05 Feb The Top Small Business Trends of 2019
The books have closed on 2018. For some, it was a year of unbridled success. For others, even keeping the doors open was a struggle. But for most, the year was full of peaks and valleys. 2019 is a new year, full of new trends and opportunities.
Business trends can be unpredictable. They’re susceptible to changes in technology, the economy, legislation, and more. Whether you’re maintaining a business or looking to start one, we want you to be successful. Here are our top 5 predictions for small businesses in 2019. Use them to start (and end) your 2019 with a bang.
1. User reviews are driving purchasing decisions.
Customers have more choices than ever. Because of the prevalence of online reviews, customers also have more influence than ever. It’s vital that your business stands out, but you have to stand out in the right way. If someone searches for “auto shops near me” and your business listing shows up plastered with negative reviews, you’re not making the right impression. And you can be sure that prospective customers are searching.
Uninformed purchases are a relic of the past. 86% of consumers reported reading reviews for local businesses before making a purchasing decision. As millennials and Gen Z gain more buying power, expect that number to go up (95% of people aged 18-34 reported reading reviews of local businesses before making a purchasing decision).
Reviews (or lack of them) can influence a potential customer toward or away from your business. As a business owner, you need to be proactive so you’re not being overlooked. To confront this trend head-on, you’ll need to monitor review sites. While you can’t 100% control what customers post about your business online, you should address every negative review. If you’re not sure how to respond, here are a few ideas to get you started.
If you know a customer has had a fantastic experience with you, encourage them to leave a review!
2. Consumers are worried about the security of their personal information.
Some very large, very public data breaches took place in 2018. Justifiably, consumer awareness of data security is at an all-time high. According to a report by Marketing Dive, 71% of US consumers voiced concern about how brands and companies handle their personal data.
Various high-profile companies like T-Mobile and Facebook were breached last year, but just because your business isn’t a corporate giant doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take cybersecurity seriously. 62% of cyberattacks target small-to-medium-sized businesses.
A data breach can be devastating, often costing time, money, and peace of mind. Even worse, a data breach can cost your business its hard-earned reputation. Thankfully, the vast majority of data breaches are avoidable.
PCI Compliance Data Security Standards are in place to ensure your card processing environment is safe and that your employees are appropriately handling sensitive information. Make sure your business remains in compliance at all times. You don’t want to be the one calling your customers to confess that you allowed their personal information to fall into the wrong hands.
3. Customer service is more important than ever.
With all the technological trends and advancements in the business world, it’s easy to forget that great customer service is what actually entices consumers to break out their credit cards. A survey conducted by American Express revealed that 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers prefer to do business with companies known for delivering great customer service, even if it costs them more money.
Once a customer walks through your doors or, depending on how you do business, visits your website, your focus should be on providing such great service that they can’t wait to return. Our top tips? Know your product, make sure your staff knows your product, and deliver friendly, personalized service. Over 84% of consumers say that being treated like a person, not a number, factors into their purchasing decisions.
Live chat and automated phone systems have made businesses more efficient and reduced overhead costs. But that doesn’t mean your potential customers don’t crave human connection. Remember: technology should enhance customer service, not replace it.
4. Recruiting and retaining talent is a challenge.
In 2018, the US unemployment rate dipped to 3.7% (the lowest in nearly 50 years), and that trend is expected to continue throughout 2019. While that’s good news for job-seekers, it also means that small businesses will need to compete with other, larger entities if they want to attract and retain top talent.
Competitive wages and benefits will always be important to your potential employees. If you’re not sure what to offer, websites like PayScale will give you an idea of the market rates for various jobs in your area. But, though wages are important, money isn’t everything. Millennials especially have reported that flexibility and company culture are more important to them than a large paycheck. A fun work environment, opportunities for professional development, and the ability to work from home are benefits your company can leverage to attract and keep its best employees.
Consider the costs involved with replacing employees that leave, losing customers dissatisfied with poor service, and under-motivated employees calling in “sick,” and you’ll quickly see how retaining top talent can make or break a business.
5. The market is full of opportunity.
As a child, John Paul DeJoria sold Christmas cards so his family could eat. When he didn’t have enough money for college, he moved to selling encyclopedias. In 1980, he founded John Paul Mitchell Systems with a $700 loan. Today, he’s worth $3.1 billion.
Though starting your own business can definitely be a risk, the market is still just as full of opportunity. In 2018, 78% of small business owners reported that their businesses were profitable. Most industries (especially restaurants, health, and beauty services) saw growth last year, and consumer spending is still on the rise. Intuit recently projected that the number of US small businesses will increase from 30 million to 42 million by 2026.
If you’re an aspiring business owner, now’s a good time to go from aspiring to actual. But you don’t have to do it alone. Programs like the one run by the U.S Small Business Administration have timely, helpful advice for hopeful entrepreneurs. Banks around the country offer loans tailored to small businesses and start-ups, and the right processor can get you started accepting payments quickly and easily.
BASYS Processing as a business partner
Does your current processor understand the unique struggles of your industry? Do they provide great rates and personal customer service? Are they offering solutions to grow your business and being proactive about helping you reduce risk and increase your savings?
BASYS Processing features:
• A friendly, live voice will answer the phone when you call; no automated phone systems
• In-house PCI Compliance team to walk you through the process step-by-step, improving security and reducing costs
• A knowledgeable Account Manager assigned to your business to support your needs
• Accept payments in person, over the phone or online
• Next-day funding options
About BASYS Processing
BASYS Processing provides credit card and debit card processing services, plus solutions that include terminals, virtual terminals, e-commerce, mobile, and point-of-sale, customized to fit any need. Banks, associations, and software partners depend on us to strengthen their reputations and relationships with their customers by providing remarkable service paired with ultimate flexibility and pricing. Merchants depend on us to make accepting credit cards and debit cards convenient, safe & affordable. BASYS was founded in 2002 on one philosophy: to take care of our merchants, partners, and employees so they never want to leave. We are dedicated to working one-on-one with our customers to design the perfect solution. BASYS is Personal Payment Processing.
Learn more at basyspro.com, and connect with us online at: