Small Business Trends in 2016

With several weeks under our belt in the New Year, how successful have you been at keeping those New Year’s resolutions you made? Furthermore, did you think to make ones for your small business? The good news is you still have time to work on both, and we encourage you to consider trends in the small business sector to create realistic expectations and develop effective tactics to reach those goals. We know that a small business has to change and adapt more than a Fortune 500 corporation to survive. We also know that staying current on the latest trends can be difficult, so here are four trends we anticipate in 2016 that can help your small business grow.

Changes in Payment Security

October 2015 marked the deadline for the EMV Liability Shift wherein businesses that hadn’t converted to an EMV Chip-compatible credit card terminal, would be liable for any occurrence of fraud. With this deadline comes an increased responsibility on behalf of the small business, as most small businesses do not have the financial resources to withstand a major fraud event.

The EMV chip is an excellent place to start as it is just as easy to use as a traditional card reader and features significantly stronger protection against fraud. With the implementation of the EMV chip, as well as a variety of online payment options for online-only small businesses, there is no shortage of ways for business owners to protect themselves and their clients against fraud in 2016.

Employee Benefits and Rewards

More and more small business owners are learning that their companies are only as strong as their employees. Because of this, 2016 will see an increase in benefits, rewards and involvement from employees of all levels. For a small business, employee retention is very important for both the clients and the business. This should lead to many small businesses offering incentives to stay beyond a simple salary increase.

Small businesses are offering better benefits to their employees than ever before, going far beyond the traditional health insurance or retirement plan. These benefits can be anything from an allowance toward a gym or health club membership to bonuses based on outstanding performance each year. No matter what the benefit or incentive, 2016 will be the year that employers offer their team members something more than just a pay raise.

Collaboration

Much like the focus on employee benefits and rewards, small business owners are realizing more and more that their success is dependent on their local communities. Therefore, expect to see an increase in strategic partnerships between small businesses and their peers in 2016. These partnerships are already beginning to take place through platforms, such like Townsquared, which allow small businesses to form partnerships within their communities.

To this point, engagement within a local Chamber of Commerce is an easy way to stay connected and relevant to the business community. The networking, educational and exposure opportunities afforded to chamber members make this investment and involvement an important one to initiate.

Social Media Engagement

With the continuing trend of small businesses trying to connect with their target markets, it is important for businesses to help consumers feel like they are involved in the day-to-day or behind-the-scenes work of small businesses. Social media has always been an excellent tool for this, but with more platforms and more ways to engage their consumers, small businesses will utilize social media more than ever this year. Snapchat, Instagram and Periscope all offer excellent platforms to share a company’s work, culture and identity with its target market, allowing for more consumer engagement than ever.

The New Year always brings about excitement and hopefulness for small businesses, as this might be the year that your passion project finally takes off, or it may be the year you finally decide to act on the great idea you’ve had brewing. We hope that these four trends get you thinking about what you can change and achieve in the year to come, and we invite you to contact the Chamber at info@southavenchamber.com if you have any questions about how we can help.