With over 31 million of small businesses in the United States alone, starting a business was challenging enough. But, in the post-pandemic era, small businesses are facing even more challenges.
Shifting consumer preferences and emerging trends mean that business leaders must strive to keep up with these changes and stay on top of new trends in order to maintain and grow their businesses.
In this article, we talk about the 10 small business trends and predictions for 2022 to keep an eye on. Let’s start!
1. Embracing Remote Work
Companies and individuals worldwide were already embracing remote working before 2020. But when Covid-19 pandemic struck, it swiftly pushed companies to adopt the work-from-home model. Many of them never returned to the office.
While a lot of the companies will be returning to the office, the remote work trend is accelerating and in 2022, even more companies are offering remote employment options.
The benefits are clear for both sides: Companies get to hire global talent and save money on rent and hardware while employees are more productive and have a better work-life balance.
2. Outsourcing Services
Just like remote work, outsourcing isn’t going anywhere.
In 2019, a total of 12% companies fully outsourced payroll according to the data. We can safely assume that the trend has grown over the past two years.
Small businesses will continue to outsource professional services in 2022, including marketing, recruitment, payroll, bookkeeping and accounting. Outsourcing to top small business accounting companies is far more affordable than hiring an in-house accountant or bookkeeper.
3. Investing In Financial Consultants
Unfortunately, small businesses are typically on a budget and cannot afford to hire full-time, in-house chief financial officer but they are turning to professional financial coaching more and more to help them set up and manage their businesses.
According to research, 29% of small businesses planned on hiring a financial consultant in 2021.It is expected that in 2022, small business owners will turn to financial advisors and consultants to help their with their resource planning. Also by erp system development (enterprise resource planning) it is possible to standardize and simplify business processes in different departments.
4. Promoting Data Transparency
A researched conducted by KPMG Advisory revealed that 86% of are concerned about data privacy. The same study showed that 78% of respondents are worried about the amount of data being collected.
The issue here is that companies aren’t being clear on how they use consumer data. This is why in 2022, business will have to be more transparent about their data policy.
5. Adopting Sustainable Practices
Due to growing concerns about environmental issues and a need for more sustainable choices, consumers are now expecting businesses to be socially responsible and tackle some of these issues such as plastic waste, climate change, etc.
But this isn’t only reserved for major brands with vast budgets. Small businesses have to keep up with the latest trends if they want to compete for their piece of the market.
6. Promoting Work-Life Balance
Another trend that has emerged in the post-pandemic (even though we’re not quite over Covid-19 yet) it’s the emphasis on work-life balance and putting employees first.
The time when companies could expect employees to willingly accept working over time and being available 24/7 is over. A staggering 81% of people who worked from home during the pandemic said they wanted a hybrid work model or the ability to continue working remotely when the pandemic is over.
This pushed companies to now offer hybrid working or allowing employees to come to the office on some days and work from home on others. Businesses are also promoting the work-life balance by setting boundaries between work and home hours or encouraging employees to take breaks and engage in physical activities.
Employees are now expecting employers to provide the conditions for hybrid work so small businesses must adapt to this growing demand.
7. Nurturing Online Communities
Sharing quality content and engaging with your customers online helps you establish a connection with your community. Businesses will place even more emphasis on this in 2022.
According to a study conducted by The Sprout Social Index, 89% of consumers will buy from a brand they follow on social media. Small businesses will need to keep up the step with the big brands and establish an online presence in order to foster relationships with their customers.
Using social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to share educational content, videos, and start conversations with their followers are more likely to gain loyal customers.
8. Personalizing Customer Experience
Personalizing customer experience is no longer a recommendation. In 2022, it’s a must if businesses want to stand out in a competitive landscape and retain customers.
To achieve this, businesses must understand who their target audience is and what their pain points are. The best way of doing this is by segmenting audiences into groups based on shared interests, demographics, etc., and creating buyer personas based on that info.
Knowing who your target audiences are and understanding their needs will allow small businesses to improve their targeting and offer personalized experiences.
9. Embracing eCommerce
Brick and mortar stores have started expanding to offer their products online a while ago. However, in 2022, eCommerce is gaining even more traction as consumers, who switched to online shopping when the lockdown began, are continuing to shop online.
Besides the convenience of shopping from their homes, consumers also prefer online shopping because they want to avoid interacting with store assistants.
There has never been a better time to embrace eCommerce than now. For small businesses, it creates great opportunities to make sales with little upfront investment. All they need is to set up an online store and start selling their products online.
10. Expanding Payment Options
Many consumers abandon their shopping carts due to a lack of payment options, among other reasons. This means businesses lose a lot of potential customers due to an issue that can be solved.
The growing trend in 2022 is to offer more payment options such as bitcoin, digital wallets such as PayPal, and interest-free payments in installments. Providing multiple, secure payment options not only helps businesses increase sales but also increases customer satisfaction.
Wrapping Up On Small Business Trends
Taking note of the trends and predictions for 2022 will help small businesses adapt to changes more quickly. The small business trends to keep an eye on include:
- Embracing remote work
- Outsourcing services
- Investing in financial consultants
- Promoting data transparency
- Adopting sustainable practices
- Promoting work-life balance
- Nurturing online communities
- Personalizing customer experience
- Embracing eCommerce
- Expanding payment options
To stay relevant and competitive, small businesses should do what they can to adopt at least some of these trends. Who knows, embracing these trends can prove to be the best business decision ever made!