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Small-business owners nationwide had asked to tell what trends and big ideas they think would take center stage in 2012. What’s in store for small business in 2012? Here’s what they had to say:
The company envisions an interactive landscape that involves touch and gesture recognition as well as voice input.
Forward-looking brands and retailers are creating a new, universal shopping environment for consumers, giving the green light for their customers to shop across all channels.
We started to realize: When it comes to data breaches, small businesses are as exposed and, at times, even more exposed than large businesses.
Proximity-based social networks
Proximity-based social networks will allow you to identify like-minded individuals who are near you. As you ride a bus or attend a seminar, your smart phone will identify individuals nearby you should probably know
2012 would see the strengthening of a decades-long move away from government providing basic services, in favor of private or nonprofit entities. Government has spent its funds so badly, at all levels, that it has to shed some of its load, and the private entities provide those services better and price them more wisely.
Look for an uptick in companies that acquire small- to mid-size businesses and consolidate them into larger entities. Baby-Boomer business owners that want to exit their companies will have few other viable options than to sell out to rollup firms. That’s because one-off acquisition financing will remain scarce and because there are not enough Gen X or Gen Y business buyers to consume the fast-growing supply of Baby-Boomer businesses for sale.
Strategic technology consulting
As more and more organizations start grappling with cloud computing models, technology scatter, virtualization, managing remote workers and branch offices, etc., the necessity for a company to come in and assess the current network environment and make recommendations for technological improvements that can provide significant business advantages will become apparent.
Local and mobile search
is a trend gaining lots of traction in both the organic and paid search-optimization and digital-marketing worlds. Many of these searches are conducted with some sort of smartphone. It is imperative that businesses understand the dynamics of local and mobile search to capitalize on these growing consumer trends and habits
Social media for hiring
More than 80 percent of surveyed HR professionals said they are using social networks to help them recruit candidates. Specifically, 79 percent search LinkedIn, 65 percent have a company page on LinkedIn, and 63 percent have a dedicated Facebook page established for jobs and careers.
Outsourcing IT functions
There is compelling evidence that managed services, even when implemented on a small scale, can deliver significant cost savings, freeing up cash for other business needs. More importantly, these savings are accomplished without impacting the availability and reliability of the technology solutions the company relies on to conduct business
Personalized business software.
The last generation of business software was meant to optimize your back office, make accounting easier and keep up with tax rules. The new generation of business software is going to focus on creating value for your business, connect your customers and suppliers in a network and make it easier for you, not your accountant, to do business.
The franchise industry, which has been going strong, will see a big uptick in franchises with very low overhead costs and low start-up costs. With successful franchises having a proven business model, many looking to start their own business see franchises as offering more of a guarantee than starting their own business from scratch
Reputation reviews for business services
and software will become the driver for accelerating adoption, especially for the business buyer. The fact is that business owners are using more online services to grow website traffic, members and sales.
The deals space will continue to expand
While we have started to see some consolidation in the industry, we’re now seeing growth and expansion through specialization, and offerings in other verticals.
With more than 50-million smartphones in the United States and the tablet market really taking off, companies will find it more effective and efficient to do more with less.
This year was all about the power of group purchasing, in which consumers band together to receive better deals from retailers. For 2012, we’ll see this concept evolve from the opposite direction: with retailers, developers, and merchants banding together to offer a singular, more rewarding incentive for engagement.
Chinese Companies Become A Force in Global Markets
firms will first be seen in emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa, but shortly thereafter will begin to compete in the developed-country markets of North America and Europe. A common characteristic of these new competitors from China is their ability to offer “almost-as-good products at a very attractive price point,” reflecting their fast-follower and fast-learner competencies.
More Ads Measurement
Measuring the success of advertising and marketing campaigns has historically been a challenge for marketers, most notably with print campaigns. With social media emerging as an appealing channel for many brands today, marketers are likewise faced with similar challenges in regards to tracking campaign success.
Navigate The Web Using Voice Command
Websites being more accessible on televisions and the ability for users to be able to. It is rumored that Apple is coming out with a television and the interface might be more streamlined for your living room.
Consumer products and technologies
will start to make their way into businesses. Tools and technologies that started as consumer products or look like consumer interfaces will become more popular, as the adoption rates increase when employees need less training to use the tools.
Innovative workspace services.
2012 will mark an inflection point in the consumerization of real estate. Tools that put power directly in the hands of individuals will give them the autonomy to choose a workspace that optimizes their productivity by the hour, day, or month while increasing flexibility and reducing risk and overall cost for their companies
Customized enterprise application stores
Smartphones and tablets have little value without applications and the increased use of these devices creates demand for more applications that IT groups need to manage. An application store makes that process easier.
The disintegration of “channels.”
Shoppers, especially those under 35, don’t think in terms of channels. Consumers are beginning to expect the same story, assortment, and prices no matter how they are consuming content. Their brand and transactional experiences blur across channels. We can see evidence of the disintegration on our news shows, as they now frequently pull from social media channels and evaluate the trending topics.
Cloud-based documents and information resources.
After decades of being a resource primarily accessible to the wealthy and/or those with serious problems, specialized advice and situational training will go mainstream through a combination of on-demand experts, social graphing and mobile devices. Think of it as OnStar for your personal and professional life.
Digital Coupon Book.
Discount directories empower the consumer by allowing them to search for interesting deals, transforming passive discount recipients into active couponers.
The Small Businesses that do not currently have a website will be able to get online
By the end of 2012, making a website will not be something you pay thousands of dollars for, it will be something you create and maintain yourself. Those businesses that do have websites will be able to develop something modern that attracts clients, works with search engines, and helps build their business.
WHICH PROVED TO HAPPEN IN 2012? YOU ARE THE ONE WHO KNOW ACTUALLY
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