The turkey has been carved, the gifts have been purchased and business owners are ready to celebrate the holiday season reflecting on a successful 2014. While small business owners may be thinking about holiday traditions, they are also beginning to focus on priorities and potential challenges ahead. Changes in technology, growing cybersecurity concerns, and shifts in the political landscape are all top of mind as small business owners enter 2015.
As the clock strikes midnight and the champagne bottles pop to ring in the New Year, three topics will be top of mind for entrepreneurs in 2015.
New Year, New Tools
Social media has made a major impact in the way businesses attract and keep customers, both old and new. While most small business owners know that it's important to utilize various social channels, many do not know how to tailor their strategy to the specific medium in order to maximize customer reach.
As each small business is unique, it is important that small business owners remain aware of which platforms give them the best return on investment, so they can adapt their efforts to the platforms that most effectively reach their target audience.
Smart small business owners will be looking for new ways to engage with their current customers. Studies have shown that there is a higher return on investment for social media platforms when business owners focus on building loyalty and relationships with current customers. What better way to interact with your customers on a more personal level than by using social media as a tool?
Protecting Your Business
2014 has been called The Year of the Breach, and it's clear that we have reached critical mass in terms of damage done to the economy. As the implications of these breaches become more and more detrimental, it is likely that there will need to be government intervention through the form of a bipartisan effort to address these issues.
31 percent of small business owners said they are concerned about having customer credit card information stolen through a point-of-sale breach, according to a recent Manta survey. Though small business owners don't typically have the in-depth security knowledge, time or resources to effectively protect themselves against targeted attacks, it will be important for small business owners to continuously educate themselves in order to protect both their business and their customers.
If the government does its part and steps in to help businesses, the small business community will likely see these benefits trickling down to them.
Changes in Washington, D.C.
With major Republican wins in the November midterm elections, a majority of small business owners across the political spectrum are optimistic there will be policy changes benefiting small businesses.
Many small business owners are hoping for specific policy changes, with 61 percent stating that they are in favor of repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act in the New Year. However, with the history of disagreements and dysfunction in our nation's capital, change will likely not come until Washington agrees to start working together. While small business owners remain optimistic about political change, only 2015 will tell what will come out of this new administration.
Small businesses are special by nature and they face distinct challenges throughout the year. With unique challenge comes unique opportunity, and continuing to stay educated on new threats and opportunities throughout the year will ensure that small business owners are prepared for success in 2015 and beyond.