Forecasts for small business in 2016

biz forecast

What’s in store for small and medium enterprises in 2016?  Here are some predictions by business CEOs/top managers.  To be sure, most of the forecasts are oriented to the American business environment.  Nevertheless, local entrepreneurs may pick up valid ideas to ponder on as they try to start the new year with reforms and improvements in mind.  After all, hasn’t it been said that the world is increasingly becoming smaller?

Customers will be more scrutinizing, vigilant

“Consumers have higher expectations of real fairness and responsiveness to complaints. It’s less and less easy to get rid of people with legitimate complaints by ignoring them or handing out a coupon. In a nutshell: Business owners will have to run their businesses as if their mother were looking over their shoulder, because she likely will be.”

Mark Deuitch, CEO, PeopleClaim

Human connection still works best

“The convergence of companies turning to technology to cut costs, and consumers having access to multiple options will create a chasm where brand loyalty does not exist. The key to highly sought-after repeat business will be to establish and maintain the human connection. It is essential for any company to show their customers that each specific visit/business mattered and they continue to be important beyond the sale.” ­

– Richard Shapiro, founder and president, The Center for Client Retention

Hiring will become more difficult

“Hiring will become more difficult especially for skilled jobs, leading to longer times to fill open positions. The cost to hire will consequently increase due to a combination of escalating recruiting costs and pressure to increase wages, and small business owners and management will finally infuse technology into the recruiting function and automate many of the administrative and other labor-intensive functions.”

Ira S. Wolfe, president, Success Performance Solutions

Businesses will not just go green but also aim for social change

“Just as greening your business became much more fashionable once companies realized it was profitable, the next big thing will be incorporating deep social change. Not just giving to charity, but [also] creating products and services that turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance.”

Shel Horowitz, author, Green and Profitable

Businesses must secure data

“In light of the fast-moving developments in privacy law and the protection of data, both in the U.S. and abroad, businesses of all sizes need to pay more attention to and allocate financial resources for increasing the measures that they take to keep data secure. Businesses also need to make greater efforts to provide transparent communications to their customers about their privacy and data-security practices.”

– Maureen Dorney, partner, Paradigm Counsel

Photo: from cber.waltoncollege.uark.edu/383.asp

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