11 Mar 10 trends that will shape the future of small business
Small businesses make up around 99.3% of all businesses in the UK as well as account for about half of the turnover in the UK private sector. With such a vast impact on the economy, it is surprising that most of the small businesses still operate the way they did years ago. Not for long though.
With the technology emerging faster than ever and many jobs getting increasingly automated, there are some upcoming trends that will reshape the way small businesses operate. This article will cover the 10 trends introduced in the Xero Business Rewired Report.
1. No routine
Artificial Intelligence is already being leveraged in a variety of business areas and soon it will be adopted to automate most of the process-driven job tasks. This trend scares a number of people, who are worried about losing their jobs once the AI and robots take over. However, this trend is actually the opposite of scary.
The development of AI is a positive trend for many reasons. Instead of leaving a lot of people unemployed, it will encourage companies to create new job roles and rely more on the soft skills of the workers. In fact, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 10 years haven’t been invented yet. Therefore, AI will make businesses more efficient and productive as well as allow people to focus more on creativity and intelligence as opposed to repetitive process work.
2. Focus on the purpose
The progress in technology will change the economic logic into a whole new way of thinking. Small businesses will be focusing on purpose-driven work instead of the process-driven, which means that people will still hold an integral part in businesses. This positive trend will lead companies to take into account the non-monetary measures of success as well, such as the well-being and fulfilment of employees or the environment.
3. Everything is connected
Connectivity is extremely important for people to interact with each other and small businesses to operate. Currently, the UK government has plans to invest vast sums into 5G internet, which will allow better connectivity anywhere in the country. This trend will lead to an increased affordability and availability of internet.
4. Changes in workforce
This trend suggests that the idea of “job for life” will soon die out. With freelance economy growing, small businesses can use this trend to scale up their workforce to meet the needs of large projects without any additional costs. There will be no need for small businesses to only rely on the people in the office, when there are tonnes of competitive specialists and contractors all around the world ready to do the job.
5. No more late payments
The changes in workforce will naturally require an improved way to handle payroll as well. A lot of large companies and small businesses are still being accused of paying salaries late. The new automated softwares and digital assistants will take over the payroll, making sure that people are paid on time. Besides, the 30-day invoicing is becoming outdated as well, with an increasing need to pay workers faster and more often than once a month.
6. Human interaction
The business world is going towards less face-to-face interaction between people and a smoother, more seamless way to work with each other. In the future the use of emails or video calls will become minimal, as the optimised softwares will allow businesses to assign tasks and notes in a more time-saving and productive way. In other words, the interaction between people will become more digital, global and continuous.
7. Four-day work week
With technology taking over a significant amount of our workload, businesses will move towards decreasing the work hours. This trend is not ages away either, as around a third of entrepreneurs already prioritise cutting down on work hours. The work we do will be more efficient and productive, which will allow us to have more time for what really matters - family, relationships, fulfillment and creativity.
8. The use of digital assistants
A lot of people already use digital assistants for such tasks as setting up reminders or finding out the weather forecasts. This trend will progress even further and become an integral part of small businesses for such actions as sharing summary notes from meetings or looking up research materials.
9. Reconnecting with nature
Taking time off the screens will become even more important in the future, with our whole lives from work to home being completely digitalised. As technology will augment most of our workload, small businesses will be able to focus more on making sure that workers step away from computers. For example, companies may create open spaces with pets or nature in the office for employees to re-charge at.
10. Sustainability as a core value
A lot of large companies are already working towards becoming more environmentally friendly, however in the future sustainability will become a focus for everyone. This does not mean only caring about the environment though, sustainable businesses will be ones that leverage the technology in a humanly sustainable way, where the resources are efficiently used to their maximum and the unnecessary costs cut down.
Do you need advice for your small business?
With the new trends disrupting the way small businesses operate, it is important to make sure that you are always up to date and ready to embrace new technology or changes.
At ASfB we specialise in supporting businesses to achieve their growth ambitions. We will take care of your accounting with our end-to-end solutions while you focus on what matters the most - running a successful business.
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