BBB Business Tip: It’s Small Business Week! What’s Hot This Year?


May 1, 2017

The Better Business Bureau looked at some leading research to see what business trends are on the minds of business owners and corporate leaders in 2017. It comes as no surprise that technology issues are in the forefront, along with marketing, content, and how to enhance the user experience. Since it is Small Business Week, let’s take a look at how small business owners can learn from these “hot topics” and incorporate them into their work.

Native advertising means the subject of the content has paid to be featured. Many people are familiar with newspaper “advertorials” of yesteryear, but may not realize that much of the content they see online is purchased. It has been created to look like news but is, in fact, advertising. The Federal Trade Commission and BBB have guidelines so businesses can make sure their native advertising is properly identified, truthful, and transparent (see Section 39 of the BBB Code of Advertising).

Millennials have high expectations for service, quality, and speed of delivery… and they are driving the consumer experience. Square, Inc., a BBB Accredited Business in San Francisco, recently did an analysis of the issues driving the economy. Their conclusion? “Millennials – the biggest generation in U.S. history – are about to move into their prime spending years. They’ve come of age with all this technology and are the fastest adopters of whatever is new. So this is a turning-point year. If you don’t adapt to this new consumer standard, you might be left behind.”

Technology is driving innovation for businesses large and small. Last year, United Parcel Service, a BBB Accredited Business based in Atlanta, offered its predictions for small business tech trends. Their take?

  • “Improving the customer’s mobile experience is essential”
  • “Cloud computing is becoming the new normal” for small businesses because it reduces IT costs
  • “Small businesses now have access to advanced analytic tools that will monitor and track business data in real time,” much as large companies have for many years

According to an Allstate/USA Today poll, small business owners are optimistic about their revenue and business this year. Among small businesses with 100 employees or less, 64% say they are currently faring well.

But with the increasing volume of advertising and marketing consumers currently face, it can be easy for small businesses to get their message lost in the clutter. Today’s trends focus on organic and personal connections with customers, or specialized marketing for differentiation.

These approaches appeal to the growing millennial market that wants more out of the customer experience. Hyperlocal and niche marketing that targets a very specific location or sub-culture stands out. Live video streaming and customer involvement in content creation can strengthen a small business’s engagement with its customers, for a very low cost (most social media platforms are free). If your small business isn’t yet using these channels to reach existing and potential customers, make a Small Business Week pledge to start now!