As we all get back to work and hit 2017 running, there’s no denying that 2016 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 2017!) If you need some advice on strategies and tactics to help your small business thrive in 2017 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 2017 planning.

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2017 Predictions Specifically For Small Businesses

12 Predictions for 2017 That Will Shape Your Business
This Business2Community post gathered predictions from entrepreneurs, analysts, business leaders, and consultants to create this list. Among the predictions are that security and transparency will be core business requirements and no longer differentiators; that machine learning and AI will be increasingly utilized to enhance and grow businesses; and that WhatsApp will be increasingly leveraged as a business and promotional tool.

Tech Predictions For 2017 That Small Business Owners Really Need To Know
This post from SpectrumBusiness Insights cites (sorry!), four technology trends that will be important to small businesses in 2017. Like many other prediction posts it highlights the IoT (Internet of Things), and suggests that small businesses too can greatly benefit from smart devices. The post also touts AI as a new big thing for even small businesses, and emphasizes the importance of data security. The fourth trend, which suggests that small businesses should be investing in VPN (Virtual Private Network) solutions for all work performed on public wireless networks is a wise warning, and one that is long overdue.

Instagram’s Jim Squires Shares 7 Predictions for SMBs in 2017
Squires not surprisingly predicts that in 2017, “video will rule the day.” He also predicts that the new social media platforms will greatly reduce the barrier to entry for new small businesses. He expects that “creativity will be democratized” as anyone will be able to use readily available and often free tools to create professional looking content, and that even small businesses will be able to use robust marketing techniques to customize content, reach a global customer base, and “deepen customer relationships.” However, he warns that this democratization will likely result in a “more crowded landscape” and more competition.

Your Guide to 9 Small Business Trends Headed Your Way in 2017
This Small Business Solutions blog post from Xerox suggests 2017 will bring small businesses to rely more heavily on SaaS solutions, and to re-vamp customer experiences across the board from providing customized personal communication, real-time video, location marketing, digital storefronts, on-demand delivery, and 24/7 engagement across all channels.


2017 Technology Predictions

Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017
Gartner Research identified three themes — intelligent, digital, and mesh — that “form the basis for the Top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017…These technologies are just beginning to break out of an emerging state and stand to have substantial disruptive potential across industries.” The “intelligent” category is comprised of AI and machine learning, intelligent Apps (such as virtual personal assistants), and IoT smart devices. The “digital” category includes virtual reality, digital twins used to model real-world systems, applications, and things, and Blockchain distributed-ledger concepts that can track and validate tokenized transactions. The “mesh” which Gartner defines as, “the dynamic connection of people, processes, things and services supporting intelligent digital ecosystems” encompasses complex conversational systems in which computers both listen and sense to “hear” users, new intelligent service and digital technology platforms, and adaptive security architectures. Read the fascinating free report; it is well worth your time.

The 7 Unmissable Tech Predictions That Will Define 2017
This Forbes post predicts that technologies such as virtual reality, smart devices, and big data analysis will become increasingly mainstream in 2017, and no longer be reserved for those with deep pockets. Of particular interest to small businsses, it also predicts that with software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings on the rise companies will begin to spend significantly more on software than hardware, largely because SaaS enables shifting hardware infrastructure costs to the software vendors themselves. It also predicts a rise in Telepresence , which, “combines ideas from VR/AR and the digital twin concept, to effectively enable a human to be in two places at the same time.” Telepresence encompasses common applications such as remote technical support or remote meetings, as well as more complex applications such as exploring deep space or performing surgery remotely.

5 Business Technology Predictions for 2017
This Business2Community post predicts also predicts advances and prevalence for virtual reality in 2017, as well as a rise in the usefulness of big data for businesses of all sizes, and increasing growth and acceptance of mobile in the workplace (and particularly the acceptance of employees using personal devices for work purposes). It also predicts important advances in the IoT (Internet of Things) will enables smart devices of all types to provide greatly enhanced customer experiences. The post references a research report from Business Insider that makes a similar prediction, “The Internet of Things (IoT) has been labeled as “the next Industrial Revolution” because of the way it will change the way people live, work, entertain, and travel, as well as how governments and businesses interact with the world.”


