Business Trends for 2012



 

So we are in the last month of 2011, and the economy is inching along towards recovery. 2011’s Black Friday helped to improve our outlook. According to the Huffington Post, “A record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the four-day holiday weekend starting on Thanksgiving Day, up from 212 million last year, according to early estimates by The National Retail Federation. They spent more, too: The average holiday shopper spent $398.62 over the weekend, up from $365.34 a year ago. That's an encouraging sign for consumer spending.

The retail numbers added to a growing set of indicators, including steady drops in the number of new applications for unemployment benefits that suggest the U.S. economy is continuing to heal.”

This is good news, for you and your business. As a small business, however, you may be thinking about beyond the holidays, and what 2012 may bring. You can bet that there will be more innovation in technology, as well as political wrangling over economic issues. As a small business, how can you get a good start on the New Year? What are the latest predictions? There are several suppositions out there, and room for enthusiasm.

According to SmallBizTrendz.com, an online magazine devoted to small business owners, 2012 will be another challenging year. Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBizMedia, conducted a poll of 1,000 small business owners to determine their visions for 2012. “Asked about their outlook for their business’s performance in 2012, SMBs (small businesses) were divided. Forty percent are either “optimistic” or “very optimistic” about the coming year, 32 percent are “neutral” and 28 percent feel either “pessimistic” or “very pessimistic.”

Heading into 2012, SMBs will continue to focus on the challenges that occupied them in 2011. Specifically, their key areas of improvement will be customer/client growth (60 percent) and customer/client retention (38 percent). As a result, the top areas where SMBs plan to spend are marketing (35 percent) and sales (28 percent).”

Some other predictions include (from Networking Exchange Blog, “2012 Social Media Business Trends, by Cheryl Burgess):

“In 2012, mobile will move to center stage in social, as everyone has a phone, with close to a majority of those being smart phones. Location-based messaging between people, and especially between people and businesses of all sizes, will increasingly be initiated by individuals as they tap into their personal networks and networks of those around them to seek and share information. Besides being highly personal, mobile will become the social conduit.” From Chuck Martin, CEO, Mobile Future Institute

“In 2012, more companies will consider use of social monitoring and analytics to help them understand sentiment, key influencers and the types of people chatting about their brand. In addition, growth of the social space will raise the importance of dialog between customer service groups and social media teams.  This improved collaboration can lead to an integrated plan to better handle inquiries via the various channels. “From Porter Gale, Marketing Consultant

“Biggest trend in social media for small business?  One that has already started but now many are getting the fruits of their labor:  networking. Finding each other to share stories and learning. Finding talent to join the business. Finding prospects to try to convert to customers. For networking, social media is the small business owners’ best friend,” from Jim Joseph, President of Lippe Taylor.

From Kevin Casey on InformationWeek.com:

“Consider crowdsourced pricing. When it comes to social business…more and more online stores will turn their customers into a sales force by offering volume markdowns--or what she likes to call "crowdsourced pricing"--similar to how LivingSocial and other daily deal sites entice buyers with a free deal for getting three friends to purchase the same offer. The concept is not new--it's essentially the group discount, repurposed for the Facebook era…Example: you offer a product at a particular price point but only if/when it hits X number of purchases. The strategy can deliver collateral wins for sales and marketing departments, too, in the form of email addresses and other data…”

2012 will be a challenge, but through diligence and innovation, you can continue to grow your business.

 

Published Thursday, December 01, 2011 7:17 PM by John M

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