In 2019, the six most noticeable trends for small business are extensions of what U.S. business in general has been experiencing over the past couple of years. Since these movements seem to be not only continuing, but even picking up speed, it would be wise for small business owners to keep an eye on them and see how they might be able to benefit from them.  

1. Working remotely

Remote working has been a rising trend in recent years, and it doesn't look like that's going to slow down in 2019. More and more businesses are offering the ability to work from home as a benefit to employees, and it's one that workers frequently look for when choosing a place of employment. The convenience can make for more satisfied workers and aid in retaining top talent.

With the rise of cloud technology, it has become easier than ever to collaborate and get a variety of tasks done without the need to be in the same office. Even if there are mandatory "come to work" days, the flexibility of remote work has become a very attractive job feature for many people.

2. The gig economy

A recent survey from insurance firm The Hartford1 found that 25 percent of Americans own a side business. This is directly related to the rise of the gig economy in recent years in which it is easier than ever to pick up assignments in a variety of fields for some extra cash. While relying on the gig economy on full-time basis can be difficult for some, it is a boon for those looking for extra work on the side for a supplemental income.

3. Generation Z

Generation Z refers to people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, and they are gradually transforming the workforce. People born in 2000 are turning 19 this year, and that means they're out of high school and looking at career options. With each passing year this generation becomes a bigger part of the workforce, and businesses would do well to understand what these folks are looking for in their employers. This brings us to the next trend.

4. Strategic hiring

Finding the right talent to fill positions is consistently one of the top concerns for small businesses. That means employers need to be strategic with their recruitment and hiring processes.

As Upwork's David Abramson writes2, "With U.S. unemployment hitting a near 50-year low, vying for top talent has become much more competitive. This difficult hiring landscape can be particularly challenging for small businesses because they must be able to attract workers who are likely considering the higher salaries and richer benefits offered by larger organizations."

Businesses need to find ways to make themselves stand out in the competitive hiring landscape and experimenting in this area is about to be a trend throughout the year and beyond.

5. Benefits

A major part of competitive hiring is offering benefits that workers want. It's not just about pay. In fact, a recent survey3 from SCORE found that benefits/perks may be more important to small business workers than pay raises. Four out of five working employees confirmed this..

According to the survey, 88 percent of employees considered flexible hours when choosing a job, while 80 percent wanted more vacation time or work-from-home options. Other perks cited as attractive were student loan assistance, paid maternity/paternity leave, free gym membership, free snacks, and weekly free outings. About 53 percent said perks contribute to employee satisfaction, and nearly half said they help employees feel valued.

6. Artificial Intelligence

Developers are finding more and more ways that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can help businesses, and they are putting this into products that businesses can use. The more tech companies develop these technologies, the great impact they will have on businesses of all sizes in many industries.

"AI points toward a future where machines not only do all of the physical work, as they have done since the industrial revolution, but also the 'thinking' work – planning, strategizing and making decisions," says Forbes contributor Bernard Marr.4

Where do you fit in?

Is your company taking advantage of these trends? Make sure you keep in touch with what’s happening in your market, your industry, and your region. Education is one of the best and most cost-effective tools a small business owner can have.

 

1. http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20180926/NEWS01/180929954/survey-25%89-of-americans-own-a-side-business

2. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/323994

3. http://www.philly.com/philly/business/small_business/score-survey-employees-prefer-perks-and-benefits-over-pay-raise-20180622.html

4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/12/03/5-important-artificial-intelligence-predictions-for-2019-everyone-should-read/#3cf20778319f

 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC