Why the Next 10 Years of Local Business Will Smash the Last 10
Can anyone believe we’re already in the year 2017? Apple is just about celebrate their 10th anniversary of releasing the very first iPhone back in 2007. That was 10 years ago! Crazy as it may be, there have been so many changes to mankind within the last decade, that people often forget where we were back at the turn of the century. Remember when PalmPilot devices were a thing? Yeah, scratch that!
The last 10 years have been full of new technology, billionaire unicorn companies, social media and Tinder. These out of the ordinary developments are all part of the exponential growth curve that we are all apart of. And for those of you who don’t understand the power of exponents, let’s just say that if you thought a lot has happened over the last 10 years, just wait to see where we’ll be in 2027.
Moving forward, this upcoming decade presents a fantastic opportunity for existing and new entrants in the local business space. What once had very high barriers of entry, is now just a few emails and e-signatures away. Here are some reasons for why the next 10 years of local business will completely crush the last 10.
If you are a currently a local business or aspiring local business owner, there’s something very important you do not want to ignore. Your Story! You may have the best product or service in town, but don’t expect that everyone will simply start running to you. Basic demand generation comes from marketing (online, offline, paid and free), and without a story, you’re marketing efforts won’t provide you with much traction. Once you have a story, go out and tell the world. Share it on social media, tell your customers as they walk into your store or speak to you through email. Communicate your story, and you can be sure that people will start approaching you. Why, you ask? Because with a story, people can empathize with your journey. They can walk through your shoes, understand your background, and build this emotional connection with you, which will often lead them to ‘wanting to contribute’ and eventually purchasing from you.
If you’re not sure how to tell your story, feel free to check out some great posts about it here and here. There are many new businesses entering this space after realizing over the last decade how important story-telling has become for the success of local businesses. Some examples include this company and this company. These two companies help businesses ultimately of any size, learn how to develop and tell their own brand stories. As marketing tools become more and more competitive, and people put an increased focus on campaign optimization, we will see many storytelling agencies and storytelling tools arising, which intend to differentiate between those who focus strongly on marketing tools from those that see the much larger picture at hand and want to take on that greater challenge.
If I were to receive a penny for each local business that I found mistakes on their own web page, I’d be close to a billionaire by now. Web design, web design, web design. Mobile, mobile, mobile. What am I saying here?
You need to focus on your web presence and you need to make sure it is mobile optimized! These days, people have to be impressed. We’ve all gotten used to high quality television, beautifully designed websites with stellar user experiences, and in this day in age, a very basic web design with mistakes, just isn’t going to cut it. Moreover, with a constantly ‘on-the-move’ population of people, the chances of potential customers finding your web page while sitting in front of the computer have drastically decreased. You need to consider this as well.
As stated in the Small Biz Trends blog, with regards to optimizing your web design, “Use calls to action and tell visitors what you want them to do on your site. Keep your design clean and simple. Make sure it has all the relevant information, including a physical address.
Lesonsky said, “Your site is like a store. no one is going to walk into a dirty store.””
The next decade will see many more technology developments in this space. Some companies that have already caught on to the increasing demand of web design improvement include Wix through their ADI automated website builder and The Grid with their constantly changing automated design based on new content uploaded.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I am reaching out to a business and they just don’t answer their phones or email. Whoever expects to stay afloat in the business environment but does not want to answer any line of communication should just get out of the business before wasting too much of their time. As lines of communication have really opened up after the new developments of the last 10 years, there is absolutely no excuse to not respond to a potential customer.
Over the last 10 years, with the increasing popularity of the smartphone, remembering to email and call back potential customers has become quite easy. Rather than writing every little note and reminder to yourself down on paper, and then forgetting that sheet of paper as you slip outside of the office, you can very easily and quickly put your reminders directly into your smartphone. Most smartphones even allow connectivity to the cloud, meaning that even if you leave the office and forgot that special notebook that you always take home with you, your reminders and daily call-back/email-back notes will still be with you on-the-go as long as you have internet access. The next 10 years will help you even more than the last 10, however. As technology similar to smartphones becomes more and more embedded into our daily lives, we will start to witness the rise of screenless interfaces. Just to give you a glimpse as to what I am referring to - when someone gives you a call and you are in a meeting, you will be able to push a quick message to your screenless interface (like Amazon Echo, for example) which will then one hour later remind you that you need to call that contact back. How cool is that? Definitely makes it much more difficult to ‘forget’ your business priorities, wouldn’t you say?
Last, but most definitely not least, money management. Some people say money is pretty important for local businesses. I think it’s fair to say we can all agree to that one! With new personal finance apps coming out left and right like Mint and Qapital, it’s no wonder that the topic of money management has become more popular over the past decade. You can deifnitely expect this trend to continue onwards over the next decade. With relatively newer companies helping local businesses with their own money management, like inDinero and Freshbooks, local businesses now have the access to seamless and insightful money management tools which have the potential to even save their business. By using these tools, local businesses can learn more about how much they’re recurring expenses amount, what categories they fall in, and ultimately find ways to save in the places they are least effective. In my eyes, this is an obvious win-win for the money management companies and for the local business owners.
I hope the above helps give you an overview of how the next 10 years have the potential to completely change the face of local businesses. Whether it be by improving your brand story and connecting more with your audience, or managing your finances with extreme care, you can be sure that these next 10 years are going to present many new opportunities for local businesses to really up their game and take over their local business market.