Don't Fear the Future
Technological Trendpotting: Enter 2017 in Style with RIFT Accounting
Following technology trends is about a lot more than knowing which rocket boots go best with those stylish new science-goggles you've been tinkering with. If you're already looking ahead to the New Year, and you really should be, then it's time to think about what the future's bringing, and when it's going to get here.
Believe it or not, you're actually already ahead of the game. Running a small business means you're faster on your feet than the Big Business dinosaurs. You've got sharper vision and the agility to put it to use. All that's left is to fire up the Time Window and get a glimpse at 2017's biggest trends. Here are a few things to watch for next year
Yes, we know. You've probably heard of this already. The thing is, more and more people have internet access 24 hours a day now, so your web presence is going to need to be right at the core of your planning. You're going to have to understand how online reviews and testimonials can build or destroy your brand. You're also going to need to get up to speed on the range of tools and techniques at your disposal for shaping how you're seen online.
The other side to consider is social media. From Twitter and Instagram to Facebook and LinkedIn, businesses are finding new ways of interacting with their customers and each other. More and more tools are opening up, so 2017's going to be a great time to explore them.
Your net speed is likely to be a major concern in 2017 and beyond. You'll probably want to look into the options that are opening up for faster connections. You'll be sending and receiving more data than ever before - and if you're smart you'll be making better use of tools like video conferencing and cloud storage, too. All this information is going to leave a Big Business Dinosaur-sized footprint in your bandwidth, so make sure your connection's up to the job.
The internet is the world's biggest shopping centre, and 2017's only going to see it grow. It's not just a question of knowing that the customers are there. You need to stand out above the crowd to draw them to you. People have a lot of freedom to compare terms and prices quickly and easily online. They've got the tools to make smarter decisions than ever before, so you need to learn to trust them to do exactly that. A great example is offering free shipping. Customers love that because it eliminates one of the biggest perceived problems of online shopping. Knowing where to set your threshold is an art in itself, but studies are showing that - up to a point - people will be more than happy to add extra goods to their online cart if it means hitting the magical free shipping target.
The most important thing to understand about all these technological trends is that you're going to get as much out of them as anyone in the Big Business world. Be smart about it, use your speed advantage and always innovate. From your web customers' point of view, the online playing field is levelled and there's no reason why your site should stand in the shadow of your larger competitors. Understand the battlefield, plan your strategy and you'll be punching well above your weight against larger firms.
Finally, you don't really need a Time Window to see what's coming in the next few years. You've just got to look outside your browser window once in a while. There's never been a better time to forge your own future, so polish up those science-goggles and keep scanning for more Voices from the RIFT...