Calculators, crowdfunding, content marketing: Business trends for 2017

No one could predict most of the major events of this year. Few, for example, predicted the American election would take the turn it did. Hardly anyone would’ve said that Britain would be leaving the European Union. Yet, these startling events occurred and had – and will continue to have – a massive impact on business around the world. Looking toward 2017, you should seriously consider what possibilities could occur that could have an impact, negative or positive, on your business. As everyone enters the final parts of this year and is winding down to enjoy some much needed rest, it’s also the best time to begin assessing what trends you can expect to see.

Crowdfunding

There’s little doubt that crowdfunding has, in some cases, been an enormous success. Almost all businesses have relied on raising funds from other people in order to cover startup costs. Crowdfunding, however, doesn’t rely on rich investors or public stocks. Instead, it focuses on small amounts from a large number of people using the reach of the internet, without any claim of ownership (as per shareholders) from backers. Kickstarter, for example, is the most well-known crowdfunding platform. Pebble smartwatch broke records twice, as CNN Tech reports:

“It broke its first record on its first day, when it became the fastest project to raise $1 million – in 49 minutes. A week later, it became the most-funded campaign in Kickstarter’s history after receiving more than $13.3 million in pledges.”

Crowdfunding is so popular, even scientists are turning to it as an alternative to the frustration of seeking grants. Businesses must begin taking crowdfunding seriously, both in terms of how they can raise funds when public stock is not an option and in terms of sudden competitors. Apple, a major corporation, for example, had to contend with the crowdfunded Pebble in the smartwatch industry. If crowdfunding can create that kind of dynamic, it is an area well worth watching.

Calculators

Determining a business’ funds is central to keeping it alive. After all, without that knowledge, you could make decisions that end up harming your business. To that end, more and more businesses will use various kinds of calculators to help them make financial decisions. Whether it’s a car repayment calculator or plant and machinery finance calculator, business owners will continue to use online tools to help them determine their financial status. Before, you would have to shell out enormous amounts of money to obtain this kind of data, but these simple programs let anyone do it almost instantly.

Cost-cutting has become priority for businesses all over the world. As Small Business.co.uk notes:

“Some 58 per cent of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be prioritising reducing costs in the New Year, according to a study by Liberis. Business owners prioritise reducing costs over expanding their business or developing the skills of their staff. Survey respondents also mention Brexit, rising costs and Donald Trump as challenges that their businesses expect to face in 2017, which may explain why business owners and managers plan to reduce costs next year.”

Therefore, anyway you can reduce costs should be investigated. This is particularly the case if it’s a matter merely of knowing where to reduce costs.

Content marketing

One of the most important parts of business is marketing. However, in an increasingly broad environment with many businesses competing for the same audience, this has proved increasingly difficult. One way that businesses have tried to stay ahead is putting themselves on the first results of Google and other search engines. However, there have been constantly evolving strategies to achieve this. One of these has been content marketing.

As one Forbes writer noted, Tesla have become masters at this.

“Tesla provided articles and videos to help educate me as a consumer, and build trust surrounding the purchase. Through its marketing, Tesla established an innovative brand that helped me conclude that they have a long-term vision and position for the company. As Marcus Sheridan teaches, top companies engage their front-line sales teams to identify topics for content marketing, and the content marketing team helps sales professionals to effectively use content in the sales process.”

This helps drive sales from their content and their website. Google is constantly changing how it ranks websites, meaning marketing teams have had to rethink strategies in order to drive pageviews and therefore higher ranking for specific keywords and terms. In this way, their company comes up when people are looking for the relevant topic. 2017 will see this strategy continue, as more people focus on the complexities of searching online.

In these ways, 2017 is an expansion on what’s occurring at the moment. You need to be constantly on your toes as a business person. Here’s hoping 2017 will be a better year for everyone.