There have been many trending tools for small businesses in 2015. We’ve put together a list of the top ten. This year technology platforms have transitioned to Cloud and Mobile Computing. Both platforms are essential and powerful, remaining as lasting drivers of change. The growing rate of small businesses operating on Cloud and Mobile Computing are changing ways which business is being done.
1. Cloud Automation is a tool which simplifies established applications often used by small businesses – accounting, payroll, inventory management, HR and benefits administrations. Companies such as Zenefits (HR administration), Intuit (QuickBooks Online), Nible (CRM) are active users of cloud tools – breaking down complex processes. By sparing time and money companies are able to re-direct their energy towards creativity, engineering and operational functions.
2. Ambient Proximity is more than just a great buzzword it allows smartphones to interact effortlessly and automatically with its surroundings – made possible by connecting to “Beacons”. Bluetooth is used as a tool to converse messages between computers in close range – information traveling back and forth. Apple and many other major retailers utilise Beacons for operational use – customer service notifications, special promotions and marketing.
3. 3D Printing could be noted as the most intriguing technology to have come forth in the past few years. 3D printing has come a long way since creation – better-quality hardware, affordable, enhanced materials and performance. 3D printing has become a successor as a prototyping tool and assisting small businesses.
4. Security and Privacy protection of data and information has never been more of a goal for consumers and businesses. High profile internet security violations at Target and Sony have drawn business’s attention to avoiding being targeted by cybercrime – small businesses are usually targets of automated online bots. 2015 is a year to focus on security and privacy.
2015 Economic Trends
The economic slowdown globally in 2015 has remained concrete, though in the U.S the GDP has slightly grown – increasing by 2.75% to a 3% range.
5. Energy industry is a vital part of the U.S’s economy. The price of oil has dropped from over $100 in July per barrel to about $57 now. The drop will be noticeable within their economy. There are positives, with lower energy bills. However, there are negatives also, as oil prices decline. The energy industry has been the U.S’s primary source for economic growth, causing direct and indirect opportunities for small businesses. Firms will suffer the consequences, as the energy sector draws cutbacks due to lower prices. Even though oil prices are positive, small businesses will need to re-assess their energy stability due to the lower prices.
6. Crowdfunding Moves Towards the Mainstream and a great to tool for small businesses to finance their organisation. Crowdfunding platforms give firms the ability to speedily raise funds to go towards the success of their business. This year growth has been continual with the expansion of equity crowdfunding. With legal support, crowdfunding campaigns are bound to cultivate further and will soon become a common tool for small businesses.
7. The Shift from Jobs to Gigs has stirred up the norms of traditional jobs. Individuals have now taken up creating portfolios of their diverse skills and professions to either work independently, part-time, freelance, or a mixture of them all. These gigs don’t necessary have a set career paths – usually motivated by earning income passionately, differently, and/ or interestingly.
8. Corporate HR Departments Wake Up about the Contingent Workforce, as interpretations of the independent workforce (freelancers, contractors, independent consultants) has shifted – now as a strategic resource for HR departments, to save money. Businesses small and big have begun taking on independent workers in order to gain flexibility and consuming time when hiring new staff for the workplace. The increase of independent workers has created more opportunities for individuals working independently.
2015 Social Trends
The instability of jobs and the economy have caused changes to the social structure and consumer habits.
9. The Lean Years a notion created by Millennial blogger Melina Coogan, “The Lean Years” explains the anguish of people, as personal economic dependence is unreliable – slow growth, inconsistent wages, and the lack of job security. Resulting in people less willing to make long-term or big commitments, in their personal lives and as consumers. The “Lean Years” have seen a decline in marriage, children, owning a home and spending big. Small businesses will need to take the “Lean Years” into consideration and evaluate the effects it will have on their firm.
10. Just in Time Learning refers to cost effective and professional business education – specialised training courses and programs available to everyone. Various programming camps usually run between 8-10 weeks – educating people how to program. These courses prove that complicated topics can be taught time efficiently. The programs have helped small businesses and independent workers improve their knowledge and skills.