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The Internet is still flooded with articles like “Small Business Trends of 2017” and “What Small Business Trends Will Dominate 2018,” but no one is really writing about big things poised to happen in 2020. That may be two years away, but in the world of business and tech readiness, you can never think too far ahead.

So, what big things will be important for SMB owners to know as we heading toward 2020? Let’s have a look.

Cloud computing won’t just be for big business

By the year 2020, analysts project that 78% of all small businesses in the U.S. will have already adopted cloud computing, which will mean it will have doubled from the present 37%. Currently, 18% of small businesses with one to 99 employees are using a hybrid cloud.

Recently, Intuit released a report about this topic. Terry Hicks, vice president and general manager, QuickBooks Online Ecosystem at Intuit, said, “This report paints a detailed picture of how small businesses will increasingly use cloud technology not only for efficiency gains, but also in more transformative ways that redefine the rules for achieving long-term success.”

He continued, “Whether you’re a tech startup in Silicon Valley or a mom-and-pop shop on Main Street, cloud technology presents radically new opportunities and potentially disruptive changes. This report is all about developing a deep understanding of how small business can stay ahead of the curve.”

Time to focus on your online presence

In today’s competitive market, it is hard to imagine that in the UK, around 2 million small businesses still don’t have a website. According to statistics, this costs them an estimated £343 billion each year. Small business websites could very well increase small business earnings by £106 billion per year.

As for those SMBs who already have established an online presence, they are beginning to see how well chatbots are helping their business. In a survey by Oracle, 80% of respondents said that they have already begun to use chatbots on their websites or are planning to start using them by the year 2020. For those who haven’t even gone as far as to make a website, this shows how far behind they are.

Small businesses must adopt automation software in order to compete

There are thousands of articles about automation in business. From accounting to advertising, automation is taking over all around the board. And it will be automation of marketing that will help keep small businesses in the game.

Though email marketing is pretty much like beating a dead horse these days, marketing companies, and especially tech companies developing artificial intelligence (AI) tools, haven’t stopped trying to find new and creative ways to trick people into opening marketing emails. And the only way they’ll be able to compete is by employing AI for the job.

Small businesses may have fewer on-site employees

From cloud tools to automated marketing, small businesses will be employing fewer employees than in the past, which will save them time and money. Where “employees” will be needed, small businesses will likely be hiring people on temporary bases with no contracts. We see this happening now with the rise of the “supertemp.”

Highly educated and/or highly qualified specialists are now working as contractors on a per-project basis. Many SMBs today have started using temp agencies to connect with solo professionals who are not looking to settle down in one place, but would rather come in, complete what needs to be done, and then move on to the next location. Cubicles are boring, after all.

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