It’s 2020. A new decade with new challenges and opportunities. The business world is not going to get less competitive so it’s good to take a little time and reflect on your business factoring in some coming trends.
It’s no secret that technology has substantially changed many businesses. If not your actual business, like a retailer selling products, the technology has changed how you promote your business, connect with customers and run your business. If you haven’t started to use technology in some aspect of your business, its time. Previously complex technologies will only get easier to use in 2020 so take the time to explore and learn about them always keeping in mind how it can apply to your business.
Customer expectations will only continue to rise in 2020 and beyond as people compare your business to similar businesses next door and around the world. This will be not only in terms of product or service offering but also quality, customer service, prices, features, delivery time and of course reviews.
Reviews are already a critical factor when customers are researching a product or service online. And reviews are only going to get more important. In fact, some say reviews will be “the” deciding factor in 2020 and beyond. And if you think your business isn’t one that has to worry about reviews, just ask your doctor or dentist about ratemds.com or employers about glassdoor.ca where current and past employees rate and post comments about a company. In fact, research shows that businesses risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find one negative review. Three negative reviews can cause that number to jump to 59.2%. Reviews and ratings are everywhere, and you need to monitor yours and reply when appropriate. Managing reviews takes time, so using a technology like Directwest’s Reputation Management service can certainly help you stay current.
While reviews will be important to customers, you still need to be aware of the importance of community involvement, charitable giving and environmental concerns your customers may have. Environmental concerns will grow in the 2020s and customers will use your involvement, or not, in how they make a purchasing decision. Social concerns are a business trend in 2020 and beyond. Another good reason to know your customers and use that information to manage your business.
As for promoting your business, there are now so many channels you could participate in that it would be a full-time job just to manage them. And those channels are only going to grow and expand in 2020. Billboards, direct mail, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and others will continue to be important and you’ll need to decide which ones your customers, and target customers, are using in order to reach them. It’s your marketing mix that will be important. Unfortunately, most businesses cannot just be visible on one channel. Back to knowing your customers well and being visible where they are. You can also find a partner, like Directwest, to help you manage them.
By now you’re probably thinking “there is no way I have time or money to do all of this”. That’s the bad news. The good news is you don’t have to do all of it, but you need to do some in order to compete. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Directwest has experience, along with cost-effective products and services, to help you choose, manage and grow in the right channels for your business.
Running a small business has always been hard work, but it’s a passion Directwest shares with its customers. The new decade is going to be another exciting one as more and more services and tools to run your small business become available so you can focus on what you love to do. All the best in 2020!
- Andrew Clarke is Vice President of Brand & Digital Platforms at Directwest
 https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanerskine/2018/07/30/study-97-of-business-owners-say-online-reputation-management-is-important-heres-how-to-keep-up/#229822396c02February 18th, 2020