If there’s anything that the last two years have taught us, it’s that the unprecedented can easily happen. But that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t try to understand what trends will shape the future. Growing a small business means knowing what to expect in the coming months and years.
From The Great Resignation to The Great Rehiring and The Great Migration, things are understandably in flux. To help make sense of it for growing small businesses, here are seven small business trends to expect in 2022.
The changes that the business world witnessed during the pandemic won’t disappear when things get back to ‘normal’. Most are here to stay and it’s crucial to understand the importance of those for anyone interested in growing their small business.
Nobody knows how many more variants we can expect over the next twelve months. But what we all know is that on-site work for all employees will be problematic. This means that remote and hybrid work will be increasingly regularised as both organisations and their employees have seen their advantages.
For businesses, it’s about increased productivity and reduced expenses. For employees, it results in greater flexibility, less commute, a chance to up-skill and spend more time with their families.
Increased flexibility hasn’t turned out to be a blessing for employees. With little structure to their workday, more meetings and constant communication, most employees feel that they’re working more now. This has led to a renewed focus on work-life balance.
Businesses will have to ensure that work doesn’t encroach upon evenings or holidays. Exclusive and time-bound communication, including a dedicated phone for work, can significantly improve both the productivity and work-life balance of employees.
Either as a direct result of government regulations or remote and hybrid working, more customers will be spending time at home. For location-based small businesses that need walk-in customers, this calls for flexible delivery models.
While online ordering is a popular solution, there should also be room for phone orders. For growing small businesses, there should also be an emphasis on online or direct customer engagement through messaging platforms.
The pandemic forced millions of customers to adopt e-commerce. Small businesses without digital capabilities will find it harder to compete as this trend picks up speed. The first step in digitalisation will have to be a fast, responsive, mobile-friendly and e-commerce-enabled website.
Above all, understanding user journeys will be crucial for growing small businesses. Customers might discover the product on a platform, compare or analyse it on another and finally buy it from somewhere else.
Among other things, the success of a growing small business can usually be attributed to its highly engaged social media presence. This calls for unique and diversified content and constant measurement of social media activities.
Customers are also getting used to initiating purchase transactions through social media. Businesses can use these platforms to launch new products and services and share exclusive deals with their followers.
For growing small businesses, exceptional customer service is a must. Satisfied customers can become brand ambassadors and generate positive word of mouth online. This will significantly improve a small business’s online reputation.
Small businesses should use platforms such as WhatsApp Business to find new customers and offer immediate and personalised customer support. Another great way is to offer customer support through a virtual phone number like Chalkboard for customers and clients to contact you.
The right staff is key to a growing small business. With the gig economy becoming more popular, workers may increasingly work part-time or at multiple places at the same time. Small business managers should prepare for this.
By outsourcing non-core activities and using freelancers only when needed, it will be easy for business owners to reduce costs while maintaining operational stability.
Understanding these trends and acting on them at the earliest opportunity will help a growing small business to be resilient and agile. And who knows? Some of these small business trends might even inspire you to expand your business or even find better opportunities.
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