3 Key Small Business Trends for 2012

December 28, 2011: 3 Key Small Business Trends for 2012

A few weeks ago I revealed five food trends I think you should keep your eyes on next year. There’s plenty more where those came from, like the ones I wrote about on SmallBizTrends.com. But there’s a lot more to look forward to in 2012, so here’s a heads up.

At the moment (and I’m knocking wood as I type this), most economic signs point to a stronger year ahead. It likely won’t be a knock-your-socks-off recovery, but it appears 2012 will be a better year than many would have forecast even a few months ago.

To get ready, some small businesses (especially larger ones) are ramping up and planning to hire. According to a “Trends in Small Business Hiring” survey from American Express OPEN, “the likelihood of hiring among small firms increases” with company size and revenues. “Firms with $500,000 or more in sales, as well as those with 20 or more employees, are consistently more likely to be looking to increase staffing” in 2012, the report says.

There’s also likely to be an increased focus on technology in 2012. It’s vital to your success that you protect your company data, both from outside threats and inadvertent internal ones. The advent of consumerization (employees using work devices at home, or personal devices at work) increases your risk of malware working its way into your company’s computer system. And if you think you’re safe from these types of attacks because you primarily use Macs (traditionally less open to viral attack than PCs), think again. Natalie Severino, the director of consumer product marketing at Trend Micro, recently told me more and more cybercrooks are “following the money” and targeting Mac computers.

There’s a lot more technological innovation to come, including the growing use of cloud technology and the rapid rise of m-commerce. No matter what type of business you have, more and more consumers are searching for companies on their smartphones or tablets, and if your website is not optimized for mobile devices, you are going to lose out. Here’s a free ebook from my company and Network Solutions that will help you get mobile-ready.