2020 was one of the most difficult years in recent history for small businesses. While we’d like to put last year behind us, there’s no denying that its effects have carried over into the new year. And, more than likely, we’ll be fighting its repercussions for the rest of the year.
Small business owners can now take actions to prepare for the coming year. And it all starts with understanding what business, marketing, and other professional professionals predict will be dominant in 2021. Let’s get started.
In 2021, what can small enterprises expect? These are the top small business trends we believe to have the most influence on small businesses, as well as how your company may take advantage of them.
The implementation of eCommerce will be a top focus
Getting used to selling online can be tough. It’s a whole different business model that necessitates the development of new customer relationships, the exploration of novel supply chain procedures, and the opportunity for a new value proposition for your products or services. While you’ll have a hard time competing with the Amazons of the world on scale, other aspects of eCommerce are shifting in your favor.
Consumers are becoming more selective about who they buy from, choosing for the internet equivalent of shopping local or supporting brick-and-mortar small companies. Concentrate on specialty markets and establishing a community around your eCommerce business. Increase your social media engagement and provide your customers with several channels of continuous contact.
Finally, make every effort to be as transparent as possible. Explain your objective, where your items are made, who your staff is, and, most importantly, give them as much insight as possible throughout the delivery process. It’s unlikely that switching to internet sales will be straightforward, so start small, learn how to operate this new sales channel, and gradually extend your skills as you gain confidence.
The importance of internet engagement
People are spending more time online than ever before, which means that there are more eyes on your online presence and more competition for their attention. Small businesses, on the other hand, have a potential to use online involvement in a unique way to develop a real community.
Brands need to counteract the social media noise, think ‘less is more,’ and create messaging that actually resonates with their key audience.
People are yearning for personal relationships with businesses and brands that feel like part of their community. Businesses will have to work more than ever to be more of a helpful, understanding ‘friend’ in the community, rather than just a service/product provider.
So, what does this imply for your company? First, you can engage with a majority of worldwide social media users by focusing on one or two channels. Second, you must earn your users’ attention by creating genuine, customer-focused content that matches your company’s objective.
Finally, you must mirror your social media activities throughout all of your digital touchpoints. This includes your website, digital ads, and any other channel via which your customers may communicate with you. You must offer a simplified, realistic experience that can be accessed from whatever device that your customer chooses to utilize.
Using data to improve business management methods
To take advantage of the growing number of data solutions available, you must first select the Key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to track within your company. If you currently have accounting software, you should be able to track most of your fundamental business metrics with it, however some parts, such as lifetime value, may require some extra development.
You’ll want to investigate various routes, most likely digital, that you can assess in addition to your financial data. Email open rates, social media engagement, online analytics, and paid ad conversions, to mention a few, are examples of these. Run through the same process of determining critical metrics that are critical to your performance if you’re already using any of these channels. Find ways to tie them back to the main vitals you’ve already defined if you can.
Finally, make sure you have a plan that is flexible. It’s fantastic to have access to important data, but if you can’t swiftly assess and act on the insights you’ve gleaned, they’re just a bunch of numbers on a sheet. Find ways to incorporate your data into your strategy, and maintain a lean functioning version of your plan on hand so you can make changes as needed.
Changes to the business model
Pivoting your business model is a significant investment, but it has become increasingly critical as the crisis has progressed. Not just for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, but also for fast-growing industries like eCommerce. Making changes to your business model is no longer only a need of survival; it’s also a matter of staying competitive and carving out a more valued product or service position.
It might be difficult to go through the process of evaluating your business strategy and pivoting as necessary. Customer demand, value propositions, value demonstrations, and your capabilities, according to the Harvard Business Review, may be boiled down to four dimensions. Work your way through each of these aspects, then look for connections and what will need to be addressed if you make changes in one area.
Work through many situations to understand your best and worst-case positions before deciding to make any adjustments. This might prevent you from making hasty decisions by providing stretch objectives or alternate milestones if you achieve greater achievement.
Getting used to working from home and collaborating digitally
As things begin to reopen and you consider returning staff to the office or storefront, you’ll need to assess the advantages and disadvantages of continuing to work remotely. Reduced expenses and employee work-life balance are benefits, but for certain employees and business owners, the lack of in-person collaboration can be a huge drawback. This is where a hybrid working approach could be advantageous in the future.
Rather than requiring employees to work from home or in the office, it may be preferable to allow them the option. This gives your staff more control and enables your teams to collaborate regardless of where they are. Your job will be to keep the balance and iron out any processual kinks that may be causing problems for both remote and in-office workers.
If your industry can’t accommodate remote work, you’ll need to concentrate on transferring the key benefits to in-office work. Greater autonomy and supporting a good work-life balance are excellent places to start, and can be guided by defined organizational goals and essential criteria to monitor.
Invest in automation software
For small enterprises who aren’t in the AI field, the market’s actual growth is relatively inattentive. What matters most about this expansion is how it will continue to boost employee productivity and connectedness. Businesses are anticipated to continue investing in solutions that will help them stabilize their operations and improve management and planning.
Remote work, internet commerce, and data analysis are all on the rise, and AI solutions will follow suit. So, if you haven’t already invested in solutions that can help you enhance productivity, customer service, or access to relevant data, know that your competitors have. That isn’t to say you should subscribe to every tool available; rather, choose solutions that will help your company.
Get your company ready with these small business trends
There was a point in time when we could have anticipated things to return to their previous state prior to the pandemic. As time has passed and consumers and businesses alike have adjusted, this is becoming increasingly implausible. We may see a return to in-person contacts and service in the future, but it will most likely be a luxury added to digital offerings.
You can find chances in your company to utilize current trends in technology and consumer interest by combining tools and your own financial documents with an active plan. You’ll be significantly more likely to experience growth in 2021 if you start preparing now, take a good long look at your operations, and start making long-term modifications.