There has been much debate recently on the state of the economy, but there’s one thing no one can argue with – small businesses are the true engine of global economic growth.
In the past year, 6.6 million people with a dream launched their own businesses, which created more than 1.2 million jobs. In fact, 80 percent of all new jobs are created by small businesses. On top of that, a new generation of entrepreneurs is re-imagining the very definition of what it means to be a small business, with more than 50 million people now part of the self-employed, or “gig,” economy.
Yet, even with all the success of small businesses, we are also entering a period of unprecedented change. Technology is rewriting the small business rule book and ushering in an era filled with both great challenge and also great opportunity.
Here are five trends that I believe we must collectively embrace to compete and thrive in today world:
- Social: Social media is shaping how and what customers want to buy. Small businesses need to make having a strong social presence as foundational as running payroll or checking inventory.
- Machine Learning: Fueled by the explosion of raw data, machine learning is going to turbo charge the speed of business, making customer interactions faster, smarter and more personal. Small businesses will need to tap into this trend in order to meet changing customer expectations.
- Platforms and Ecosystems: The growth of platforms – whether it is Etsy, Facebook or Airbnb – facilitate indispensable connections between parties. This is causing a shift that is empowering small businesses to compete, and often succeed, against much bigger companies.
- Mobile and Voice: We live in a mobile world. On average, we spend five hours a day on our phone, and use them to do almost everything. However, the next chapter of convenience is now upon us: voice. People can talk faster than they can type. Voice will change how customers shop, how we interact with them and the very space we operate in.
- Security: Cyber-criminals now target weakness, not size. Sixty percent of all cyber attacks are now targeted at small businesses. The solution is that there’s strength in numbers. We will all have to work together to ensure our collective security.
I want you to know that we, at Intuit, are working everyday so you can embrace the opportunity these trends present. Whether it is using machine learning to sort receipts, using the QuickBooks platform to seamlessly connect small businesses with accountants or rolling out 30 new security features across the ecosystem – we are working everyday to ensure your continued success.
We’re committed to empowering you to seize the opportunity. That’s why we fall in love with yourproblems, not our solutions. So, our solutions never stop evolving to deliver benefits that help you be successful. That’s our definition of success.
From my perspective, small businesses have never been better positioned for success. It’s vital that we embrace this brave new world of opportunity; the world’s economy is counting on us.