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2016: Preparing for the Year Ahead

By Andrew Storrier

3 min read

The business environment is changing rapidly in the digital age, so your company must be ready to react at a moment’s notice to whatever opportunities or threats arise. Preparation is key to success in 2016, but what trends can you expect from the next calendar year?

Video Will Continue to Grow

Facebook’s daily video views are above 8 billion each day, doubling since April. That kind of explosive growth – which now rivals YouTube – shows people are enticed by video content. Accordingly, video ads and content will become even more valuable to reach your audience, particularly with Google testing search engine results page video ads.

When it comes to reach, nothing beats video. If you don’t have plans to use video as part of your marketing strategy, you’re giving the edge to competitors that do. Even if you don’t have the budget to create video content, you can share relevant videos via social media to connect with your audience.

Tip: Try to add one video to your marketing budget for 2016.

The Flexible Workplace Will Become Mainstream

The digital age is changing the way we work, and as the workforce gets younger, businesses will need to adapt to these changes. Everyone is looking for flexible work arrangements, so any organisation not reshaping the obsolete nine-to-five work structure is goading its talent to find somewhere that will adjust with the times.

This could create an opportunity for you to poach top talent from larger enterprises. You could offer a star performer more time to spend with their family and more work-from-home hours – that way they can make the most of their personal lives as well as their career.

One research paper shows that flexible work has multiple benefits, including increased engagement and retention, as well as encouraging more senior women to stay working with the business.

Tip: Offer flexible work options for your team. A happy team makes for a happy business.

The Rise of Automatic Marketing

Digital marketing is usually a massive time-sink as it requires you to complete several activities, such as scheduling posts, segmenting contacts, managing content and tracking customers, and that takes your attention away from more pressing matters. Technology now allows people to save that time with marketing automation, which is expected to grow to a $5.5 billion industry by 2019.

As pressure mounts on your business to make better use of digital platforms, you can utilise tools such as Marketo to streamline and speed up your marketing processes. You’ll never get more bang for your marketing buck than with marketing automation.

Tip: Knowing your customer is a great start on the marketing automation journey. Spend some time segmenting your customer base to market to them effectively.

More People Will Pay via Mobile

Customers have so many more tools to help them pay for your products and services, particularly with the rise of smartphone applications like Apple Pay. By the end of 2015, around 5% of all near-field communication devices will make contactless payments at least once a month, according to Deloitte.

As the technology becomes more readily available and affordable, customers are likely to use NFC to make payments due to its ease of use and simplicity. Apple also claims it’s more secure for the end user. Why not get your business ready for the trend before it explodes?

Tip: QuickBooks Online now connects seamlessly with PayPal and accepts credit card payments, so invoices can get paid quickly. Get set up before the new year.

The Great Legacy System Purge

Legacy systems can threaten a business’s livelihood – you need look no further than the Royal Bank of Scotland, which had a system glitch cause 1 million customers to be frozen out of their accounts in 2012. The RBS eventually admitted its IT systems needed an overhaul after years of underinvestment.

Businesses are starting to realise the importance of regular updates and how cloud systems simplify this process. You don’t want to be left behind when everyone else starts updating their systems – so start squirrelling away for an update or overhaul today.

Tip: Consider a cloud storage system such as Dropbox. The Dropbox Business account has added features to increase the security and safety of your data.

With 2016 poking its head around the corner, getting ready for the challenges ahead will stand you in good stead for a productive and profitable year.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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