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There are a number of business trends that have been identified for 2017 by leading business writers and prophets the world over. We have identified some that we feel will have the biggest impact on the South African market, and given you a heads up of what the business landscape for 2017 is expected to look like. Hopefully, a little insight into some of the trends we are expecting to see will help you in identifying which of these will most affect your business and how to make sure that you put processes in place to not only weather the storm, but to take advantage of the opportunities that will no doubt arise.

1. Non Techno-savvy entrepreneurs will embrace technology

In this technological age, if you are not techno-savvy and not taking advantage of technology, there is no doubt that you are going to be left lagging behind. The need to use technology is more than it has ever been. Technical astuteness in business today is more vital than ever before. In 2017, technology is essential for every business if it wishes to remain competitive in today’s global environment.

2. More people will strive to build a personal brand

There are numerous examples of people that have built a personal brand. Examples include Anthony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey. The Internet has leveled the playing field considerably, so individuals who may have never succeeded can reach superstardom. Due to the current levels of competition in every market, personal branding tools will start trending even more, as businesses attempt to gain individuality and surpass their direct competitors.

3. More remote employees

The life we are leading in the 21st century is time-strapped, traffic ridden and full of obstacles that get in the way of a normal eight to five day. Employers are recognizing that people need more flexibility and freedom in their work life and there has, in the last 10 years or so, been a trend in companies allowing employers to work offsite. This makes for happier and more time efficient employees, but also ensures lower overheads for companies. Patterns such as this are expected to gain traction as improvements in technology continue to grow exponentially.

4. Staff turnarounds will get shorter

Because we are now seeing a new generation of workforce coming through the ranks, 2017 will see a higher rotation of staff. These young, savvy creative thinkers are finding their way into the job market, coming into businesses and “jigging” them up and then moving on to the next challenge. Old school employers might see this as a lack of loyalty and a negative for the business, but it needs to be seen as a positive as the impact that they can have on the operation, even within a short time frame, can be very significant – setting the business on a new trajectory.

5. The continued rise of E-commerce

E- Commerce is something that has become the global norm internationally and it continues to expand. In South Africa, this relatively young industry is set to take off in 2017 as more and more people buy into this way of life. Businesses will streamline their e-commerce offerings and user-experience will improve, resulting in lower costs and greater market penetration. As technology continues to expand in 2017, we will certainly see an increase in e-commerce trends.

6. A focus on connecting customers

We live in an age where the hard sell no longer works. 2017 will continue the trend of connecting people, giving consumers access to the goods and services they want, rather than forcing unwanted products down their throats. There are many examples of these kinds of sites in South Africa – Price Check and Uber are just two offerings that allow people to connect.

7. Going green

The current generation is extremely conscious of what type of products they buy and the impact their lifestyle has on the environment. Being green is becoming a social norm, with buying decisions being based on how recyclable the packaging is, as well as how carbon efficient the product itself is. This is a trend that continues to gain momentum with 2017 being no different.

8. The Cloud is the place to be

Users need the freedom to access their data on the go and at any time, as there has been an accelerated move towards the cloud. Access to data is just one aspect, as well as being available 24/7. The Cloud also offers security in a time when data safety is essential. More and more companies will put their faith in cloud back-up’s and trusting technology in 2017 and beyond.

9. The importance of video will grow

Video will be all the rage in 2017, and businesses that don’t want to be left behind will need to keep up. Tools such as Facebook Live, Snapchat, YouTube and video series will become necessary avenues to pursue when marketing a company’s product or service. Don’t get left behind, work out the best way that your company can use video to interact with your customers.

10. Offline Experiences will be sought

Digital, technology, data, – all these buzzwords and trends are great, but they come at a cost losing touch with customers. In 2017, businesses will need to keep up with technology, but must remain in contact with their customers. It is still important to find ways of building relationships and interacting socially with customers – businesses that don’t, will do so at their own peril.

These changes are going to happen. If you expect to survive as a business, you will want to modify your business practices in 2017, to follow these popular trends.

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