It’s hard to believe 2018 is behind us.
Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot in this past year through both your successes and challenges. As the excitement of the new year approaches, many businesses are preparing for the trends and changes that lie ahead. However, if the experts’ forecasts are correct, 2019 is shaping up to be a year full of ups and downs.
But regardless of the predictions, if your business grew in 2018, you will want to keep it on a similar trajectory into the upcoming year. But, as you probably know, consistent growth doesn’t happen by accident. It takes planning, strategy, and perseverance.
Of course, no one can say what will actually happen in this next year, but there are some critical elements that will directly attribute to positive business growth in 2019 and beyond.
Let’s dive in.
1. Smarter Hiring Strategies
Obviously, a growing business is going to need new talent to handle the increasing workload and fill in new roles that are needed. For a rapidly growing business, there is little room for error in this regard. A bad hiring decision is not only an expensive mistake to correct; it can even reverse some of the growth that your business has experienced and slow down its momentum.
According to a report conducted by the Branon Hall Group and Glassdoor, 95% of hiring teams admit that they have made a poor hiring decision. This can cost businesses thousands of dollars in recruiting, training, and lost revenue – even for entry-level hires.
This report found that one of the top contributors to a bad hire was a lack of data driving the final hiring decision. Therefore, growing businesses must make smarter hiring strategies a priority in the upcoming year. One way to do so is to use technology that assists with high-volume recruiting tasks, such as a digital pre-employment assessment that acts as a data-driven guide when recruiting.
These involve curated questionnaires that are specific to the position candidates are applying for. Through the use of AI technology, their answers are assessed and their overall competencies, skill levels, and potential success rates are measured, providing hiring managers with the data they need to make smarter decisions.
2. Dedication to Building E-A-T Score
A great marketing strategy can be a catalyst that propels a business to the next level. But, what comprises a stellar marketing campaign? In the simplest terms, it can be boiled down to an acronym that will not only help your content connect better with your audience, but also improve its SERP ranking. This is called the E-A-T score (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness).
The guidelines that define this score saw a big change in Google’s August 1st algorithm update – with the end goal to qualify web content to provide searchers with better results. This update heavily impacted Your Money Your Life industries (medical, legal, financial, etc.). The purpose is to help ensure that high ranking content is created by professionals with proven expertise in the field.
For example, if someone writes about a gluten-free diet, not having the proven knowledge to back up the work could potentially be dangerous to the reader. So, essentially, Google is going to take a closer look at details that signal these three factors, such as the author’s reputation and the overall quality of the content and its sources.
From a general standpoint, one of the trends in this regard is that personal branding is going to take on a heavy role post-August 1st update and into 2019. That said, pushing senior level employees to expand their digital presence on high-authority sites is a good way to improve the E-A-T score of your business content.
A few other things to keep in mind is you need to:
- Only build relevant, high-quality inbound links.
- Optimize author bios to showcase expertise.
- Invest heavily in the technical security of your platform.
For more information about E-A-T Score and how you can play by the rules, check out this podcast with Dr. Pete Meyers, a data scientist from Moz.
3. Basic Knowledge of Data Science for Everyone
Becoming a data-driven organization will be even more critical to your business’s growth and success in the upcoming year. According to Dresner Advisory Service’s report in 2017, more than half of businesses were expecting to incorporate Big Data into their strategies in 2018. There is no doubt that this trend will continue, especially given the fact that 87% of industry leaders have already integrated data science in some form.
If you want your business to continue to grow and succeed, it is essential that you put the systems in place to make digital adoption a reality, not just a dream. This means that every leader in your company must be using digital tools to help increase their productivity and make their decisions and strategies based on data. Each department should be using programs that make their jobs easier and smarter, such as Big Data analytical programs for forecasting or AI for automation.
There are plenty of tools available for businesses of all shapes and sizes, so do your research and find the ones that will do the most to help grow your business.
4. Understanding Gen Z is Coming of Age
As another year passes, it also means that an entire generation of consumers and employees are turning a year older as well. Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2012) will be starting to make a greater impact on businesses.
Sixty-one million Gen Zer’s will be looking for jobs in the next few years, and they are also expected to have even more influence and buying power than Millennials – as they are projected to be the largest generation of consumers in history.
This opens up a fantastic opportunity for growing businesses to capitalize. For one, it means that there will be a whole new generation of talent looking for careers. Since Gen Z has grown up with technology, they are much more comfortable with using it and they can typically pick up on it much faster. Managers and team leaders will need to prepare for this generation’s new perspective on things and find ways to connect.
Businesses will also need to make necessary adjustments to attract Gen Z consumers to their products and services. Since this age group is so tech savvy and are the first to have grown up entirely with social media (sorry, Millennials), traditional advertising is going to be less effective than digital. Brands will need to pay attention to the changes in their target audiences and demographics as this younger generation starts to flex their financial power.
A new year opens up the doors for many opportunities for growth and expansion, and your business must be prepared to take them. By understanding what the trends are predicting and how to optimize your approaches, your company can sustain levels of growth into 2019 and beyond.