With the 2018 in full swing, people are making New Year’s resolutions left and right. You might want to lose weight, stop smoking or actually start visiting your parents.

Those are great but don’t limit yourself to personal resolutions. Small businesses need to gear up for the next year as well and prepare for the changes we’re likely to see.

Make some resolutions that will get you ahead of the ball, instead of getting crushed under it!

The 10 Kinds of Resolutions You Should Make for Your Small Business This Year:

1. Learn More About the Cloud

Cloud storage has been a pretty standard presence for a few years now. It’s essentially been an all-in-one solution to countless problems that evolved with the digital age, but that’s changing. Next year, expect companies to look at microservices, which involves organizations shifting from one big idea to small areas of specialization.

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So, what does this mean for you and your company? If you haven’t incorporated cloud computing into your business plan, it’s time to start. This new method of cloud computing allows you to customize more options and easily integrate it into your already existing cyber-structure. Make it a priority to find out how cloud computing microservices can benefit your business goals.

2. Merge Physical Presence with Online Presence

The common reference to the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t just for show. It’s becoming a daily part of most people’s lives. You want your customers to find you online and in real life, and there’s no better way to do that than to integrate your business into their daily lives.

The easiest and probably the cheapest way to take part in the Internet of Things is to make sure your company’s website is fully functional, updated and optimized for mobile use.

3. Merge with Millennials

Despite headlines claiming Millennials continually kill off industries, they aren’t little kids. Millennials are now management, middle-aged people who are probably working in your company. Like every other generation before them, their values and perspectives differ from older generations, and that’s ok! What businesses need to do is learn how to reach them, work with them and make sure they have a productive place at their company.

As one of the most overeducated and underachieving generations, most Millennials strive for a place where they can make an impact. Even if it’s small, giving them an outlet means you’ll get to pick from the best talent the next generation has to offer.

One survey found that Millennials ranked an “opportunity to learn and grow” as the number one thing they look for when applying for a job. Try introducing ongoing learning opportunities, employee recognition processes and other growth-related programs to better accommodate this generation of workers.

4. Start Working with AI

Artificial intelligences (AIs) have become smarter and more capable, and they’re starting to gain use everywhere.

Small businesses don’t always have the funds for this type of thing, but the prices continue to fall. AI has become prominent in many different areas, including advertising and assistance. Helpshift, a CRM company, expects to start using AI to help reach out to customers with chatbots. It’s an unusual middle ground that eliminates the overload effect of email and the impersonal feel of robocalls.

More complicated issues can automatically direct to a person with no break in the chain that the customer can discern. This makes getting help more efficient for the company and less stressful for the consumer. Check out the resources provided by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence to learn more about AI.

5. Personalize Marketing Techniques

If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon or have a Google account, you’ve probably noticed the personalized suggestions you get for products and ads—this is AI in action. You can use different marketing algorithms and combine them with AI to really personalize each customer’s individual experience on your website. Why? Because highly personalized marketing techniques can grab consumers’ attention.

If technical marketing algorithms and AI tools are over your head, you can personalize other aspects of your marketing strategies, even traditional ones. One idea is to order personalized window graphics and murals that directly relate to your company’s business and specifically target a group within your audience.

SpeedPro Imaging is a leading small business advocate that recommends leveling in on the needs specific to the area where you’ll display the signs. For example, you can address certain age groups with pop culture references or events. Tactics like this are more attention-grabbing than saying “If you’re between the ages of 15 and 25…”.

6. Offer More Than a Competitive Salary

In today’s job market, you need to appeal to people looking for more than just an attractive base salary. Young employees are especially likely to look for things like a positive work-life balance and a company’s community involvement, in addition to a decent base salary. Since they want to learn and grow with the company, they’ll appreciate businesses that offer their employees discounts on classes, opportunities to cross-train in different departments and similar learning-based benefits.

Plan to invest your time and money in areas beyond basic salaries and work with your employees to help them reach their own goals in addition to yours.

7. Update Cybersecurity

Mobile banking has been big, and it’ll only continue to get bigger next year. The problem is that with more mobile banking, there is an increased risk of cybersecurity attacks.

Small businesses tend to fall behind other big companies regarding keeping up to date on cybersecurity, but it’s going to become increasingly important. If your company isn’t set up to deal with it in-house, it’s worth looking into outsourcing to a reputable company. Once your customers feel safe, they’ll keep coming back.

8. Expand Business Relations with Other Small Businesses

Expanding your small business in an area means networking. One easy way to do this is to join a small business group, often where one representative from each company shows up to a meeting with others once a month or so. The great thing about this is everyone tries to keep an eye out for each other and will take your cards and recommend you to someone who they think need it. This makes networking extremely easy, so long as you’re willing to participate.

Plus, if you allow different members of your team to go, the other businesses will get a feel for your company as a whole and comfortably vouch for you.

9. Welcome Remote Workers

Remote workers will continue to increase in number this year—in fact, the number of telecommuters has increased by 115% over the past decade. If you’ve nixed remote workers in the past, you might want to reconsider that stance.

There’s real value in allowing people to work from home, especially if it means they won’t have to miss work for a sick kid or an emergency. Some people won’t work for you if you don’t offer remote access, so make sure it’s a robust setup. Plus, letting an employee work from home even half-time can save a company more than $11,000 a year.

10. Get Into Anti-Harassment Early

With today’s political climate, there’s a push for robust anti-harassment rules in the workplace. This year, there will be a spotlight on both individuals and companies to encourage a safe workplace. Expect employees to demand more from their employers when it comes to this area.

As with all New Year’s resolutions, you don’t have to keep them all. These aren’t the “be all end all” of your company, but they are ideas that will help you get ahead. Jump on the curve before you get left behind!

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