Knowing the business trends shaping your company in 2023 can help you stay ahead of your competition and grow your sales. These emerging small business trends include personalization, generative AI, and alternative funding sources. Business leaders are facing economic challenges with rising interest rates and inflation.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)
Unified communications (UC) systems have rapidly gained popularity in recent years, and with more companies continuing to shift toward hybrid or remote work models, UC tools will only continue to become a popular investment. As a cloud-based communication solution, UCaaS offers scalable and flexible solutions for collaboration across platforms and devices. UCaaS is a highly secure solution for business communication, and most vendors now provide security measures such as multi-factor authentication to protect their customers’ data. It also allows businesses to reduce the number of apps needed to communicate and streamlines a complex stack of communication tools into one platform with clear pricing.
Additionally, UCaaS vendors continue expanding their features for flexibility and allowing users to connect on their choice of the device with a single platform that provides a consistent experience. Additionally, AI is poised to penetrate the UCaaS feature set well, allowing users to automate tasks like scheduling meetings and transcribing conversations. When voice-over-Internet protocol, or VoIP, first appeared on the market, it revolutionized local and international business communications. Modern technologies, such as a VoIP cell phone and unified communications as a service (UCaaS), enable the same fundamental capacity to be applied flexibly and in a larger range of corporate use cases. However, the question for those contemplating UCaaS vs. VoIP is not whether to employ one over the other but whether combining the two is the best course of action.
Hybrid work is a business trend that has grown in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic. It gives employees the flexibility to work from home or onsite some days but still allows them to collaborate with colleagues in person and access the company’s resources. Having hybrid workers also helps reduce business travel and office space costs. Additionally, web collaboration tools make it easy for companies to record meetings so remote team members can join later. However, this model can be challenging for companies to manage well. Employers must offer a strong network to support working from home and have a contingency plan for when Internet connections fail.
It is also important for companies to develop workplace experiences for hybrid employees, as this is a key component of the model’s success. These can be virtual or in-person and should focus on the company’s core values. For example, some companies have encouraged their hybrid employees to meet for a virtual donut chat or for coworkers to exchange ideas over coffee.
The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting
As the COVID-19 pandemic fades into memory, many Americans are still finding their way back to normal life. However, a new work trend is taking shape: quiet quitting. While the term may sound flippant, it is far from a joke. It has real consequences for employers. Essentially, employees sell their labor to companies for money. They do this under the terms of a contract (typically, a job description). In return, the company provides them with the benefits and resources they need to live their lives.
When employees feel that their employer doesn’t value their time or mental health, it can cause them to coast. Rather than quit their jobs altogether, they’ll opt only to take on projects and responsibilities that align with their career goals or are within their comfort zone. It can save the company the cost of hiring someone else to do these tasks or training an existing employee. It also helps the workers manage stress levels and set boundaries around their work-life balance.
Amid economic uncertainty, 2023 could be when small businesses look for ways to cut costs. That may include reducing staffing levels, investing in training and upskilling employees, or seeking alternative funding sources. At the same time, a growing number of businesses will seek to demonstrate their social impact. Whether environmental, ethical or otherwise, consumers will want to see that a business is making a real difference in the world, not just lip service. Companies that fall short will face greater scrutiny and accusations of greenwashing or tokenism. For example, generative AI will become a more popular way for businesses to create text, music and images with just a brief description. That has huge implications for marketing, customer support and product development. Look for companies to use generative AI in these ways and many other functions across their business. As such, expect a wider acceptance of this technology in the workplace in 2023.