Whether it was improvements in technology, tax reforms, or consumer preferences, the United States business environment underwent numerous important transformations in 2019. U.S. GDP maintained a growth rate of at least 2% in three of four recorded quarters, and despite an ongoing trade war, most notably with China, 2020 is shaping up to be a productive year for businesses on a national scale.
While there are certain aspects of a business that inherently limit or facilitate its expansion, there are also a number of ongoing and projected trends that businesses can use to their advantage this year in order to leverage growth.
Adoption of 5G Communication
Among the many new, exciting technologies being rolled out to the public in 2020, the introduction of 5G may be one of the most impactful for businesses both nationally and internationally. As many communications companies throughout the U.S. have already begun the physical changes necessary to implement a 5G network, such as new antennas and cell towers, the 4G LTE network is quickly becoming a service that most businesses will need to transition from in order to remain competitive.
The new 5G technology, in essence, allows for much faster data transfer, storage, and delivery of services, opening up an entirely new range of possibilities for what businesses can provide to customers who are located in remote or distant regions. One example of such possibilities is known as Multi-Access Edge Computing which is a complicated sounding term for a cloud-based IT service that computes at the edge of a network in order to decrease website congestion and massively improve site performance while hosting hundreds of users at once. Many leading experts studying 5G also see the new network as critical for the remote use of Augmented and Virtual Reality, which will likely be used as completely next-level marketing tools in the coming decade.
According to a recent report by telecommunications company, Ericsson, 50% of US consumers will have access to 5G in as little as 5 years, while it is likely business will see the availability of 5G within the next year. The new technology is definitely something all business should pay attention to in the coming year if they are looking to grow.
Sustainable Products & Zero Waste
In addition to the development of new technologies, it will also be important for businesses to focus on the production of sustainable and environmentally-friendly products moving forward in to 2020. With Generation Z set to become the new largest demographic of consumers on the planet, the amount of individuals demanding products and services that avoid harm to the environment will subsequently continue to increase.
Over the last few years, younger consumers born closer to the turn of the 21st century have taken to social media, public gatherings, and other worldwide platforms to voice their concerns for how humanity currently treats issues regarding climate change and the health of the planet. This generation of buyers has already made it clear that sustainability is not just simply some added benefit to a product but imperative for the purchase of both goods that are used out of necessity as well as luxury.
One of the easiest ways to quickly reduce the environmental impact of any product is to concentrate on the physical make up and production of its packaging. The use of recycled materials, multi-use packaging, and minimization of materials used are all major-contributing factors that should be considered when it comes to creating the most eco-friendly packaging as possible. For more ideas on how to reduce the environmental impact of packaging as well as a product overall, contacting the custom-packaging experts at Morgan Chaney can serve as an excellent start.
Quickly rising to the top as one of the most crucial trends in social media marketing over the past few years, micro-influencers have grown in popularity with their image of trustworthiness and authenticity appealing to consumers who regularly use a variety of social media platforms.
Micro-influencers are non-celebrity product endorsers with built-up internet followings who share their lifestyle and daily activities online. Examples of micro-influencers may include bloggers, vloggers (video-bloggers), content-creators, and even photographers who maintain regular activity on social media and a large base of followers. Micro-influencers appeal to younger consumers who may be new to certain markets and command a type of credibility that big-name celebrity endorsers do not have.
In 2015, there were a total of only 190 influencer platforms and agencies in existence, but from May 2018 to May 2019 alone, the influencer market saw an increase of 320 new platforms and agencies. As social media giants such as Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat will continue to grow and expand their user base in 2020, it is likely that the total number of micro-influencers will also see a huge increase. The use of microinfluencers by both small and large businesses in the coming year is a newer trend that anyone can take advantage of in order to grow in 2020.
Regardless of whether you’re looking to grow a small business or a large corporation, the required space, amenities, and accommodations for an expanding number of employees are all physical factors that can put a damper on a company that is increasing in size and revenues. As the extent and potential of a business increases, so does the necessary size of its workforce, which can mean that more money is needed to be spent of office space and supplies.
While its always important to maintain close contact and engagement with employees, new communications technologies, apps, and other services are making it easier for workers to do their job wherever and whenever they please, reducing the need for the expansion of the physical office. Furthermore, an approximated 50% of the current workforce is made up of tech-savvy millennials who are happy to work with companies over communication channels such as video conferences, and in 2025, this estimate is projected to rise to 75%.
With an increase in the number of individuals who are willing to work outside of the office coupled with an increase in the level of technology that is making this very idea possible, working remotely is trend many businesses will want to capitalize on in 2020 in order to save money and increase the amount of growth they experience.
Non-Monetary Benefits for Employees
When it comes to maximizing the potential for growth and productivity of a company, managing expenses properly and making well-informed business decisions are unquestionably important. However, behind the numbers and strategies of any successful business are always its employees, and their happiness and satisfaction are absolutely crucial to its expansion and growth over the long-run. In the 20th century, managers and owners grew accustomed to incentivizing employees based on purely monetary benefits, and for a long time, this was all that their workers really demanded.
However, as we begin the third decade of the 21st century, the focus of the average worker has evolved, and the incentives to succeed have simultaneously changed. According to Barbara Mason, Career Pathways Consulting President, traditional compensation packages that rely mainly on 401(k), bonus, etc just aren’t as compelling anymore. Younger employees are increasingly demanding non-monetary perks to go along with their jobs, such as telecommunication, flexible work hours, paternity leave and more. As the workforce increasingly shifts to include more millennials, perks such as these will become more effective in attracting the type of worker that will heavily contribute to the growth of a business.
2020 presents a year filled with possibilities for business of all sizes and industries to grow. Whether you’re operating a small, local retail store or a multinational corporation, there are a number of trends that will see certain companies increase their sales while causing others to fall behind. Regardless of what you do, it’s important to stay on top of new developments in technology, consumer preferences, as well as many other factors that affect a business’ ability to expand.