Posted by : Amanda Stein Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Most business experts agree that 2013 is going to see great advances for businesses in terms of technology and paradigm shifts. With the world becoming increasingly global, businesses are opening up to new markets and new ways of thinking about their business. Here are five huge trends that companies are going to adopt in 2013.

#1: Social Media

Social media is still blazing a trail in business in 2013. Millions of people use Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites, and thousands of companies have already set up a presence there. It doesn't matter if a business has an offline presence or not; customers tend to appreciate interacting with all kinds of companies on these social networks.

#2: Mobile Applications

It seems as if everyone has some kind of mobile device, whether it is a smartphone or a tablet. This means that business websites need to be optimized for these devices. Not only that, but many businesses are starting to consider creating their own mobile applications. A mobile application can be downloaded to a mobile device and allow a person to log-in to an account and perform a number of functions. As of June 2012, more than 70 million people in the United States were using mobile "apps", and that number is rising. Applications can even be another source of income, should a company opt not to make their application free.

#3: Outsourcing

Outsourcing and freelancing continue their steady rise in 2013. If businesses find they are spending too much time or money in-house, they are more willing to get other workers to join in. For instance, with some office space in Singapore with local workers, American companies end up spending much less on a workforce due to the money exchange rate. It is more cost-efficient to hire freelancers, since they do not require health insurance. And of course, outsourcing work frees up time internally for other business activities.

#4: Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is using the power of a large group of people to solve a particular business problem; problems can be creative or monetary. Crowdsourcing companies like Kickstarter allow people to raise funds for business projects from a lot of interested people who may or may not be already connected to the company. For example, an artist raised thousands of dollars in order to fund work on a video game based on his work, mostly from young fans. Crowdsourcing is a smart way to use the power of the populace to help a business succeed, and is only becoming more popular in 2013.

#5 Online Learning

As people experience a time crunch in their lives, it becomes more and more important that learning is convenient. Prominent universities are offering courses and degree programs online, and businesses are starting to encourage their employees to take these courses.

Not only that, but the appetite for knowledge is giving businesses more opportunities to interact with their customers. A jewelry business can offer a short e-course on necklack making, for instance. A marketing firm can offer a tutorial on internet marketing. Offering people information is an effective way to keep customers loyal, and this trend is only heating up in 2013.

These five trends are great for any business to follow in 2013. They can put a business ahead of the competition, and can result in greater customer relationships and higher profits. Exploring these trends is smart, forward-thinking and will prove to be most effective.

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