So, you've enjoyed a well-deserved break over the holiday period, but now you're back and more excited than ever to grow your business. Keeping an eye on emerging trends is an excellent way to satisfy the ever-changing needs of your customers and stay on top of shifts in general consumer behaviour.
With this in mind, we've put together three trends that we think will impact small businesses in New Zealand in 2016:
1. A growing number of people working from home
Working arrangements will continue to become more fluid in 2016
In 2012, around 17 per cent of New Zealand professionals worked from home more than 20 hours per month, according to figures collated by Statistics New Zealand. Working arrangements will continue to become more fluid in 2016 as the number of employees operating outside office walls continues to grow.
Fortune explained that it's likely we'll see an increase in freelancers, too. Outsourcing some of your load to contractors could help you cut costs and bring in a level of expertise you may not be able to source internally. Remember that you'll still need to take remote workers into account when using your small business accounting software to file payments and do taxes.
2. The rise of mobile payment systems
Mobile technology is already an integral part of business communication, but now it looks set to change consumer shopping patterns, too.
According to the register, more and more businesses will make use of technology such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to gather more information about their customers in order to create a more valuable customer journey.
In addition, mobile-aided loyalty schemes may become more widespread, allowing enterprises to offer clients more personal and meaningful rewards.
3. The cloud will continue to grow
Scalable and cost effective, the cloud facilitated many facets of business in 2015, from communication to small enterprise accounting software and everything in between.
As Marc Meyer, professor of entrepreneurship at D'Amore McKim School of Business at Northeastern University explained, there's a strong chance that this trend will continue into 2016.
"The adoption of cloud computing will continue to accelerate, drifting down from the large corporate segment into small businesses, making operations more efficient and [reducing] capital spending."
It's too early to tell whether our predictions will come true, but by keeping abreast of possible trends, you'll be ready to make the most of whatever comes your way in 2016.