SMEs – Trends and Predictions

It seemed not long ago we welcome 2018 and now it is 2019. It is resolution time; how do you fare? As one reflects on the past year, through hit or miss of opportunities, faced with challenges, the highs and the lows; it is time to regroup and plan for the new year keeping in mind those lessons learnt and making plans for a better year.

2018 may probably is one of an eventful year for businesses, with geo-politic and trade tensions; business disruption by technology are of concerns, uncertainties and redefining business adaption. The trade tariff imposed by USA rippled throughout the world trades which no doubt will extend into 2019.

As China’s advancement in innovation and technology leaps and meet with USA rivalry for leadership intensifying, there are concerns this add further stress on current trade tariff negotiation. This may leads to protectionism instead of Bi or Multi- lateral business environment that most countries leaders are encouraging.

China, in its 40 years since opening the economy, from world low cost, low technology manufacturing country to become one of the feared high technology country in the world. China will continue to grow its dominance in trades and manufacturing sectors globally and is set to continue to innovate and excel in its technology path and moving away low cost, low value industries out of China. It is worth taking note for manufacturers who are considering export to or investing in China to review the opportunities in China for quality products.

The trend and implementation of Internet of Thing, big data and AI have, rapidly in the last year, replaced much of conventional trading system and is a major business disruption to the conventional business dealing. Retail businesses are looking into ways to create value for their companies through Internet of Thing, manufacturers can now equipped with more and better information that enable them to target products and goods to the intended sectors through multi platforms to buyers globally.

With the Internet of Thing, business operations and communications are changing and continue to change drastically. Policies and trends, be it technology, marketing, finance or manufacturing, companies need to be aware of all these factors in addition to their internal operations.

As SMEs, keeping ahead on trends and adapting to changes are challenging but very necessary and critical in today’s businesses to stay successful and relevant.

Customers today have more choices than ever, just login into google, baidu, naver Yahoo or Alibaba, Amazon and Lazada and they are able to search, access products directly with manufacturers and they can prioritize preferred suppliers base on the delivery of fast, seamless and personalized service.

Every success story brings another, share success stories, it is very important to use the tools available to you, be it in the magazine, e-blast, blogs and social media. Good customers’ reviews build confidence and proven to influence online customers before they decide to purchase.

In the coming years, customer reviews will be the greatest influencer of any business. There will be more brands driving innovative marketing programs through these review forums to their target audience.

However, as I mentioned in the past, technology cannot replace human relationship. Technology has now runs our lives more than ever, but it is relationships that drive business and commerce, so people will find more ways to connect in person to build trust and strengthen connections.

With digital tools and platforms making breakthrough in how businesses are transacted SMEs should innovate or take advantage of innovation and technology available to connect, collaborate and co-operate with larger manufacturers or/and with global SMEs to be successful and stay relevant.