As technology continues to advance, business trends are also changing at a faster rate. If you are a small business owner, you should be in a position to adapt to these changes else you will struggle to keep up with the competition. Here are the top 10 small business trends and predictions for 2018.

1. Cloud computing & IoT
Cloud computing as well as the internet of things (IoT) are linked in many ways. For instance, in order to accommodate the large data and communications that IoT applications require, you will need accessible storage. In 2017, everyone was talking about cloud computing and IoT and in 2018, it is still a trending topic of discussion. Small business owners can benefit from growth in cloud services, increased data storage capacity as well as high-quality internet.

2. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a vital role in the daily operation of a business. Machines can now perform tasks that would normally be performed by humans, not to eliminate jobs but to free up employees and resources as well as provide better service.

3. Quantitative-based marketing
Most businesses today no longer rely on traditional advertising mediums such as TV and print to promote their products and services. Instead they use quantitative-based marketing strategies such as social media mentions as well as online customer reviews. This method is more efficient and cost-effective compared to traditional advertising. There are lots of Open University Courses that covers the trending business areas with technological involvement.

4. Blockchain technology
The blockchain technology offers a totally new way of processing digital transactions and records. Blockchain is here to stay and just like social media and the internet itself, blockchain will disrupt most traditional businesses hence companies that embrace this technology will benefit in very many ways.

5. Experience economy
Customers are now more conscious than ever before and they are willing to spend on things such as dinner dates, concerts and trips as long as they experience the emotional connection that they are looking for. If your business can manage to offer this emotional connection, then you are on the right track. Those who insist on building their businesses the old way will miss out in 2018.

6. Automation
Small and medium-sized businesses are beginning to adopt the use of automation software to automate their business processes enabling them to achieve more with less. Automation can help in many ways such as in accounting, email marketing, data entry and customer experience management.

7. Millennials
Millennials are poised to dominate the market in 2018. According to recent reports, millennials spend at least $600 billion every year and by 2020, this figure is expected to rise to $1.4 trillion. Many small businesses are now planning their business strategies with millennials in mind.

8. Crowdfunding
Most small businesses experience challenges when it comes to funding given the fact that their budget is limited. Even with small business loans, most banks are still skeptical about providing loans to startups. Crowdfunding allows businesses to seek support from online users in order to fund their projects and clear their overhead costs.

9. Freelancing
Most small businesses often find it difficult to hire professional full-time employees due to their tight budget hence the need to outsource freelancers who can help them grow their business.

10. Personalized marketing
Marketers have become more conscious of the fact that customers are constantly looking for more personalized marketing otherwise they will switch brands. This involves personalization of marketing messages based on customer interests and experiences.

Concluding Remarks:
Keeping up with the right small business trends can be a complicated process but a necessary one since you will be able to plan your goals and business strategies better.

Author's Bio: 

Having more than 15 years of professional experience in IT, I love to write on various topics related to Information Technology, Education and skill development.