprint. If that’s not enough to tempt you to go green than data from the New York University Center for Sustainable Business (CBS) certainly will. They report that sustainable products have seen a 5.6 times faster growth rate than non-sustainable items, and 66% of consumers say they’ll pay more for them. But when you do overhaul your product selection, ensure that you have the relevant Product Liability insurance in place so that if any recalls arise, your business isn’t left paying out of pocket.
Demand for office space
35% of workers in the U.S. are freelancers, according to the Freelancing in America study. However, freelancing is much more than just the casual role that it was a few years ago. In just five years, an additional 10 million people have taken to freelancing on a permanent basis, and this figure looks set to rise further in 2020.
As a result, many of these individuals will require small office space that they can use for work purposes. Small businesses in the real estate market should therefore carefully consider the property options that they offer.
Rather than letting out one large unit, you could make more cash from separating a large premise into small office units suitable for one person each. Buying property for rental purposes will allow you to do this, and the income you make from each freelancer you rent out to will provide you with the funds to pay off your mortgage, and give you a little extra in the bank each month.
Plus, with the number of freelancers projected to rise to 90.1 million by 2028, your investment property will always be a viable office option for local workers. But whatever you do, make sure you’ve got Commercial Property insurance in place to safeguard your premises.
Even if your small business is like the average U.S. small business and employs fewer than 100 members of staff, you need to offer them worker flexibility. Experts predict that in 2020 there will be a significant decline in the number of employees working 9-5 and more working remotely.
However, if you do opt to increase your remote workforce, it’s important that you don’t forgo Employee Practices Liability insurance (EPLI) as this will cover you for any potential employee injury claims. As long as you’ve got this sorted, there are plenty of benefits in offering flexibility in your workplace in 2020, including:
Lower employee turnover - remote work typically reduces employee turnover by 25%.
Happier and more productive staff - research shows that allowing staff members to work remotely just once a month boosts morale by 24%.
Less staff absence - evidence suggests that the majority of remote workers will take just 2 to 3 weeks off per year.
63% of consumers say that when they’re shopping they want a unique and personalized experience. By offering this to them, you’ll keep your customers coming back time and time again and will ultimately grow your business. Thankfully, there are multiple ways you can achieve this and you can even take inspiration from one of the biggest and most successful companies in the world:
Offer unique products - customers don’t want to turn up to work with the same bag, wearing the same piece of clothing, or item of jewelry as someone else. So, be sure to offer bespoke pieces that are customizable.
Recommend items - when you load up Amazon’s main page, you’re hit with multiple product recommendations based on the items you’ve previously bought or browsed. This is a great way of making your customers feel valued and personalizes their shopping experience every time they shop.
Address your customers by name - let your customers know that you appreciate them by sending texts, emails, and social media notifications addressed directly to them.
Small businesses will continue to dominate in 2020. But to ensure that your small business is one step ahead of the game and is ready for significant growth, you need to watch out for these trends and start working on implementing them now.
Amy Fletcher is a freelance writer and researcher with a keen interest in business management. In recent years she has written for various online magazines, journals, and blogs. When she's not writing she enjoys long walks with her daughter and two dogs.