For anyone in the financial world, 2016 has been something of a roller coaster so far. Markets falling, then rising, then falling again, without much warning and often without an obvious reason. When Wall Street gets anxious, consumers tend to follow suit, which translates into nervousness about small business. The latest survey from the National Federation of Independent Business reflects this anxiety, with respondents showing a drop in small business optimism.
Despite the concerns expressed in the NFIB report, there are some pretty good reasons to be optimistic. Here are four reasons why things look good for small business, and why things may be looking up in 2016.
Technology Keeps Getting Better And More Accessible For Small Businesses
You should do your own research before before choosing to work with one of these technology vendors to determine if they are a good fit for your business,but here are just a few of the new tech options available to small businesses. Have you heard about Amazon Flex? Or Uber’s new instant-delivery service UberRUSH? If not, it’s worth taking a look at their capabilities, and whether they could work for your business. Craig Bloem, founder and CEO of LogoMix, predicts that 2016 will be the year small businesses get to take advantage of new on-demand delivery and logistics services. He told Business News Daily, “while many large companies have processes in place for package delivery and food ordering, easy-to-use services…are great for small businesses, and more of them will start to take notice in the coming year.” Payment tools like Square, Bitcoin, Apple Pay and Google Wallet are also making it easier than ever for small businesses to manage transactions with little hassle.
Marketing Is More Nimble (And Cost Effective)
Small businesses have a major advantage over big brands when it comes to marketing: agility. A small operation can be nimble and interactive, and think on its feet, without requiring sign-off from 12 different marketing departments. Digital tools like Periscope–which enables live broadcasts over social media–are making it easier and more cost-effective than ever to speak to customers directly. Tools like Kickstarter, YouTube, and social media platforms make it simple and accessible for small businesses to reach customers on a daily basis, whether for fundraising, entertainment, or conversation.
Small Businesses Have the Human Connection Advantage
Big brands are spending a fortune on new technology like virtual reality, all to achieve the same goal: to create a deeper connection with consumers, and win their loyalty. But small businesses already have this one in the bag. Personal relationships and human connections are an integral part of what make small businesses thrive. So focusing on those relationships, and taking steps to ensure that they’re maintained, will give small business owners a boost without spending millions on flashy new storytelling devices.
Millennials Are On the Side of Small Business
“Shop local” has become a common refrain among millennials, who are moving tremendous market share to small businesses like farmers markets, craft breweries, and even independent bookstores. This generation’s strong desire for a sense of community, as well as individualized products that cater to their unique sense of style and taste, makes for a ripe environment for small businesses. Even companies who aren’t selling bespoke jewelry or home interior goods stand to benefit from this trend — this generation wants to do business with smaller organizations, be they retailers or marketing firms. All of which is fantastic news for small businesses looking down the horizon.
It’s easy to get worried at pessimistic news reports – sentiment counts for a lot, after all. But don’t let a few whispers of negatively gloss over the tremendously positive trends in small business. What positive indicators do you see in your small business life?