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2017 business challenges


Whether you established your business this year and are just becoming aware of the huge challenges that come with running an enterprise, or you are a veteran that is all too experienced with the struggle of juggling growing your business and completing regular admin, every year presents owners with problems to overcome – and 2017 has been no different. Business consultancy experts, Sage, performed a recent survey with small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) and discovered the most common issues entrepreneurs have faced this year.

These issues are particularly challenging for SMBs where teams tend to be much smaller than those of larger enterprises, so employees need to be able to bring a diverse skillset alongside an ability to manage their work-life balance effectively to avoid burning out. Fortunately, living in the digital age that we do, 2017 has also been the year of innovative, cheaper and highly available technology that offers solutions to these common problems.

Image source Public Domain Pictures

Industry Trends

Most owners are aware of the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest best practices for one’s respective industry, but when time is precious, it is easy to see why it quickly falls down the priority list. Yet, failing to stay informed has had negative impact on growth for even some of the world’s biggest businesses, so it is essential to integrate it into your long-term business model.

Sole traders can employee virtual assistants on short or long-term arrangements to provide them with regular reports, while teams can divide areas of responsibility among personnel and stay informed of the latest practices, trends and technologies by accessing free blogs, podcasts and industry magazines, then meeting for monthly deliberations.

Entrusting AI To Handle Admin

Coping with repetitive, time-consuming admin while also trying to expand a business is not a new challenge, but remains one of the most common for SMBs in 2017. However, this year has also seen growing popularity in new and large software developers adopting machine learning software to complete a range of otherwise mundane business tasks.

From using social media AI to track user demographic information and create targeted marketing material, to implementing chatbots to handle 24/7 first-line customer support, machine learning is enabling SMBs to automate a whole range of traditionally time-consuming tasks.

Prioritizing SEO To Win Clients

Search engine optimization continues to become more complex each year as search engine providers seek to make their results more accurate. It is no longer sufficient to simply overload a website with keywords or internal links. Fortunately, there is an abundance of information online in the form of guides, website builders to help non-developers build professional, responsive web pages, and plug-ins to make it easier to detect which parts of a website need SEO to ensure customers can find your business online.

With more businesses establishing themselves online each year, search engines will only continue to adapt and alter their methods for ranking websites. So, as we enter 2018, it is important to prioritize staying updated on your industry’s best practices, both online and offline, and to implement technology automation wherever possible, allowing you and your teams more time to focus on establishing and growing your brand.