Looking to stay ahead, minimize risk and optimize opportunity are key in business. It’s important to stay ahead regarding trends and knowledge.

  1. Cyber Security:

Last month we spoke about cybersecurity threats especially ransomware and the importance of making sure that I/T essentials are in place.  With many people working from home, the incidents are growing as attackers find easy pickings to hold data storage hostage and gain easy money. Perhaps you’re thinking because there’s only you in the business you don’t need to worry, yet we’re all vulnerable. VPN’s, USB’s, Wi-Fi, vendors and contacts, make easy avenues of entry. If you want to listen to what experts had to say, go to https://gofarconsulting.com/businesses-collaborating-during-the-crisis/ and log in for the recording.

  1. Task Automation:

We’ve reached an era where the boring repetitive jobs cause more human error and don’t fulfill our needs. More and more tasks are becoming automated, making life easier and more efficient. Delegation is an important choice for many businesses looking to grow. We can delegate to others and create automation, freeing up more time for other activities. People don’t become obsolete; it enables us to accomplish more in other arenas. Watch out for what you automate and delegate. Automated customer service is fine to a certain extent. Last week was the final straw with Comcast and their automated phone service, when I kept being sent around in circles, never getting to speak to a real person. Build automation around core values. Southwest have great in-person customer service that really does sway our choice to choose them. They have polite, helpful, real people at the end of the phone.

  1. Being Eco Friendly:

Many are becoming more aware of the environment and the consequences of our wasteful commercial world. My son sat there while we were talking, snipping up the plastic rings that hold bottles together. I asked him what he was doing. He said, “Most of this ends up in the ocean, and the marine life will get caught and die. Our generation have been taught to cut it up to save lives”. Many Gen Z will look at the ecofriendly side of business and buy from those that they resonate with. It’s important for us all to be mindful of waste and recycling. Become aware of the many items that we think are ecofriendly but really are not. It’s not just about the recycle label, which we think are being recycled when putting items into recycle bins. Most garbage companies don’t recycle these items due to it costing them too much money to do so. See what can be done to promote an ecofriendly environment. Research items bought on a regular basis to see if they truly are being recycled.

  1. Remote Working Environment:

Recently our world’s been turned topsy-turvy with the COVID 19 pandemic accelerating a world of remote workers. The upside is definitely shorter commutes, as we walk from one side of the house to the other, along with flexibility. Freedom is an important factor for most young families, opting to choose to work where and when they want to enabling them to enjoy a family/work life balance. The downside can be distractions, miscommunication, more risk and liability. Make sure to stay in touch regularly with employees, strategic relationships and build on focus, appreciation and culture.

  1. Gig Workers on the Rise

Gig workers are those who are independent contractors, freelancers or temporary workers that usually have agreements, often project based or with shorter-term contracts. It’s estimated that between 20-30% of the workforce are now gig workers in the United States and Europe. The advantages of flexibility and efficiency can seem appealing, but it’s causing concern around employment law and benefits. California changed their law for independent contractors back in January 2020. It’s definitely an area to keep on your watch list. Gig workers can be a valuable way to find talent and grow teams but be mindful of laws, compliance, and risk.

  1. e-Commerce

No surprises here as many who preferred to go to retail stores have now been thrown into online purchases, a trend that’s been rising over the years. A business that doesn’t have an online presence or have a ‘virtual life’ isn’t going to survive easily over time. Make sure to create an online presence with history to be visible. Many excellent businesses have failed because nobody knew they were there. An online presence is absolutely essential.

  1. Virtual World

This year more people have been working on virtual platforms and the acceleration of this technology has gone crazy to keep up with demand and expectations. The pressure is on for companies such as Zoom, BlueJeans, Webex, GoTo Webinar etc. to compete for being the most robust and reliable in our ever-growing virtual world.

What is your business doing to keep current in the virtual world? This is an area for opportunity, growth, training, saving expenses as well as expanding reach.

Entrepreneurs have become more creative in working in the virtual world, using drones, Skype, What’s App, FaceTime and other Apps to connect virtually with their clients, especially in the tech training and sales environment. Realtors have become proficient in virtual tours to enable potential homeowners to make decisions about property. It’s important to learn fast and stay on top of latest trends otherwise we’ll get left behind. Sales and visibility can be lost overnight if we don’t stay current.

  1. Online Banking

Remember the days when money passed from hand to hand? It was easier to keep track of spending. Now most people use cards and online banking. Depositing and transferring money from accounts on our phone are normal. Fraudulent activity is on the rise, be careful with passwords. It’s more important now to watch out for fees and charges that you don’t recognize. Only last month, I noticed some small charges of $39 and $41 that could be easily missed yet were actually fraudulent activity. Keep up with bookkeeping and make sure to go over monthly statements to prevent identity theft and fraud. Make sure to watch the spending and still allocate budgets. More businesses fail because of poor financial knowledge, know your numbers.

  1. Marketing Savvy

There’s a great book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhhig, which explains how we do many things the way we do. There’s a specific section about the power of marketing and how we’re influenced. Now, with artificial intelligence and algorithms, we are being influenced more than we realize. How can we use this technology to our advantage in our marketing and sales to create opportunity, compete and build our business? Business intelligence and performance analytics provide valuable insights to make better decisions. Yes, we definitely need that human touch, connection and relationships, this is vital for growth and retention. It’s also about finding and connecting with our target market on the internet so it doesn’t feel like ‘a needle in a haystack’ approach. Learn from Youtube, videos, internet, workshops and experts to keep up to date. Saving time in this arena can give us more time to spend with clients and have them feel special.

  1. Customer Expectations

Did you know that 80% of shoppers use mobile phones in-store to check product prices and reviews? Mobile web adoption is growing 8 times faster than web adoption did in the 1990s. Extend customer service support through social media and live chat options via the internet and mobile platforms. This can increase annual customer satisfaction scores by nearly 20%. It’s important to give quick responses and timely access to information, yet not have this be a distraction.

In short, keep up to date, make sure to stay in touch with new trends to create opportunity. Be present and have the ability to pivot in a heartbeat like many have had to do recently. Remember, the aim is be successful and bring value to others.