2020 has been a difficult year for all. Though slowly but gradually, businesses are responding to the emerging changes in the trade sector.
With over 100 million jobs lost in 2020 due to pandemic and ascending digital transformation, the business owners are fighting back the recession.
Nonetheless, 2021 seems more promising, with remarkable shifts in all areas of a small enterprise.
According to the Forbes expert panel, the following trends will drive small businesses in 2021.
Increasing Digital Footprint
We all have witnessed how well online businesses survived the pandemic and its effects. In fact, not only did they survive, but many companies saw skyrocketing success.
For small businesses, a solid digital footprint is a must. Since most consumers prefer online shopping and services, small businesses would need an increased online presence.
Creating websites, optimizing them for increased visibility, and tweaking the sales funnel would be the key focus areas for many SMBs in 2021.
Agility In Decision Making
It would be foolhardy to think that the situation with the pandemic will improve soon. With new mutations being discovered and still increasing cases of infection, business owners should expect restrictions to be still around.
However, for small business owners, there’s some advantage over more prominent corporations. Due to their smaller size and the SMB owners can easily switch focus between tasks. Be it service delivery, customer handling, or restructuring the team.
The experts suggest SMB owners would need to be agile with their decision-making. And as quickly as they can pivot and adapt themselves to the changes, their growth would be better.
Remote Work Would Continue
In 2020, while some businesses were shuttered, many others switched to remote work. We know it, we’ve been there, and we’ve also witnessed the success of this social experiment.
According to a study, not only employers but also employees are more likely to work remotely. Remote work has been the most remarkable legacies that Covid-19 has created.
SMB owners would need specialists who can help them manage their remote teams. As alluring as this sounds, there is a whole new employment opportunity hidden somewhere in remote working norms.
Talent Problems Would Still Be Imminent
According to some recent reports, nearly 114 million jobs were lost in 2020 due to the pandemic. The overall unemployment, as many expect, should offer recruiters a bigger pool of talent to choose from.
However, contrary to expectations, job seekers are now looking for security and safety in their new jobs. It means recruiters and employers would also need to readjust their hiring techniques.
As a result, talent problems for SMBs would still be an issue to deal with. The better talents would be too costly to hire, whereas the budgets for SMB owners would not be too flexible. Besides, activities like screening and employment verification would most likely be outsourced. Since most businesses would be hiring remotely, outsourcing the recruitment tasks could benefit the talent hunt.
Workplace Culture Would Change
Workplace culture is what leaders capitalize on and promote to gain an edge over their competitors. To put this into perspective, what people believe, say or do, and how they behave all define the workplace culture for any company.
The recent changes in the business & services atmosphere are driving leaders to rethink the health and priorities of their companies. More and more focus is being laid on supporting organizational growth.
An improvement in workplace culture by aligning the company’s vision, mission, and core values is expected in 2021. Ultimately, driving efficiency and encouraging the workforce to improve their productivity.
One of the critical developments in organizational technologies in 2020 was the need for HR solutions. Since most businesses shifted to remote working and are still preferring it over in-house operations, monitoring the workforce is alarming.
For example, keeping track of employee production and their needs needed records. Though effective communication channels also evolved, organizations still need data-intensive insights for making decisions.
Recruitment and onboarding software, log in and log out monitoring tools, and many more such technologies are evolving. And they are likely to increase in number this year.
AI And Machine Learning Would Lead The Way
Though none of these two technologies are new, their practical value, however, increased manifolds in 2020. E-commerce and online shopping have seen exponential growth during the pandemic.
It should come as no surprise that artificial intelligence and machine learning have been the supporting techs behind the growth of online shopping.
The increased traffic and more user data enabled SMBs to target their customers in a better way. And, as a result, improved revenue generation. So, in a nutshell, we are more likely to witness a new phase within the AI and ML techs for small businesses.
Customer Reviews Would Be The Key
Since the pandemic has affected business finances and personal, people might forgo more prominent brands and opt for cheaper and more economical alternatives.
This is the golden opportunity for small business owners to create a loyal user base around their brand. And customer reviews would be the essential key to it.
As already mentioned, digital transformation is being widely accepted now; the only thing that can attract customers is their own verdict. In other words, the more small businesses would engage in user-generated content, the better.
Payment Technologies Would Evolve
Last but not least is the change in payment methods. Whether it is B2B transactions or B2C, the payees and recipients have chosen unconventional ways.
The traditional cash payment methods are the least preferred, particularly since people are choosing no-contact dealings. We all have witnessed the evolution of mobile banking and internet payment interfaces. But, now there are other forms of payment too.
One particular payment method, cryptocurrency or digital currency, is becoming more and more common. With the changing laws and legislation around cryptocurrencies, businesses embrace it as a legit payment method.
There is a lot of fluctuation and uncertainty for businesses in 2021. But with careful planning and keeping an open mind would mean a sure shot success.