Time flies; nobody knows and understands this witty-ism more than entrepreneurs and small business owners. Before you know, 2020 will be a day away! To make sure your small business is strong enough to stay afloat in the treacherous waters ahead, here’s a guide to help you prepare for 2020 and the years beyond.

Adopting SAP Cloud Platform to Automate and Improve Business Processes and Functions

Cloud computing has already seen massive adoption by small businesses. From process specific tracking and automation tools to business-wide ERPs like SAP S/4 HANA, from email marketing to social media marketing, from e-store creation to CRM – cloud-based tools and solutions are delivering stellar advantages to small businesses without the initial capital investment.

It’s estimated that 78% of US-based small businesses will have adopted cloud computing already by 2020. Considering the kind of efficiency gains that cloud-based solutions have to offer to businesses, along with the transformative power of these technologies, it’s clear that cloud computing is a core component of the tech-driven growth strategy and long-term success plans for small businesses.

The Call for Agile and Adroit Financial Controlling

The days of keeping invoice copies and financial records in a shoebox, for startups and small businesses, are over. In 2015, a Wall Street Journal article mentioned that 50% small businesses used the services of a CFO or financial controlling manager. This is just one of the changes in the small business’ financial management ecosystem. The added complexity of business models, risks of internal and external stakeholder related frauds, and tighter control from VCs and investors – all these factors mean that even the smallest of businesses can’t ignore the critical aspects of financial planning and preparedness. The modern small business owner has to be savvy enough to leverage technology to solve financial issues. From exploring niche business loans to experimenting with alternative financing options such as equipment financing or crowd-funding – small businesses have to be agile in their financial management to stay afloat post 2020.

Novel Organizational Forms

Monday to Friday. 9 to 5. These dated concepts of organizational work practices are bound to give way to novel approaches, including but not limited to highly flexible work rules, and new organizational structures. Think of how Uber and Airbnb use innovative internet and external network partnerships to scale up. Ambidextrous businesses that can focus on existing product lines and still innovate to create new product lines and revenue models will call the shots in the next decade. Agility in execution will also emerge as a key differentiator for small businesses, much like it helps Zara, the fashion brand, translate ‘trends’ in fashion into real products on shelves super quickly.

AI is expected to be a $47 billion market by 2020, among the biggest of all. Not only is it an enabling technology for businesses of all sizes, but also a service market in its own rights, which all small tech businesses are keen on entering. Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS) models will enable small businesses to leverage the power of AI in a very modular fashion. Among these, chatbots are likely to deliver the most immediate benefit to small businesses, by helping them transform the way they manage customer service. Also, chatbots will deliver tremendous cost-cutting advantages to small businesses, with estimated cost savings by the end of 2022 pegged at a staggering $8 billion!

Final Thoughts

Too many times, small businesses adopt a strategy of focusing only on the subsequent year. Don’t be that myopic business; focus on the market-sweeping changes that will have taken full effect by 2020, and be prepared to surf the wave like a pro.

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