How has 2017 been for you? Maybe you had record bookings, have seen an increase in sales or it could be that things have been uncertain and you will be glad to see the back of this year? We have had a look at how things are looking for 2018 and hope they will help you to see a clear (or clearer) path for the future.
It’s true that the UK is currently going through a period of flux and even the experts are finding it difficult to predict how the markets will react to the UK’s Brexit negotiations. Things change on a daily basis, so for many it’s a case of planning for a tricky couple of years and riding the storm as best you can as it looks like it could have an impact on all aspects of business. Perhaps follow the lastest developments on Twitter here.
The General Data Protection Regulation
You need to be ready for the introduction of The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into effect in May 2018, or stiff penalties could land on your door. This pan-European law will change the way data is regulated and protected and if you collect, handle or manage personal information, it’s likely that you’ll have to comply. It’s worth reading up on all things GDPR and the Federation of Small Businesses have the low down.
Keeping people happy will be more critical than ever as consumers expect more for their money and loyalty during these turbulent times. Poor customer service, rudeness, late delivery of goods and phones not being answered could be the difference between a sale and return custom.
As technology becomes an increasing part of business, it is paramount that security systems are up to the job. Personal data can be at risk from hackers so it’s vital to have the right protection in place so that risk and damage potential are minimised.
If you are growing but aren’t in the position to hire staff, outsourcing services such as PR, web design, accounting and phone call answering could be the answer. Not only does this make you more efficient, it saves on recruitment fees and HR costs.
There is an invisible workforce out there that small business owners will tap even more into in 2018. The best technology and apps do simplify business life by taking away a lot of the boring painful admin tasks that many of us hate doing. Spending less time on data entry means we get to spend more time on running our businesses. Is it a trend, possibly; automate the chaos, or chaos automation!
Darren Blackstock, AppFuse.io
National Living Wage
For those who have employees, it is worth noting that the National Living Wage will increase by 4.4% from £7.50 to £7.83 from April 2018.
A recent survey by Clutch and Smart Insights, revealed 89% of those asked found Facebook the most valuable social network for businesses and 52% of respondents felt that social media had helped increase sales. So if you aren’t on it, you need to be!
“During 2017 I have increased my content posting on Facebook and as a result I’ve not only seen an increase in traffic to my website but also more people have been signing up to my workshops and courses. Social media does take time but it is an investment I will continue to make in 2018”.
Chloe Leibowitz, Life Coach
Back to Brexit and as we recently saw with Tesco and Uniliver fallout, UK costs for imported goods have risen due to the fall in the value of the pound and this could continue in 2018. To deal with this, businesses are either absorbing costs so seeing a decrease in profits or passing them onto clients and potentially being less competitive so make sure you have a buffer in the bank account.
It would seem that if you want to succeed in 2018, you need to have your finger on the pulse of industry, be up to speed with current affairs and be internet safe as well as social media savvy.