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March 16, 2022
12 Small Business Trends and Predictions for 2022
How did covid affect small businesses?
COVID-19 shook the global economy and caused massive disruptions to people’s lives and livelihoods. Small business trends show that local businesses are the primary victims of the COVID-19 outbreak. Compared to large enterprises, small businesses typically lack sufficient resources, mainly financial and managerial resources, and are unprepared for such disruptions that are likely to last longer than expected. Furthermore, these businesses rely heavily on routine business transactions and a small number of customers.
Small businesses are dealing with various issues, including a decrease in demand, supply chain disruptions, cancellation of orders, raw material shortages, and transportation disruptions, among others.
How small businesses are coping with the impact of COVID-19
Startups affected by COVID-19 in the USA are attempting to reinvent themselves, finding creative ways to keep their operations running by leveraging technology and focusing on customers. 34% of small businesses have increased their use of the internet, social media, and digital platforms.
During the lockdown, many businesses were unable to replicate their previous operating model; it is critical to seek a new direction. While there are numerous remote-connecting options available, what works best for a specific business is determined by its values, customer needs, and culture.
Going online is especially important for startups affected by covid 19, whose ability to generate cash flow during a lockdown depends on their ability to continue providing services. The increasing penetration of data and internet services, as well as the availability of low-cost remote networking technologies, provide effective methods of gaining customers’ insights. Customers’ shifting preferences and motivations open up new opportunities.
According to a Harvard study, businesses that maintained a balance between operational efficiency and investment in future trends during a crisis had a 37% chance of outperforming their competitors.
Leading small business trends in 2021
In order to understand small businesses and how digital media and the global consumer market will change them, it is important to have a look at the small business trends in the past year. For 2021, as it was the first year since the global recession and the pandemic, many small businesses seemed to struggle greatly. However, those who survived learned to adapt to the consumer needs and changing market trends.
Following are some of the small business trends in 2021:
The rise and reign of ecommerce
It is quite obvious why ecommerce flourished during the pandemic. Small businesses have learned how to deal with the limitations of citywide lockdowns and still provide quality customer service to their clients. Other than that, having a good online reputation and social media presence was also seen as a rising small business trend in 2021. Having a good online reputation means your Google Business profile is optimised, your social media profiles are representing your strategy for dealing with the lockdown.
As seen in many cases, online shopping trends worked in the favour of small businesses. People were looking to fulfil their needs or get their shopping fix online. Meanwhile, small businesses happily complied.
Better focus on customer retention.
As we will see in the coming years, the global pandemic and the receding economic growth will force businesses to focus on retaining their customer base, now more than ever, it has become imperative to offer subscriptions, membership cards and reward their loyalty via discounts or other offers. From personal coaches to candle connoisseurs, small business trends in 2021 have shown a rise in building a strong customer base rather than branching out to new prospects.
The concept of remote work is not new. However, it only peaked in popularity during the pandemic. Since 2020, workplace culture has been disrupted immensely. This is why we have seen a permanent shift towards online office spaces. Small businesses have greatly benefited from this as running departments online via applications like Slack, Trello, Zoom, etc has helped lessen the burden of these trying times. Instead small businesses trends have shown better focus on digital marketing, and online presence.
Better digital presence
Since the pandemic, small business trends have shown how essential it has become to stay online. Any small business can relate to the fact that customers are now using social media for buying and purchasing products. As social commerce has taken control of people’s buying habits, small businesses offered contactless delivery, better online customer service, websites, applications, online payment facilities, etc.
All in all, the tide of small business in 2021 had been in the favour of businesses running on a small scale. Local marketing and virtual communities have focused people’s attention more towards supporting small businesses and their local economy. As compared to large conglomerates, people are now shifting their attention towards responsible purchase habits and preferring small businesses. This presented as an opportunity for businesses to shift their focus towards better online reputation.
Small business trends for 2022
As life begins to return to normal, new small business trends emerge, and understanding them can assist small businesses in regaining their footing.
Small-business owners in USA must remain aware of the changes and movements that are influencing business in a post-pandemic world. Below are the trends that will impact small businesses the most in 2022.
1. Customer satisfaction should be prioritized
As an entrepreneur, you already know that giving customers a memorable experience is what builds loyalty and keeps them coming back for more.
