2. Mobility. More devices, locations and apps are being used to increase productivity and the efficiency of teamwork in small businesses. According to the Sage U.S. SMB Survey on Mobile Devices, 70 percent of businesses are improving customer services through mobility. Websites must be mobile-friendly as customers are increasingly using smartphones and tablets to browse the web and make purchases.

3. Marketing automation. Digital marketing drives customer engagement and leads to conversions. Oracle Eloqua and BtoB magazine found in a survey that 72 percent of small to medium-size business think today’s marketing techniques help them to target, engage, convert and analyze customers – resulting in higher sales. They make it possible to determine what is and isn’t working in relation to sales and the return on investment.

4. Collaboration. Use of PDF documents makes it easy to share and access information within teams. It ensures that conversions are not necessary as the file type is generally accepted and easy to open. This saves time and improves the workflow. PDF files can be created for scanned documents and electronic documents, and can be edited and searched without compromising the original.

5. Big data. Every day, more data is flowing through small businesses. Scanned documents, videos, images, social media content and spreadsheets accumulate. Big data allows businesses to unlock the value of the information it holds. Analytical tools available through big data applications can assess the effectiveness of campaigns, predict outcomes and explain patterns in sales.

Running a small business can be overwhelming. An SMB Group study asked business owners to identify their top three valuable information sources and 43 percent named vendor and service provider websites. Professional advisors and consultants were cited by 42 percent as most important while 41 percent pointed to colleagues in similar businesses. Small business owners need to identify the resources available and start using them to plan for a successful 2015.