With 2017 coming to a close, it’s time to buy a new calendar and start planning for the year ahead. Although 2017 may have been dominated by talks of a deal or no deal Brexit, small business owners remain optimistic.
Before we ring in the New Year, let’s have a quick glance at the Caunce O’Hara crystal ball to see what trends business owners can expect to see in the year ahead…
Increase in the gig economy
Freelancers, contractors and flexible working are here to stay. As workers look for more flexible ways to make money than being tied to a desk from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, we’re seeing a seismic shift in the employment landscape.
This is a blessing for small business owners as it means that you’ll no longer have to turn to big companies to get the advice and support you need. If there’s something you need doing in your business, you can guarantee there’s a freelancer out there offering these services, so you don’t need to worry about hiring someone in-house to get the job done. With more individuals heading down the freelance route, it’s important to make sure they have the right level of freelancer insurance or professional indemnity insurance coverage before
Cybersecurity threat to grow
You may have seen news of some high profile cyber security attacks in 2017. This included data breaches at HBO and a ransomware attack on the NHS. It isn’t only the big boys coming under fire. According to Zurich, 875,000 SMEs in the UK have been the victim of a cyber attack in the last 12 months.
This threat is only set to get worse in 2018 as machine learning becomes a bigger part of the threat. In 2018, it’s important that you regularly assess your cybersecurity provisions to ensure you aren’t the next victim.
Mobile business on the rise
Most SME owners are regularly glued to their phones, so this will come as no surprise. Mobile use for business owners is on the rise, with more owners checking emails and carrying out other essential tasks on their mobile devices.
Hillary Clinton is perhaps the most high-profile individual to have fallen foul of incorrect use of a mobile device in a work setting. The problem with mobile phones is that they are easy to lose and it’s also easier to make mistakes. To adapt to the rise of mobile usage in the workplace, companies need to assess their mobile usage policy and make sure all employees are aware of what is and what isn’t acceptable. It’s also important to make sure that mobile devices have the same level of virus and malware protection as your laptop or desktop.
Artificial Intelligence/ Voice
Larger companies are already trialing this innovative approach to customer service, but the technology could soon be cost-effective enough to make it accessible to SMEs. Artificial intelligence has applications in customer service and could transform the way small businesses provide support to their customers. Rather than replacing people with robots, it instead frees up your customer support team to focus on other areas of customer service.
Voice search is also set to be an important factor in the way companies increase their visibility. This will have wide-reaching implications for marketing and online visibility.
Regardless of where 2018 takes us, it’s important to future-proof your company with the right small business insurance. Get in touch today to build your ideal coverage.