2016
As we hit our 5th day of 2016, there’s no denying that 2015 is firmly in the rear-view mirror. Hopefully it was a successful year for your small business, and you are looking to build on that success this year. (Or if things did not go as well as planned, you are primed to make them take off in 2016!) If you need some advice on strategies and tactics to help your small business thrive in 2016 and beyond, there is no dearth of predictions for hot technology, must-implement marketing tactics, and heightened security threats. While they might not all apply to your company or your niche, the following predictions are a great place to start your 2016 planning.

 

Predictions from Small Business Owners and Leaders

10 CEOs Make Predictions For The Future Of Business In 2016
FastComp@ny collected predictions from 10 business leaders who forecast an increase in female entrepreneurs, increased transparency and honesty in marketing and general business operations, increased focus on technology including mobile, “talking tech,” and live video, and an increased push for diversification that will help a business withstand a temporary slowdown in the market for their core offerings.
 
50 Small Business Trends and Predictions for 2016
Business News Daily collected opinions from small business owners, professionals and experts as to what they expect 2016 has in store for small business. Predictions include that small businesses will increasingly take advantage of on-demand delivery and logistics services; that more small businesses will come up for sale as Baby Boomer entrepreneurs retire; that state and federal minimum wage increases will both result in increased prices across the board, and increased workplace automation such as using self-serve kiosks instead of manned sales stations; small businesses will increasingly utilize analytics as the software applications become more affordable; and that small businesses will develop increasingly strong collaborative relationships with their customers and vendors.

 
2016 Predictions: Insights from Small Business Experts and Thought Leaders
SmallBizDaily looked to the experts for some insight into what 2016 holds for small businesses. From data analytics to innovation, marketing, mobile, money, personal, retail and ecommerce, security, startups, technology, women, and the workforce, these predictions will help you craft your 2016 small business strategies. For example, BeyondCare (a data analytics company) CEO Arijit Sengupta predicts “2016 to be the Year of Machine-Augmented Analytics” for small businesses, and that the machine learning utilized by these advanced data analytics systems will provide more timely, more insightful, more dynamic, an ultimately more actionable analytics.

 

Technology

6 Predictions for the Most Disruptive Tech Trends
This slide presentation from Inc.com looks at, “trends and technologies [that]threaten to upend established business models and wipe out slow-to-adapt companies, leading to the next generation of S&P 500 companies and IPO hopefuls.” These include 3-D printing, advertising in online game settings that is actively immersive instead of passive, a move away from employer sponsored health insurance to employer-paid healthcare stipends, a move away from traditional higher education on campus to online MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) programs, a bricks-and-mortar business downfall for both large and small retailers, and a Millennial-driven shift to online for shopping of all kinds.
 
Tech predictions 2016: 4 business trends to watch
ZDNet editors highlight four key technology trends that will make a significant impact in 2016: The rise of AI (artificial intelligence) and a “digital workforce” on both enterprise and small business fronts; a slowdown in Apple’s growth due to the maturity of the smartphone market, and the (so-far) lukewarm reception received by the Apple Watch; a major Chinese play into the cloud storage market; and the start of business applications for Virtual Reality technology, which is now largely relegated to gaming.

 
Tech pundits’ tenuous but intriguing prognostications about 2016 and beyond
This Economist post looks at predictions from IDC, Forrester, and Gartner market research reports regarding IT growth areas in 2016 and beyond. That business is increasingly moving software applications and data storage to “the Cloud” isn’t news. However, the IDC analyst predicts that, “By the end of 2017… the majority of the world’s 2,000 largest companies will be moving towards a business model in which data collection and processing is no longer a peripheral activity but the thing that their competitive edge is built on.” Small businesses should take note too, as the ability to leverage new technology could be the key factor in turning a small business into a large one.

 

Marketing

7 Sales and Marketing Predictions for 2016
From the Salesforce blog, business leaders offer their marketing strategy suggestions for a successful 2016, many of which involve a much stronger reliance on data analytics to drive everything from ROI tracking, to meeting delivery demands, to revenue growth strategy, the convergence of brand and direct marketing, and the decline of human customer management in favor of a largely data driven business model where “Data will be the connecting force between sales and marketing, unifying the silos and ecosystems to drive forward everything we do to attract and retain customers…Connected data applied with math will drive marketing spend, create dynamic campaigns and tell sales folks who to call with the message that will resonate best with prospects’ needs.”
 
The Biggest Social Media Trend Predictions for 2016
This Social Media Today post predicts that though 2015 saw tremendous growth in social media marketing, 2016 will see even bigger growth. It highlights enhanced social media e-commerce features, increased audiovisual interactions, more prominent advertising, enhanced security and privacy measures, and the rise and acquisition of new and innovative small platforms , as the trends that will drive social media growth in 2016.
 
A Look Inside: What Will Be the Big Online Marketing Trends for 2016?
This business.com post predicts that Google will continue to dominate Search in 2016; that Mobile will continue to surpass Desktop for online traffic, but that there will also be an increasing demand to use Apps on desktops as well as mobile devices; that Facebook will continue to be the leading social media site (with over 50% market share); that YouTube may lose market share to other streaming services; that Twitter may be acquired by Google; that Pinterest market share will continue to grow (based on its high customer satisfaction ratings); and that ad blocking apps are becoming more common on all social media sites.

 

Security


3 Digital Security Predictions for 2016
From Small Business Trends, this post reminds us that security will continue to be a critical business focus in 2016 and beyond. Despite the many large publicized breaches in recent years, the post notes that people are still amazingly lax regarding security and that the biggest threat businesses of all sizes face is human error. Thus, the prediction is that major hacks will continue in 2016, and will likely employ even more sophisticated “spear phishing” techniques to gain access to target company networks. Additionally, the post suggests that mobile devices will be increasingly targeted as will health-related wearable devices (such as the Fitbit), which contain both personal health information and GPS location.
 
5 Expert Cybersecurity Predictions for 2016
This post from Inc.com notes that in 2015 along with attacks for financial gain, hackers also targeted businesses they believed to be engaging in morally wrong activities. The post suggests that this type of “non-traditional” attack will continue in 2016 with goals including disrupting infrastructure by targeting power plants and consumer sites, targeting a “weak link” individual in a company with a very personal social engineering attack, mobile App attack vectors utilized to both gather personal information and to gain entry to corporate networks, and attack vectors targeting the “Internet of Things” (think hacking your home automation system). As a result of these threats that can do significant damage in the physical world, the post also predicts that new laws, with mandatory compliance and real teeth, will be enacted to protect the electrical grid, nuclear power plants, and other large energy facilities.
 
A Few Cybersecurity Predictions for 2016
Network World joins the 2016 prediction game with the suggestion that companies look beyond their own networks for security weaknesses, and focus on all of the third parties with access to their networks as they are prime entry points for hackers (as in the Target breach). The post also suggests that enhanced multi-factor authentication can be more easily (and economically) implemented via increased availability of smart phone Apps as well as social login standards; that cyber insurance will continue to be booming industry accessible to businesses of all sizes; and that ransomware attacks will become more sophisticated and more common.

 

For the final look ahead, we’ll leave predictions for well wishing: All of us here at PaySimple hope that 2016 is a wildly successful year for you and your small business.

 

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Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I'm the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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