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Make this year the most profitable yet by following in the footsteps of the hottest small business trends. For the most part, taking your business to the next level involves downsizing where you can and embracing the digital marketplace even tighter. Here are the top trends to consider. Let them roll around on your palate and decide whether they’re a good move for you and your business:

 

Are you following top trends?

Are you following top trends?

  1. Outsource more: When you outsource, hire a contractor/freelancer, and otherwise minimize permanent and/or full-time positions, you often get more bang for your buck. You might pay a bit more on a per hour/project scale, but you only pay for what you need and don’t offer healthcare, retirement, vacations, etc. You might be able to outsource accounting, HR, writing, web developing, and more.
  1. Go virtual: Call it telecommuting or having a virtual office. Unless you absolutely need a brick and mortar establishment (i.e. a restaurant, gym, etc.), ask yourself if paying for that costly overhead is worth it. Telecommuting employees are often happier and more productive, but bear in mind that it’s not a great fit for all. Many times, the actual cost of owning/renting commercial space is your biggest budget buster.
  1. Prioritize SEO: If you have an online presence, and you should, search engine optimization needs to be a priority. Good practices help you rank higher on search engines like Google, where prospective customers/investors search for “your” main keywords. Without SEO, you may as well not exist online.
  1. Re-visit your web host: Most small businesses use a basic shared plan, which was really the only affordable option up until a few years ago. Now, virtual private servers (VPS) offers much better speeds, uptime, and security at nearly the same cost as a basic shared plan. Plus, web hosting impacts your SEO, for better or worse.
  1. Stop multi-tasking: There was a time “wearing a lot of hats” and juggling a slew of responsibilities was seen as a great thing. Those days are over as researchers found that almost nobody can actually do this well. Stop expecting it of yourself and your employees. Instead, take a look at everyone’s job responsibilities, make sure they’re reasonable, and don’t ask or expect anyone to do the impossible.
  1. Re-define content: Content is king of course, but a lot of people think content only means the written word. While it’s fantastic to have a killer blog, SEO-rich landing page content, and so on, most people actually prefer images and/or videos instead of—or in addition to—written content. Start seasoning your text with more visuals and you’ll see great results.
  1. Embrace mobile readiness: As of last year, over half of Americans use a mobile device for the majority of their online experience. However, only a sliver of websites are truly mobile-friendly, which means the site displays and works well on these devices. Mobile readiness might mean responsive design, a mobile version of a website, an app, or all three. Talk to your web developer about the best approach.

Are you sliding into the second quarter of 2016 on the right footing? With these seven strategies, you’ll blow the competition away.

 

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