With that in mind, businesses recognize the importance of investing in this area. According to a commissioned study conducted on behalf of Shopify by Forrester Consulting, 27 percent of businesses said improving customer experience was their top or second priority for 2022.
2. Emphasis on Automation
Whether you’ve been in business for 20 years or 20 days, today’s small business owners are looking for time-saving tools.” Day-to-day tasks such as invoicing, scheduling, and follow-up frequently force entrepreneurs to work “in” the business rather than stepping back to focus on strategic activities that will enable business growth. In 2022, tools that can automate manual and repetitive processes to allow entrepreneurs to work on their own terms will take off.
3. Cloud and digital technologies
Many small businesses lack a strong online presence. Your ability to use and leverage today’s digital and cloud technologies, as well as your willingness to stay on top of whatever technologies your customers use, will determine your success over the next ten years. These days, it’s Slack, Teams, and Twitter. Who knows what will happen in three years?
4. Focus on online revenue
Even for those with a physical location, small business trends show that online sales continue to be the most important driver of growth.
According to research 54% of businesses said their commerce team must focus on online revenue in order to meet their 2022 goals. Taking a closer look, 49% of businesses said they intend to increase their investment in their company-owned online store.
Businesses also emphasized the importance of online marketplaces, with 56% planning to increase investment in ecommerce marketplaces. This is a wise strategy, as 55% of customers said they buy from online marketplaces on a weekly or monthly basis.
5. Digital marketing multiplies exponentially
Small-business owners must accept the fact that digital marketing is here to stay. While digital marketing may not completely replace in-person profile building, as it did during the pandemic, its cost- and time-efficiency cannot be overlooked. SMBs can keep up with this popular business trend by investing more in a multi-channel digital marketing approach to reach today’s shoppers.
6. Making Connections with Business Owners
Don’t miss out on 2022’s biggest trend: networking! Instead of growing alone, small-business owners can exponentially multiply their efforts by connecting with other business owners. Networking allows you to obtain business lead referrals, hear new market perspectives, learn from the experiences of others, sharpen your game and pitch, and team up and form relationships that inspire and fuel each other’s growth.
7. Adopt Big Business Systems and Processes
To be successful in 2022, small businesses must begin adopting big business systems and processes. This means that small businesses must set up toll-free numbers, interactive voice response systems, and automations, as well as structure their operations as if they were much larger than they are. This is critical to their success.
8. Additional paid placement advertising
With immersive, targeted, and video-centric content, paid placement is coming into its own. While Google will no longer target advertisements based on recent searches, this does not apply to mobile ads or non-Google advertisers. As a result, targeted advertisements are here to stay.
You appear in the search results alongside organically ranked articles if you use paid placement ads or pay-per-click (PPC). This is effective because customers who are looking for what you sell will come across your content. According to Rand Fishkin’s research, PPC has a high 11% click-through rate.
9. More remote work
Many employees do not want to return to the office full-time after experiencing a taste of freedom. In fact, when things calm down, more than half of all U.S. employees want to continue working from home. According to studies, remote workers are more productive when they don’t have to spend an average of 27 minutes each way commuting. This means they can do more work while also having a better quality of life.
Small businesses can stay competitive by embracing remote productivity. Provide remote teams with fast internet connections, allow for flex time, and use remote-work tracking apps like Jira or Trello.
10. Utilization of Google to the Fullest
The most effective use of Google will be the game changer in 2022. Google My Business, local services, ads, and search engine optimization are all part of this. Small-business owners must learn about, use, and comprehend Google lead generation.
11. Personal Branding
It will be important to master not only business branding but also personal branding. It has been noticed that small and medium-sized business owners tend to hide behind their company’s brand, preferring not to show who they are or to show themselves as vulnerable and human. As an owner, the only way to gain loyalty is through emotional engagement, which comes from your authenticity and being genuine, showing the human side of your business and showcasing you and your employees.
12. Employees’ Coaching and Mentoring
Small businesses will need to find creative, innovative ways to attract and retain talent in order to maintain a happy workforce and improve retention. There is a growing trend of providing coaching or mentoring to employees. According to a recent report, nearly 77% of coaching professionals agreed that coaching will continue to play a role in business, fueling a battle for online course hosting platforms.
Small business trends come and go all the time. COVID-19’s global impact will almost certainly shape the new “normal,” and businesses, both small and large, will have no choice but to adapt in order to thrive and survive in these emerging trends.
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