2017 Business Landscape Predictions

2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer
This report from Forrester predicts that 2017 will be the year of the “customer-led, digital-centric market.” Forrester writes that, “The customer is the fundamental driver of these changes. Adventurous, experimental, and downright fickle behavior—once thought of as “Millennials being Millennials”— has gone mainstream. In this report, we reveal the big business and leadership, CX [Customer Experience], and technology changes we expect in 2017.” The report covers predictions for business and leadership, customer service, and technology. Among the key predictions is that in 2017 customer experience will directly and significantly impact revenue, and that only those companies that have embraced and mastered the new dynamic will succeed. The report also predicts that security (or lack thereof) will continue to rise in importance. That’s a concern of small and large businesses alike. As Forrester notes, “Your customers are more aware of, wary of, and frustrated with security and privacy risk, and you will increasingly gain or lose affinity based on how much they trust your company.”

10 Business Trends That Will Grow in 2017
Inc. predicts that the Millennials will start taking over in 2017, or at least that, “Because so many Millennials are in charge of buying decisions, the world is changing and business trends for the upcoming years will have to cater more to this generation.” The post provides suggestions for leveraging the landscape transition and the Millennial craving for, “success and technology.” The post submits that this craving for technology by those with less than ideal skills opens a huge business opportunity for those that create tools that the non-technical can use to build and manage tech platforms. The post also suggests the continued rise of mobile, e-commerce, and customer-centric selling. Key areas of interest to the Millennials it suggests are: nutrition tracking products and green products. And, if you’re hiring Millennials, it advises you to “embrace” the ways they work, including providing telecommuting options and managing them using, “Strength-based training versus remedial leadership.”


2017 Marketing Predictions

60+ Content Marketing Predictions for a Successful 2017
This e-book from The Content Marketing Institute provides, “predictions on which formats and channels will dominate the landscape, how increasing content volume might impact amplification techniques, which technologies are poised to revolutionize how your content engines function, and more.” Among the more interesting (and useful) predictions are an increasing need to define your Facebook brand, a need to “amplify” your content above the constant social noise, and a trend towards ever more personal social media engagements between companies and their customers.

10 Small Business Digital Marketing Predictions for 2017
This Social Media Today post predicts that digital marketing will go cross-device in 2017 as people increasingly access content on multiple types of device, and that mobile will become ever more important. It also suggests that influencer marketing will “explode” in 2017, and that (as others have also predicted) personalization will be increasingly important.

5 Predictions to Guide Your Marketing Plan in 2017
This prediction post form Entrepreneur suggests 2017 will be the year when customer retention efforts overtake customer acquisition efforts. It predicts that you’ll need to re-vamp your marketing efforts so that you reach and make it convenient for all types of customers to buy whether that’s Millennials on Instagram or Baby Boomers on TV.


2017 Security Predictions

McAfee Labs 2017 Threats Predictions
This report from leading IT security provider McAfee notes that, “During the past few years, the rapidly growing use of cloud services, the disappearing perimeter between internal and external networks, and an incredible flood of new devices are challenging traditional methods of protecting everything digital.” The comprehensive report is well worth a read to get a full understanding of the security landscape in which your small business operates. A few interesting predictions include that Ransomware will peak in 2017 and then begin to decline; that fake news, fake product reviews, and even fake security warnings will erode trust in information found on the Internet; and that machine learning will be used to make social attacks more effective.

TrendMicro: The Next Tier: 8 Security Predictions for 2017
Security firm TrendMicro predicts that though ransomware attacks “plateaued in 2016” 2017 will still bring on average 15 new families each month, and that it will become a standard component of data breaches where, “Cybercriminals will first steal confidential data to sell in underground markets, then install ransomware to hold data servers hostage, doubling their profit.” 2016 saw the first major IoT-based DDoS attack, and TrendMicro predicts that not only will such attacks continue in 2017, but vendors will react too slowly to stop them. The report also predicts that simple business email scams, such as fake emails from a CEO directing a money transfer, will continue to be prevalent because, “The scam is easy and cost-effective, not requiring so much in terms of infrastructure. But the average payout for a successful BEC attack is US$140,000—the price of a small house. The total estimated loss from BEC in two years is US$3 billion. In comparison, the average payout for a ransomware attack is US$722.” Other threats detailed in the report include, financial industry business process-based compromises, Adobe and Apple vulnerabilities, cyber-propaganda, higher costs related to data privacy and security, and an ever evolving and smarter cyber-criminal.

2017 security predictions
From CIO magazine, this post predicts that 2017 will be the “year that passwords grow up” and standard operating procedure will include not just changing default passwords on IoT devices such as routers and smart appliances, but also using password vaults to regularly rotate and protect passwords. Other predictions include ransomware “spinning out of control” and “dwell times” (the time between when a breach occurs and when it is discovered) will remain problematically long due to insufficient IT resources devoted to detecting malicious activity.


For the final look ahead, we’ll leave predictions for well wishing: All of us here at PaySimple hope that 2017 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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