Millennials, Technology, and Data, Oh My!

To say that there are disruptive forces at work in the business community is an understatement. We see it in the legal field just as our business clients see it in their day-to-day operations. New technologies, new generations of employees, new risks and new opportunities are changing entire industries. Data provides new ways of monitoring our businesses but those technologies come with new vulnerabilities that businesses need to be aware of.

Entrepreneur magazine recently published a list of The Top 6 Small-Business Trends on the Rise. The items certainly won’t apply to all industries but there is likely some information that could be applied to your business. I know some of these topics are very relevant to how we recruit staff and try to find potential clients.

There are new ways of reaching out to and learning about your potential customers, and vice versa, more ways for your potential customers to learn about you and your products and services. Gone are the days when you could set the tone for how your brand is portrayed, rather the author believes that customers now expect a “multifaceted, 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week dialogue.” You have the opportunity to reach people more directly, but beware because customers will reach back.

A lot of these topics are probably common sense to many entrepreneurs and business owners but they are good reminders of the changing world in which our businesses now operate.

I posted the first couple of trends below, head over Entrepreneur.com to get the full list.

1. Millennials

With its oldest members now entering their early 30s, the millennial generation is reinventing the way businesses manage the workplace and its employees. A report published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation describes the social and economic impact posed by the people born between 1982 and 1999.

Millennials demand comprehensive leadership and opportunities for growth within every position they fulfill. Transparency, collaboration and a seamless work-life balance are vital not only to their comfort, but also to their success within the workplace. Millennials also effortlessly adopt new technologies as they’re announced, therefore erasing the awkward adjustment phase every previous generation of offices has endured after a computer and equipment update.

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2. Web presence

The availability of Internet-based technology gives small businesses more control over brand development, marketing and customer engagement. While tech start-ups traditionally benefit most from these services, Internet tools provide affordable and attainable solutions for small businesses in every industry.

The Independent We Stand (IWS) campaign reports that 97 percent of Internet users conduct online research on local products and services before committing to a purchase. Reviews and testimonials, a business’s website and other public information play important roles not only in a customer’s decision to buy a product but also in whether they share that product with others online.