9 brilliant business ideas for 2020
It’s a new year and time for new business ideas. Here are nine brilliant ones to consider in 2020.
1. Use introversion as a superpower
Introversion need not affect your networking ability. According to leadership and communication expert Shane Michael Hatton, it can even be a superpower.
“Let the purpose of being in the room draw you in, rather than allowing the discomfort to keep you out,” Hatton urges.
Having a plan is essential, says Emma Bannister, founder and CEO of Presentation Studio, as is the right body language. Do not put your hands in your pockets, shuffle or keep crossing your arms.
Instead, prepare well, stand confidently and to emphasise something, use your hands.
2. Data analytics: tread carefully
Accountants have a leading role to play in ensuring personal financial information is used ethically.
“The same tactics used by unethical companies to exploit data can actually be used for good purposes,” says John Hoffman, CEO of Altis Consulting.
Data breaches must be reported to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, and all practitioners need to have adequate checks in place to ensure:
- Data analytics used for new areas of business is consistent with how it was sourced
- There are clear steps to update it if data is found to be incorrect
- Any data no longer required or accurate is destroyed as soon as practically possible
3. Design for change
According to Sonia Simpfendorfer, creative director of design studio Nexus Designs, workplace design can communicate the purpose and energy of a business or undermine it.
An entrance area too small or badly designed can be off-putting, while a reception too large or opulent could make clients question why they’re paying such high fees.
“Visitors will [also] ‘take a read’ from the way staff interact … and your welcome on arrival,” warns Sascha Chandler, partner at PwC and national head of its Transformation Assurance business.
“When design expresses the company’s philosophy, it can influence powerful change,” Simpfendorfer says.
4. Win the war for talent
Small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) can find it hard to compete with larger firms for the best job candidates. However, not every job seeker wants to be a cog in a giant wheel, and according to Mike McHenry, principal of SuperAA, an enticing working environment is a priority.
Flexibility is one perk many candidates seek rather than cash and a competitive advantage many SMBs have over big firms. A flat structure and fun culture are others.
“One of the most important things you need is a solid reputation,” adds leadership and people management specialist Karen Gately, founder of Corporate Dojo.
5. Internet security: better safe than sorry
Over the past five years, the cost of a data breach to an organisation has increased 12 per cent to US$3.92 million, according to the Ponemon Institute.
Most cyberthreats are preventable. IT security research institute, AV-TEST, rates Windows Defender and another free product, Avast Antivirus, as the best for Windows 10 general users, but for companies with more than a handful of employees, it still advises buying endpoint security software.
AV-TEST evaluated 18 endpoint protection products for Windows 10, and nine received perfect or nearly perfect scores. Effective security software is also available for Mac users. Android anti-malware is less reliable, but one free app, AVG Antivirus, achieved a perfect score.
6. Respond promptly to negative reviews
Negative online reviews can be devastating. A study by software-as-a-service (SaaS) company MOZ found that businesses risk losing 70 per cent of potential customers if four or more negative reviews appear in their Google search results. The question is: how to respond?
The worst response is deleting a bad review. Instead, respond quickly and keep it factual. Even if the reviews are fake, don’t ignore them.
“It is important to understand what went wrong and offer a solution, which could turn a negative review to a good one and regain a customer’s trust,” says White Pages executive general manager Stephen Palmer.
7. Reclaim the high ground with clients
Gaining the trust of clients (and winning a pitch) doesn’t always mean complying with every request without challenge or offering competitive pricing.
“If you can get a potential client to rethink their assumptions about what their problem is and the solution, the likelihood of wooing their business will significantly increase,” says Blair Enns, CEO of sales and pricing training business Win Without Pitching.
“You will find yourself in situations where you are nodding ‘yes’, but thinking ‘no’,” he says. “It results in situations where you think a certain path of action might not be ideal, but you want the business, so you quote on it and do it anyway.”
Practitioners must realise they are in the business of expertise and in doing so, reclaim the high ground in client relationships, or at least establish an equal footing.
8. Think now about the EOFY
Many practices struggle with their end of financial year (EOFY) workload, but in 2020, why not try this approach?
“Our strategy, because the spike in business is unavoidable, is to get clients to think about [EOFY issues] early,” says John Greeve CPA, principal of taxation, accounting and business services practice Kamran Accounting.
The practice also works hard to migrate clients to cloud-based software or an electronic cashbook (which shows a client’s profit and loss), enabling it to gain an accurate assessment of their current financial position.
Also, remember that working and communicating with clients throughout the year (starting now) can help reduce bottlenecks at tax time.
9. Try tech talking at meetings
Here are a few tech tools that can help improve outcomes and ensure work meetings run more efficiently.
Fewer Meetings lets you set a specific duration for each agenda item, share meeting notes and manage to-dos in one place.
Otter uses voice recognition technology to take notes so you can concentrate on what is being said.
Spark’s Smart Notifications app flags the most important emails to read and respond to, either immediately or later.
Slack enables teams to work together using real-time messaging, video calling and file sharing.
Google Assistant Smart Display and Amazon’s Echo Show come with a smart speaker connected to a tablet-sized screen, enabling presentations, videoconferencing, text and voice messaging from a single device.