In one way or another, technology seems to be involved in most sectors with prospects of growing above average. In addition, the economic recovery seems to be consolidated this year, which will facilitate access to finance for business projects.
The last days of the year are always good to try to reflect and take some air; to try to see in perspective what we have in the coming months. In the world of entrepreneurship, for example, the last decade has been largely driven by the rise of start-ups. These small technology companies have changed some of the conventions on financing and business growth but, above all, have paved the way for innovations that already resonate as almost common terms.
Big Data, Internet of Things, 3D printing … are just three of the trends that have become strong during this 2016. Now we want to dust off the crystal ball and see what the future holds, not just in terms of models or business ideas, also in relation to the management of equipment and the creation of the company itself.
It will become less and less necessary to buy paper
The often mentioned digital transformation of the economy will continue to consolidate through concrete advances. For example, electronic invoices, which only a few years between us, will continue to gain prominence. This innovation can be the spearhead for the complete digitization of companies, which will affect all their areas, from the sale of products to day-to-day management through portable devices and specific applications.
In addition, e-government has been settling for the last 3-4 years and, at present, the majority of formalities to open a company or to manage its legal and tax affairs can be done through the web.
Training needs to arise in new technology for SME
This longed-for digital transformation will bring obvious benefits to companies and freelancers, but also a good supply of doubts and ignorance. And that is where companies or professionals specialized in training on new technologies applied to business will come into play.
Here the field is very rough, but to cite a very clear example, not all entrepreneurs are driven in the use of the internet and much less in the management of web pages, social networks or applications specific to their sector. That need must be covered by experts who provide solutions sustained over time: not only launch the company website or open accounts on Twitter and Instagram; entrepreneurs need to be trained to take care of themselves on a day-to-day basis, for example, in all the telematic efforts with the administration that are already being put in place.
Internet professionals will continue to grow in importance
Just where the training in new technologies for entrepreneurs ends is the work of experts. Yes, the definition is very broad, but by internet professionals we speak of a huge number of profiles and companies that can hardly be limited: web design and management, web metrics and analysis, web content creation and social networks, community management virtual, logistics, online security, Big Data analysts, application developers … and so on to complete a very long etcetera that will increasingly have a presence in the economy.
The greater presence of this type of business will also be in line with the evolution of the companies themselves. As SME grows and is becoming smaller and smaller, a number of time-consuming responsibilities begin to emerge, for example, to manage the business web or the processing of the customer database. There are two very specific cases in which this large box of tailors of the ‘internet professionals’ will be useful for companies in other sectors without relation to the web.
Everything will pass through the palm of the hand
One of the clearest trends has to do with the mobile phone as the epicenter of work, leisure, and consumption. The ‘smartphone’ will continue to grow in importance within our lives and that will continue to impact on the way we work and on business opportunities.
A good example of this is found in the increasingly abundant methods of payment in which the mobile phone intervenes. In fact, it is even possible to use your smartphone as a mobile POS, without the need for a data phone.
The bank will be open 24 hours on your mobile phone
But where you will really see the growth of the mobile phone as a tool for work and management of personal resources, will be thanks to the growth of fin tech. Technology applied to the world of finance has barely begun to show what it can achieve. Great things are expected in this field, which will offer an infinite number of business opportunities for technological entrepreneurs and great benefits for the rest of the business world.
You will not be anyone without an application
In addition, the real ‘pop’ of applications for SME is coming. As costs have been decreasing and society has been adopting and learning to use smartphones, making mobile applications have been getting cheaper and its profitability has grown remarkably.
Now the apps are not private reserve for large companies, any SME with a little budget can consider abandoning, for example, the credit cards or the points program for an app that serves as a member club and, why not, the point of purchase. Will we see our usual greengrocer’s suggestion to download your app? It’s not a crazy idea.
The traditional office will continue to evolve
We no longer talk about co-working, which is now healthy and on the way to settling down as a solid alternative to working space. The office as we know it is changing, mainly, thanks to tele-work.
There are increasingly more technological solutions to make long journeys unnecessary each morning or to make the large companies with different locations spread across the country much more flexible. This trend will continue to grow, also thanks to the rise of so-called mini-jobs, which in many cases do not require a specific physical space for the worker to fulfill his task.
The ecological will like more and more
We recently recommended business models to undertake in an ecological way. Well, 2017 is expected to sector sustainability – from organic farming to continue generating renewable energy- a clear upward trend.
It will not be only for greater awareness of the environment or health issues. One of the responsibilities for this type of business models to become strong during this year will be the rise of the collaborative economy …
The division between consumer and supplier will continue to blur
Because the collaborative economy encourages business models, in principle minority or with clients spread throughout the geography, to help start up business projects thanks to their contributions. A good example of what the collaborative economy is capable of is found in the cultural world, where creators and consumers have created a binomial that allows the former to offer quality works to the latter. For example, a comic that is co-financed with micro-donations, a video game in which professionals collaborate to contribute each their grain of sand in the field they dominate.
Perhaps where it is clear that the collaborative economy is changing part of the rules of the game is in the purchase and sale of all types of articles. It is not that this sort of virtual market will revolutionize the economy, but it does offer a way out of a multitude of products – and also services – that would otherwise not reach the general public.
All these trends are just a glimpse of what is to come, as recent history has taught us.