March 24, 2018      4 min read

Having business acumen means you can strategically ascertain what actions should be taken in response to pressures to preserve or enhance your company’s business and prosperity. It is no easy feat and only some are truly gifted with it. However, a constant desire to drive the company forward and make strategic decisions that may not be obvious to everyone is the key to business success. Let us consider what roads lead to business success in 2018.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence or AI, as futuristic and devoid of emotion as it sounds, is actually here and is being used to enhance a customer’s experience rather than to dehumanise it. Have you ever wondered why an advert for an online store selling women’s fine jewellery pops up the same week you were searching for the perfect gift for your partner? It is indeed the result of background AI recalling your searches and presenting options that may be of value to you to enhance your experience.

It seems in 2018 companies will use this feature more and more to better meet a customer’s needs. In effect, it is strategic marketing and the result is increased traffic and a better customer experience.

Genuine Connections

Strategic-minded companies are now embracing live events and ‘real’ connections with customers rather than simply relying on cyber connections through social media. This may seem inconsistent with the current age and dramatic tidal wave of social media in business. However, humans are humans and they still crave physical interaction. The bonus of a social media connection preceding a physical interaction is that ease and trust is built more quickly facilitating a deeper connection and a more prosperous business relationship. When a physical seminar, trade show or entertainment evening is not possible, companies have even found better success with Facebook Live videos as opposed to pre-recorded sessions. Consider your options and how you might get alongside your customer in a genuine way.

Connecting with the Buyer

Companies are finding more and more that their role must be one that serves their community rather than one that converts potential buyers into sales. By changing the focus, the irony is that the company will in fact experience more sales. However they will come from a valuable place as the trusted option when the community needs the product and not a moment before.

How is this depressurised version of marketing and selling achieved? It comes from the desire to serve your customers in whatever area they require. Seek to meet their needs, provide answers, do the research for them, provide summaries, listen to their problems and connect over common ground. The idea is that trust is earned and shared and so that when the time comes for the customer to make a purchase, the decision about which supplier to go with is a no-brainer. This type of connection builds long-term loyalty which inevitably equates to long-term sales.

Solving Problems for Buyers

Companies are no longer only concerned with what glowing attributes a product may have and how it can add value to their existence even when they were unaware they needed it. In fact, with the world being a busier place and time seemingly slipping away faster than ever in the working day, companies are concerned with finding effective solutions for their problems and finding them now. Customers are becoming more and more interested in effectively solving their problems and moving on so put your thinking cap on and be the service that creatively eradicates issues for them. The results will speak for themselves.

A Virtual Workforce

Virtual staff are ever-increasing in popularity and unsurprisingly so. With the increase in connectivity, certain industries are able to operate from essentially anywhere on the planet. As such, it is becoming more and more common for staff to be virtual where they do not or rarely come in to a centralised office but rather remain connected by their computer screens. The effect is positive both for business and the individuals as work-life balance is enhanced while productivity also increases due to lower stress levels and lost time regained from the lack of commuting. Overheads for the company plummet and staff can be even more connected than might have been possible in a physical location.

If trust in productivity is a concern and a hindrance to embracing the virtual workforce, then ensure staff are selected carefully. Once this is done, embrace the movement as the benefits have been proven by many industries!

Open-mindedness is essential to business success, staying on top of trends and ascertaining what new methods could benefit your company. The business world may see several changes in 2018 in addition to the five we have reviewed here, but it seems an underlying theme is connectivity, be it through digital interfaces, increased data and depth of understanding or a good old-fashioned chat. For real business success, aim to connect with your customers and staff and keep all interactions genuine.

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