One of my favorite sayings is “you don’t have to be faster than a bear, just faster than the guy behind you”.  In today’s world, small business owners need to stay one step ahead of their competition.  Technology, millennials and demanding customers have changed how we think about what it takes to be successful in 2019 and beyond.  Customers have an ever-increasing variety of choices which means we have to stay ahead of the curve or the “bear”.  Here are a few key small business trends in 2019 to consider.

Data Security – Small businesses are likely to invest more heavily in cyber security in 2019. This year has witnessed a string of high-profile data breaches, from Facebook to HSBC, the results of which have been lawsuits and fines. Small business owners will need to invest in cyber-security training and in-house data security experts to detect and combat system threats.  Teach staff about the importance of keeping desks clear of private information and destroying documents with bank details or payroll information in a secure manner will help significantly reduce the risk. Likewise, employing a specialist to perform regular penetration tests on your systems will help identify potential cracks and mitigate attacks.

Wellness at Work Programs – Promoting well being, both for current employees and potential new recruits will need to be a priority. A survey conducted by Moorepay found that 71% of small to medium-sized firms had seen their profitability be affected by people not coming into work due to stress, low-morale and mental illness. With smaller companies so reliant on every employee performing at their best, entrepreneurs should look to combat this trend by finding ways to better nurture the well being of their staff. Flexible working, whereby employees have a greater say over when and where they work, is an increasingly popular working arrangement in many small businesses. Employees who previously felt overworked and bitter about their poor work-life balance have seen their mood improve due to having more agency over their working hours.