Top Small Business Trends for 2016

The world of small business is tough enough as it is, but the ever-changing nature of the competitive landscape can make it even tougher. Let’s take a look ahead at what could be some of the biggest trends in the space so you can be prepared.

First of all, although you may be reading this at some point in the future, we published this in very early January, so everyone here at Valued Merchant Services would like to wish you and yours a very happy 2016! As a credit and debit card processing company, the majority of our clients and customers are small to medium-sized businesses, so we know full well the difficulties associated with starting and operating a successful operation. In fact, according to data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, over half of all small business will fail in five years or less.

So considering that sobering fact, how do you indeed make sure your 2016 is a happy one by staying in business? Being aware of some of the trends expected to be heading our way during the coming year will go a long way toward your success, so let’s examine a few.

Even More Reliance on the Cloud

There are no shortage of statistics that show the exponential rise of cloud computing, but here’s just one – RightScale found that approximately 82% of enterprises used some sort of cloud in 2015, up from 74% in 2014. It won’t be long until that number at 100%, and the convenience of cloud computing makes it easy to see why.

How in particular will this affect your average small business? One example is how any owners are increasingly opting to replace traditional in-house positions – such as an accountant or bookkeeper – with a cloud based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) bookkeeping and payroll systems. Another more basic example is storing a small business’ data remotely on a cloud rather than on an in-house hard drive. This not only frees up space and is generally more affordable, but it can also allow a small business owner to remove the cost of operating an IT department.

More Telecommuting and De-Centralization

As Internet speeds get faster and faster, and as the corporate mindset becomes ever more comfortable with the concept, telecommuting will continue to grow in popularity. It was just a few years ago when Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made headlines by putting a company-wide kibosh on working from home – even in 2013 the move was seen as a bit antiquated, as more CEOs and business owners are seeing the benefits of telecommuting.

Allowing employees to work partially or fully from home gives your business a few distinct advantages. First, it allows you to cast a much wider net with applicants and draw from a much larger talent pool, instead of focusing on just those potential employees in a commutable radius to your office. Secondly, allowing your employees the freedom to accommodate increasingly busy life schedules will go a long way toward building their loyalty and trust – and for many adults, if they have the choice between two nearly identical job offers, the one that allows flexibility in where they can work will be the deciding factor.

This trend of telecommuting goes hand-in-hand with more businesses becoming completely decentralized and lacking a main office. With commercial real estate prices on the rise, having no office to maintain and pay for can save a dramatic amount of money. Obviously, a decentralized business with employees who all work from home from various spots around the country isn’t a model that will work for all types of businesses – but it’s important to think about ways you can adopt these ideas and take advantage of ever-improving technology.

Payment Security

This is something we’ve covered before on our blog a few different times before, but 2016 will see a big rise in the adoption of Chip-and-PIN and Chip-and-Signature credit and debit cards. You can click either of those links in the previous sentence to brush up on what they are, but essentially they are a much more secureversion of debit and credit cards. They have already been utilized in Europe with great success – in fact, the United Kingdom saw an approximate 70% drop in credit card fraud within eight years of utilizing these cards.

Most major card issues have already begun to switch over to the Chip-enabled cards, and will be required to by October 2017. For small businesses that have card readers in their store, the time is now to ensure your brick and mortar has the appropriate equipment to process these new types of cards. That’s where Valued Merchant Services can help. Not only do we offer the latest machines and processing services, but we also guarantee that we can reduce your company’s processing fees for debit and credit cards, or we will give you $500.

By Chris Del Grande

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