In order to advance as a small business, it’s important to follow the latest small business trends. But with an overload of information available, it’s sometimes difficult to know what trends are pertinent and what ones are just extra noise in the media.

To simplify your search, here are five small business trends you should have on your radar to stay ahead throughout the coming months:

Use These 5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan

Having an ineffective marketing plan is one of the several reasons why many small business startups fail. In the linked article below, you can learn how to write a marketing plan from the very beginning by creating a “situation analysis,” describing your target audience, listing your marketing goals, developing a strategy, and setting a budget. Following these five steps can help you initiate a strong marketing plan specifically targeted to your niche market while staying within a previously defined budget.

Read the full article here.

3 Things Entrepreneurs Must Learn About Digital Marketing and PR

Another thing that might be holding you back is failure to market through digital channels. The article below discusses the importance of integrating digital marketing into your web presence for “competitive intelligence.” Digital marketing practices like SEO, tracking and understanding collected data to refine marketing messages, creating more sophisticated social media posts, and working through the PR process to release interesting stories can keep your business on point in an increasingly-digital world.

Learn more about how to integrate digital marketing..

The New Way of Thinking About Time

In the next article, Jill Krasny talks about how our society views available time and how people assume that if we just better manage our time that we can accomplish anything. This superhuman mentality is dangerous, leading to increased burnout, missed work, and even health complications. Krasny also observes how CEOs are changing their practices to increase productivity, manage their schedules, and eliminate always-on work connections—a lesson that all overwhelmed business owners should learn.

Read the full article or discover five tips for overloaded business owners here.

5 Ways to Disrupt a Dying Industry

It’s important to stay relevant when you own a business, and that means constantly watching for ways to innovate your industry. Failure to do so could ultimately result in bankruptcy. This article discusses five ways to disrupt a stagnant and dying industry, including how to listen to the needs and desires of your customers, addressing industry pain points, and embracing new technology—one of many ways to reduce overhead costs. If you feel like you are in a dying industry, this article is a great resource to begin thinking of ways to innovate.

Learn more in the full article.

Here’s How Customer-Service is Going to Explode in 2015

This last article says it all: great customer service is important, and it isn’t static. Like all other facets of your business, customer service is evolving. Customers want to engage with your brand and find answers quickly on multiple channels. Customer service tools like live web chat and social media are becoming the new standard, so your business must adapt to meet the new expectations for exceptional service.

Read more to learn how to update your customer service practices.

These small business trends demonstrate that all business operations, from marketing to customer service, are going digital. To adapt to the latest technology and customer needs, finding solutions by reevaluating your business plan and turning to virtual office solutions can help you stay ahead of new digital business trends.

Learn more about small business trends and how to stay ahead of the competition by subscribing to our blog and using virtual office solutions from Davinci.