5 Trends That Will Impact Small Businesses
in 2018 and Beyond
David Gibbs, CPA, MBA
Focused on You. Dedicated to Your Success.
January 15, 2018

According to Alex Chriss, chief product officer with the Small Business Group at Intuit, in his article entitled 5 Trends That Will Impact Small Businesses in 2018 and Beyond published in Inc. (December 21, 2017), there are five micro trends that will impact small businesses. 

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)Small businesses can benefit from AI as much as larger companies thanks to third party tools and advances in technology. There are many free resources available for small businesses to take advantage of such as IBM Watson's AI tools, as well as tools to create software for various AI functions ranging from facial recognition to predictive analytics. In addition, small businesses can collect information on customer buyer behaviors thanks to AI.
  2. Fluid Workforces – New forecasts prepared by Intuit and Emergent Research show that there are currently 3.9 million Americans working in the on-demand or gig economy, and this is expected to reach 7.7 million in 2020, and 9.2 million by 2021. Small businesses can benefit from hiring freelancers instead of full or part time employees for special projects or to obtain talent that they do not have in-house. Businesses can scale up or down easily without the administrative and payroll expenses associated with hiring staff. According to the 2016 Small Business Credit Survey Report on Employer Firms published in April 2017 by several Federal Reserve Banks, 42% of small business already use contract employees. 
  3. Niche Markets – Small businesses are uniquely positioned to take advantage of meeting the needs of niche markets. Small businesses are less bureaucratic than larger companies and can act faster than their larger counterparts to respond to new market trends and buying behaviors. 
  4. Digital Payments – More consumers want to pay digitally than ever before. Several tools are available today for small businesses to accept digital payments such as Apple Pay, Square, and QuickBooks Go Payment. Small businesses benefit from making more payment options available to customers and streamlining the bookkeeping function. Even with cybersecurity being a main concern of many business owners, accepting digital payments is a viable option.
  5. Crisis Preparation – The number of natural disasters in 2017 was a wake-up call for many small business owners to develop a crisis response plan. An estimated 25% of small businesses that are victims of a natural disaster never open again and more than half of small businesses’ owners are not prepared for the data loss associated with a disaster. This trend is making it more important than ever for small businesses to have back-up contingency plans and to use cloud-based technology.

As always, we are here to help you to take advantage of new market opportunities. Feel free to contact us at 610.828.1900. You can contact David Gibbs, CPA, MBA partner at David.Gibbs@MCC-CPAs.com or myself at Marty.McCarthy@MCC-CPAs.com .
Martin C. McCarthy, CPA, CCIFP
Managing Partner
McCarthy & Company, PC

Disclaimer This alert is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Information contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used as tax advice, and cannot be used by the recipient to avoid penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code. We strongly advise you to seek professional assistance with respect to your specific issue(s).