Small businesses are booming, with no signs of slowing down. Since 1990, small businesses have brought 8 million jobs to the U.S. economy. Big businesses, on the other hand, have lost 4 million jobs due to outsourcing and moving overseas. Recent statistics show that small business owners are confident and optimistic, many of them expecting growth and satisfied with their current financial situation.

For continued prosperity in 2018, there are steps that business owners can take to keep the momentum going. Let’s review these trends and how they are predicted to amplify success.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence isn’t anything new, but its effects on the business sector are stronger than ever. AI is becoming easier and more affordable to implement, which is why more business owners feel that it will be an advantage. Some do have concerns that AI will take away personalization, but it’s actually the opposite. This technology allows for highly personalized content delivery and also frees up time by taking care of mundane tasks.

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is most commonly used for digital currency like Bitcoin, though it can be used for anything with value. Bitcoin has been referred to as “digital gold”, reaching $9 billion in the U.S. With numbers like these, business owners cannot ignore digital currency and its impact on their bottom line. Blockchain technology is also expected to bring greater transparency and a lowered risk of corruption to the business world.

Live Social Media Interactions

Social media is most effective when an engaged community is built. The way to create this type of community is by offering interactive content such as live Q&As, real-time photos and videos, and sneak peeks of new products. Live content is effective at reaching a wider audience and strengthening brand loyalty. It also shows the human side of brands, separating them from their competitors.

Social Learning

Social learning is on the rise. This type of learning is done through peer interaction and includes collaboration, podcasts, and webinars. Compared to formal training programs, social learning puts the power into the hands of employees. They can learn about the topics they are passionate about in a highly engaged manner, leading to improved retention.

Personalized Experiences

Personalized content is one of the most effective ways to reach an audience. Thanks to artificial intelligence, content can be even more personalized by speaking directly to the customer and reaching them in the right moment. The key is making sure that the content doesn’t border on the edge of creepy. Interactive experiences allow businesses to engage their customers without being too aggressive.

Keeping up with the business trends encourages you to be on the lookout for things that will amplify your success. What trends are you most excited for in 2018?