It's that time of year again – time to talk about trends. A new year brings new trends: marketing trends, fashion trends, lifestyle trends, food trends ... and, most importantly, business trends.
2019 will welcome new challenges and exciting opportunities for business owners to take advantage of. The intelligent and strategic entrepreneur will evaluate these trends before choosing which opportunities to jump on and which to avoid.
Not every trend will make sense for your business. As the owner of a limited liability company (LLC), it's important to brush up on some of these predicted trends now to understand how they might impact your business. After all, the only constant is change: Markets shift, cultures adapt – and businesses need to be agile. So what will change for LLCs in 2019? Here are just a few trends to take note of.
- Customer experience outweighs customer service: It's no longer enough to simply have one department or team member to meet your customers' needs. Customer experience should be a company-wide focus, and specific customer experience departments/teams will become more common.
- Data ethics and protection: A lot of eyes will be on businesses to do their due diligence when it comes to protecting customer data and information. We saw plenty of data security breaches in 2018, so cybersecurity and revisiting data ethics will be more of an investment for businesses that want or expect their customers to hand over their information.
- Customers reviews are key: If you don't have customer reviews on your website, online storefront and product pages, now is the time to source them. According to this year's Consumer Review Survey from BrightLocal, 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
- Uncertainty over tariffs and trade: The current tariffs and trade wars are a big threat to businesses in 2019. Tariffs may drive up prices of imported goods for U.S. consumers and businesses, which would slow investment and consumer spending. This is definitely something business owners need to keep their eyes on.
- Generation Z steps into the game: Gen Z (people born from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s) are gaining more buying power. MillenialMarketing's research on Gen Z shows that they account for approximately $29 billion to $143 billion in direct spending, and are poised to become the biggest generation of consumers by 2020. Make sure your campaigns are accounting for this and other demographic shifts so you get your money's worth.
- Marketing gets personal: Speaking of demographics, you should expect to run advertisements and marketing campaigns that are tailored to each and every unique consumer. It's not a one-ad-fits-all world any longer. Customers expect personalization in the email newsletters they receive, the online ads they are served and the recommendations they see at the top of the online storefronts they visit.
All those 2019 business trends will either challenge your company or create great opportunities for your business. To be prepared for when those trends come to life, ensure you check some of the following boxes now:
- Establish a robust e-commerce presence.
- Review your business entity type with an online business formation service.
- Brush up on digital media updates and innovations.
- Embrace artificial intelligence, if there are tasks you can automate.
- Hire gig or remote workers to work for your company if you need a human touch.
- Make sure the company's ethos is strong and meaningful (to you and your audience).
What are your predictions for businesses in 2019? What trends do you think are here to stay, and which ones are just a fad? Is your LLC equipped to take on 2019?