This article was written by our co-founder, Julie Niehoff and was originally published by Forbes.
Click here to access the original piece.
We all need to keep up with market shifts and industry changes to stay out in front of our competition. But that doesn’t mean we have to buy the latest gadgets or software. We just need to know what really matters today and act on it.
Based on what I’ve seen, there are five trends women business owners should embrace ASAP to stay current and keep winning the day.
Trend 1: Hire Help for Hiring
We’re experiencing the most competitive labor market in 20 years. Companies large and small are turning to experts to help source and sign quality candidates. For big brands, that means bringing in a consultant.
Beth Smith, author of Why Can’t I Hire Good People? Lessons on How to Hire Better, talks about the importance of the interview process, methodology behind sourcing candidates and the shift away from just looking at education and experience.
“The myth is that a low unemployment rate means that there is no talent,” Smith says. “The talent is out there—they are just working for someone else, so the recruiting process can take longer.” That’s why it’s become very important for companies to stand out and demonstrate that they have something very special for top talent to make a move.
Smaller organizations are turning to tools like Indeed, Zip Recruiter and WizeHire.com to lure quality talent. “The market is definitely more competitive in 2019 and businesses that are succeeding, especially smaller ones, are focusing on expanding their criteria when it comes to hiring,” says WizeHire.com Co-Founder Sid Upadhyay.
He explains that it’s important to understand the motivators behind any role—to consider what kind of person is best suited to that job—so you can look outside the box for the best talent.
One obvious step—write a better job description. Set expectations and lay out what success looks like. You need to be crystal clear if you’re going to secure top talent.
Trend 2: Mindset Over Matter
We all hear that we need to lean into leadership, find balance for work/life and build greater purpose into our business goals. But many women in business are saying now that they want more from the time and effort they put in, more than just money—but money, too.
Corissa Saint Laurent is a women’s business coach who’s flipping the formula. “I help female entrepreneurs and professionals experience greater balance, freedom and fun in their lives by finding more success, joy and purpose in their work.”
Her consulting bridges business and purpose, a flag that Business Coach Elyse Tager also waves. “Women are getting clear about how they want to live their lives.” Tager continues, “I’m focused on helping clients listen to their inner voice and find the best way to infuse purpose into their daily life.”
So, how is this accomplished? Tager suggests making a list of what you want and what you no longer want, illustrating what success really looks like. Only then can you make a map to get there.
Trend 3: Subtle Shift From Small To Local
Two words—small business—have been on banners in every bank lobby for the last 10 years. But did you notice that’s changed recently? The new buzzword is “local” —which isn’t new, but it’s new to the spotlight. What caused the shift? Very few of us want to self-identify as “small.”
Local always seems to fit and does not mean you can’t be a global player. It means you have roots—you matter to and care about a specific community.
“More than 80 percent of business in the B2C world comes from customers within a five-mile radius,” says CEO Eric Groves of Alignable.com, the No. 1 online network of small (and local) businesses in North America. So “local” does apply to many small businesses and frankly, sounds better to many of us who own them.
Action item: define your local reach and change the settings on your Facebook page to appear as a local business. Then see if more prospects find you—chances are good they will.
Trend 4: Personalize To Grow Faster
In the same way that going local can help you grow, using a customer’s first name and tapping specific customer needs are becoming more important for today’s marketplace.
“In today’s hyper-competitive environment, businesses can no longer rely on a one-size-fits-all marketing approach,“ says Andri Kristinsson, CEO of Travelade, a travel company that combines personalization with crowdsourced recommendations curated by locals.
Today, virtually every market segment or industry is working to get hyper-personal or engaged with each client. Read more about how companies are personalizing the customer experience here.
Trend 5: Less Is More. For Real
This isn’t new, but it’s becoming much more necessary to embrace. Your audience is as busy as you are. Keeping your messages short, sincere and no-frills wins the day.
Melinda Garvey, Founder of On The Dot Woman, a women’s empowerment organization, has a daily, short-format podcast called, “Four Minutes with On The Dot” that features successful women as role models. Garvey says, “The podcast is short because many women don’t have time to listen to more and I want to give them just enough to keep them inspired.” You can find it here along with her longer-format podcast.
Given this reality, review your messaging—remove what doesn’t bring joy and trim the choices you offer. Most people see your messages on a cell phone. If getting to the action item you want requires more than two thumb swipes, they probably aren’t doing it. That’s the new rule of thumb.
The drive to get out in front is strong for women in business. We never want to be left behind.
Thankfully, the five trends outlined here aren’t complicated. You can take on all of them at once or one at a time. If you take the time to address all five, you’ll be set up for success.