Predictions for the New Year are as common as eggnog and holiday parties in December. With so many voices and opinions from bloggers, experts and others, it’s easy to become overwhelmed—especially if you are a small or medium-sized business looking for the best opportunities for 2018.
In this blog, we sift through the noise and provide a few business and buyer trend predictions that we believe are relevant and most likely to have an impact on SMBs in 2018.
- Optimizing Business Processes. SMBs across industries are looking at new ways to optimize business processes, provide premier experiences, target and acquire customers and grow their business. A vast array of new approaches, such as machine learning and AI applications, can be used to create relevant and personalized experiences for customers.
- Security Top Spend—Respondents to a special report, Tech Budgets 2018: A CXO’s Guide by Tech Pro Research, reported that their companies will prioritize spending on security, hardware and cloud services in 2018. Within IT departments, a premium is being placed on security spending. Fifty-three percent of respondents said security will be a top priority in the 2018 budget.
- SMBs Really Embrace High-Tech. IDC forecasts that small and medium-sized businesses are going to spend $668 billion on IT products and services in 2020 as compared to $564 billion last year, outpacing the growth of the overall IT market. Keeping up with the changes in technology is essential for SMBs; keep an eye out for new opportunities; your competitors are!
- Multicultural Millennials—Untapped Potential. A recent study by Nielsen reveals that there are 75 million Millennials living in the U.S. and that 42 percent of them are multicultural: of African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic heritage. These young people are highly educated and extremely influential—inspiring new trends in culture, food and technology—among their peers, their children and parents. In fact, according to Nielsen, multicultural Millennials spend more than $65 billion each year, influencing potentially $1 trillion in consumer spending. SMBs owners who make an effort to cultivate and earn their business will have a competitive advantage and be well-positioned to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.
- Freelancers Lead Gig Revolution. Entrepreneurs like dentists and lawyers tend to have an established business identity. Freelancers, by contrast, usually work out of their homes, have a need for great technology, and, in some cases, have less financial stability. However, like real estate agents, these nomadic workers can work from anywhere, anytime because of their own flexibility. There are now 55 million freelancers in the U.S., according to 2016 Freelancing in America survey—which is one-third of the American workforce. SMBs that come up with competitive solutions for their unique business needs will have access to a very large section of the American workforce.
These are just a few business and buyer trend predictions to keep an eye out for in 2018. Opportunities, as well as challenges, are ahead for SMBs in the coming year. Cisco—with a newly enhanced portfolio of products for SMBs, is uniquely positioned to provide businesses with high-performance solutions that don’t break the bank. To learn more, visit cisco.com/go/smb.