Part of being a successful business owner or operator involves paying attention to forecasts about what is likely to occur within the business spectrum — and in your industry specifically — in the year ahead.

Once you have this information, the next step is to use it to capitalize on these trends, keeping you ahead of the curve and providing a competitive advantage against others in your field.

So, what types of trends are important to know in 2019 that could potentially help you boost your business growth?

A More Diverse Workplace, with the Help of AI

NAB indicates that unconscious bias in the hiring bias can make it more difficult to create a diverse workplace. However, new types of artificial intelligence can help change this, enabling companies to hire staff with a wider variety of skills and experiences.

Of course, knowing that this bias may exist is the first step to curbing it. One way to analyze this within your own company is to look at your current staff. Do they tend to be a similar demographic or are they varied in age, gender, race, and other factors? If they are similar, what are some things you can do (in addition to using AI) to create a more diverse workplace?

More Affordable Cross-Channel Marketing Options

Another trend NAB suggests will impact small businesses specifically in the year ahead is more affordable options for marketing your company across a variety of channels, primarily via Software as a Service (SaaS) packages.

According to Tech Funnel, the top SaaS marketing tools for businesses are currently Trello, Hootsuite, HubSpot, BuzzSumo, and Google Analytics. Implementing one of these can help expand your outreach without having to also expand your 2019 marketing budget.

Improving Voice Search SEO

Gorilla 360 adds that another change businesses can expect in the year ahead is based on consumers utilizing voice search more often. In fact, approximately one-half of all searches are anticipated to be by voice in the year 2020.

To gain a competitive advantage in this area now, it is highly recommended to optimize your articles to voice search, or in other words — content that answers who, what, why, when, and where to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) in this area. Also, make sure your website is mobile-friendly, making it easier for your customers to use once they find you.

Avoiding Common Business-Growth Mistakes

In addition to capitalizing on trends expected in the year ahead, Russell Ruffino, founder of the multimillion dollar company Clients on Demand, shares that it is also important to avoid some all-too-common business mistakes.

The first is not attracting new leads, and Ruffino says that the key to avoiding this mistake is to use online advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook. By constantly loading your sales funnel, you'll always have potential clients interested in your services.

Another common mistake that Ruffino says he sees in business is failing to convert leads to clients. If your business is experiencing this issue, Ruffino recommends developing a sales system that "puts the client first." This allows you to price higher while still attracting clients early in the sales funnel.

Finally, Ruffino stresses that having an outdated service delivery system can hurt business growth. Fixing this issue involves providing stellar customer service and also offering as many of your services online as you can, maximizing your time while still meeting customers' needs.

By capitalizing on upcoming business trends and avoiding some of the most common business-growth mistakes that experts tend to see companies make, you can potentially make 2019 your best year yet. All because you took action on changes that appear to be in the works anyway.

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