12 Tech Trends That Can Drive Small Business Success in 2018

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What technology trend should small businesses watch for at the start of 2018?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Mobile Site Performance

Francois de LameSmall businesses must be laser-focused on mobile in 2018. Google will be rolling out the ‘mobile-first index,’ which will introduce another big shakeup in search. If you pick one technology to focus on in 2018, make it mobile site performance and usability. – Francois de Lame, Policygenius Inc.

2. Blockchain

Serenity GibbonsWith the rise and interest in cryptocurrency, which uses blockchain technology, and the emergence of more applications, it’s important to follow this technology to see how you might apply it in your own business. – Serenity Gibbons, Calendar

3. Automation

Baruch LabunskiAutomation is a game changer for small businesses. You can now automate many facets of your business, and that will improve and impact your marketing, project management, finance, human resources — just to name a few! The great thing is that it’s now cost-effective for small businesses to invest in automation, and you’ll see returns within months, not years. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

4. Virtual Reality

Blair ThomasVirtual reality technology is expected to really take off in 2018. Small businesses need to start thinking of creative ways to connect with clients’ senses. By creating 360-degree videos, you can help your customers better explore products before they make purchases or get a taste of an experience or service you offer. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

5. Artificial Intelligence

Codie SanchezWhether it’s chatbots, data analysis, smart lead gen or a million other uses, artificial intelligence isn’t just for the Googles of the world. It is getting cheaper, easier to integrate and driving actual business results. Winners next year will be those who run where the ball is about to be thrown. Machine learning is also key. – Codie Sanchez, www.CodieSanchez.com

6. Influencer Marketing

jeff epsteinInfluencer marketing is a highly efficient and very effective way to grow awareness and drive more business. We’ll see more and more businesses leveraging the power of word-of-mouth in 2018. – Jeff Epstein, Ambassador

7. Google Attribution

Sam SaxtonGoogle Attribution will help clear the fog around cross-channel and cross-device attribution for marketers, allowing them to more precisely and confidently adjust strategy. – Sam Saxton, Paragon Stairs

8. Chatbot Technology

Kristopher JonesFor a fairly affordable price, any small business can build a chatbot on their website or any landing page they choose. I think it’s perhaps the small businesses’ best bet to keep up with bigger chain businesses who can afford 24/7 support. Of course, always retain that degree of personal service and use chatbots to facilitate online conversions that drive more business to your business. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

9. In-Store Retail Software

Dan SanAs the retail landscape changes, stores are finding new ways to adapt, and the key way they will do so is with software that can track data in stores with sensors and software like never before. We are now becoming able to track impressions, conversions and how long a person looks at products in-store. It’s a game changer because this was only possible online with websites and e-commerce. – Dan San, Meural

10. Video

Solomon ThimothyHow many times do we have to talk about video? Small businesses need to catch up; video is where it’s at! You don’t even need any fancy equipment. Just use what’s in your pocket — your mobile phone! Look at all the food videos on Facebook! Any business can emulate that format to gain views and spread brand awareness. Apps like iMovie, Splice, and Quik let you edit on your device and they’re free. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

11. Instagram Ads

Syed BalkhiFacebook has started rolling out more placements to help marketers reach their audiences on Instagram. Not only can you place an ad in the feed, but you can also place an ad in the form of an Instagram story. I believe this form of ads embedded in Instagram stories is just the beginning and we will see a lot more in 2018. The trick is to be authentic so users get to know your brand in a real way. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonste

12. Social Payments

Shawn PoratApple just announced the release Apple Pay Cash, a payment system that works through its messaging app. Other companies are also introducing these payment systems. Google and Facebook have their own competing systems. As this type of payment takes off, it will transform e-commerce and other types of business transactions, making it even easier to sell products and services online. – Shawn Porat, Scorely

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Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.