Three Trends that Frighten Small Businesses

Topics: Small Business

Summary: Empty buildings, robots and bad reviews, oh my! This article takes a closer look at some of the “scary” small business trends 2020 has brought for companies across the country.

Halloween is synonymous with scary costumes, spooky decorations and terrifying tales of things that go “bump” in the night. 2020 has not been an easy year in many ways for small businesses across the country. So much of the focus has been on COVID-19 and how the pandemic forced many companies to change their operations – or shut down completely. However, there are still plenty of other risks small businesses have faced this year, including these three chilling trends.

1. Office Buildings Turned into Ghost Towns

Even before the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses across the United States earlier this year, many employers in a variety of industries started to transition to remote workforces, with a 159% growth between 2005 and 2017. Whether employees were allowed to work from home one day a week, had more flexible schedules, or worked remotely 100% of the time, working offsite has become commonplace in today’s world. The old school “9-5” schedule has become a thing of the past as employees can now stay connected through smartphones, team messaging apps and video conferencing options. This small business trend has turned many office buildings into shells of the bustling centers they used to be.

It’s more important than ever that small businesses create robust work from home policies to ensure their employees are set up for success no matter their location. Additionally, remote workers face a variety of cybersecurity risks all employers should be aware of and take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of being vulnerable to a cyber attack.

2. The AI Takeover

Everyone has seen those movies where robots attempt to take over the world and end humanity as we know it. Artificial intelligence (AI) certainly has become part of our daily lives, and many workers may be worried that their jobs will be taken over by robots or machines. In fact, around 36 million Americans hold positions with high exposure to automation, and 70% of their tasks could soon be completed utilizing AI.

This change won’t happen overnight, however. Today, AI is seen everywhere, from our email spam filters to website chatbots, and experts recommend that small business owners understand and be prepared now for what’s to come in the future. Becoming an early adopter of AI can help small businesses stay competitive and continue to grow.

3. Bad Online Reviews Crushing Dreams

Many consumers do their research before buying any product or service these days, and that research almost always involves reading online reviews. In fact, a report from Fan & Fuel revealed that 92% of people think twice about making a purchase if there are no reviews. What’s could be worse no reviews? A negative review. Studies show that 86% of consumers will hesitate to purchase from a business that has bad reviews online.

To combat negative online reviews, businesses should work on improving their products and services based on the feedback they’re receiving from consumers. At the very least, companies should always respond to a bad review online. This doesn’t mean engaging in an argument on the internet, however. Instead, acknowledge the customer’s disappointment, apologize, and ensure them the business will work to address their concerns moving forward. For small businesses that don’t have mammoth marketing budgets, focusing on reviews can help make the brand more trustworthy and appealing to potential customers.

AmTrust Can Help Protect Your Small Business

AmTrust can help ease the fears small businesses face. Our small business insurance solutions include workers’ compensation, businessowners policies, cyber liability coverage and so much more. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help protect your small business, now and in the future.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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