Small Business Trends & Forecasts for 2021/2022

SNEHA HULL | June 24, 2021

The year 2020 saw the impact of a sudden outbreak of COVID-19 that had a significant impact on all facets of life: education, shopping, environment, health, jobs, and many more. But the effect that it had on businesses was prominent and was the most challenging years in the history of small businesses across the globe. However, 2021 came up with a few small business trends & forecasts that gave some relief to small business owners and allowed taking advantage of these trends to survive small businesses.

With everything turning digital, customer's behaviors changed, their preferences and values changed, markets turned volatile, and so did their expectations evolve. Hence, small businesses had to renew their focus on changed customers.

Even though the coronavirus outbreak has not yet ended, small businesses are optimistic and ready to be resilient, adapting their business model to changing conditions. This blog provides crucial small business trends that can smoothen the way you run your business.


Current Business Outlook

National Federation of Independent Businesses (NIFB) says small businesses in the United States are going through a rough patch ever in their business history. COVID-19 affected different industries differently.
The most common small business challenges faced during COVID-19 are:
  •  Loss of revenue
  •  Budget cuts
  •  Reduce salaries
  •  Temporary closure
  •  Temporary pivot
Government restrictions are gradually easing with the increase in vaccine rollout taking place in full swing across the US in 2021. As everyone adjusts to the new normal, small businesses will be at the forefront of the economic recovery.
According to the Small Business Trends survey, 23% of respondents reported revenue loss during the pandemic, while 6% reported increased revenue. In addition, 11% of small business owners polled said they had cut their budgets, and another 11% said they had temporarily closed their doors. As more small business owners become optimistic about 2021, there is no doubt that this optimism should go with proper planning and preparation.

Find out few small business trends which are likely to dominate in 2021 and beyond and how to take advantage of the trends for your business growth:


Faster adaptability and flexibility to any crisis

With the change in consumer behavior resulting from the pandemic, the business operation also changed and adapted to the new normal of doing business. To stay afloat, many business owners spontaneously adapted and were able to identify innovative approaches to change how they operate. In addition, with the need to reduce in-person transactions, an increasing number of businesses emphasize the use of technology.
Few small businesses have achieved record sales even during the pandemic by implementing a new and renewed business model that allows them to operate even with few in-person transactions.
How are businesses innovating to survive the pandemic?
  •  Because of the pandemic, 43% of small businesses began to rethink how they do business.
  •  32% of small businesses discovered new ways to deliver existing service offerings.
  •  22% of small businesses encouraged their employees to reinvent themselves to adapt to new business changes.


Rise in continuous remote work

For many companies and professions such as teachers, creatives, trainers, and more, where remote work culture was just a possibility, it became a reality because of the pandemic. As a result, COVID-19 played as a game-changer and proved to be the perfect time for businesses to create their online presence.
Remote work had existed even before the pandemic started, but COVID-19 accelerated this and turned into compulsive adoption. Remote work is here to stay even after the pandemic ends and might become a preferred way of working. Many businesses will transition to a distributed working model by 2021 and beyond. It makes perfect sense for small businesses to jump on board with this trend and go remote.
The 2021 State of Small Business Trends Report has been released by the Small Business Expo, America's most prominent business networking and educational event for business owners, start-ups, and entrepreneurs. According to the report, three in ten respondents said they intend to keep their employees working from home after COVID-19, one in ten will return to the office, and six in ten said the Work from home policy did not apply to their business.


Implementation of contactless payment options

Cash-free or contactless payment was very helpful during the pandemic and has become a new norm. This pattern is expected to continue through 2021 and beyond. Small businesses have immensely benefited from electronic payments such as digital wallet payments, touchless debit cards, and credit card payments. These payment modes are easier to manage, more secure, ensure transparency, and saves time. When it comes to payment options, small businesses should consider being extremely flexible. As a result, selecting the right payment gateway platform is the first step in dealing with this trend. This is among one of the very encouraging small business trends for growth.


E-commerce Dominance and Social Commerce Growth

E-commerce was already flourishing before the pandemic, but its emergence just accelerated the e-commerce growth. According to the report, e-commerce will be the dominant force in 2021 and beyond. Thus, small businesses can capitalize on this boom by providing a seamless e-commerce experience for their customers by making their website mobile-friendly.


Improved emphasis on employee happiness and well-being

The pandemic followed by worldwide lockdown was complex for everyone, and one thing it made us realize was the significance of our physical health and, more importantly, mental health. Lockdown and remote work was mentally draining to most employees. For every organization employee, health and wellness became an utmost priority. Hence they had to come up with something to keep their employees engaged and happy during working hours.
You have the advantage of smaller teams as a small business, and you can foster close relationships among your co-workers. Even if you work from home, you can always plan a fun evening together via video call. Small gestures can go a long way toward bringing your team together and increasing employee morale. You must go above and beyond by identifying ways to increase employee happiness.


Embark on Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is like celebrity endorsement, which is common in the age of mass media. Social media has grabbed a large chunk of marketing in today’s world and stays in contact with the world. Influencer marketing is a subtle form of marketing that has emerged as a viable strategy for various brands. Because of their low cost and broad market reach, influencers are used by 25% of small businesses for social media marketing. The influencer marketing industry is the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method and expected to expand further in the coming years to become the biggest future small business trends 2020/2021.


Leveraging Digital Technologies

Small businesses adopted technologies before the pandemic, which improved their bottom lines. Small business owners discovered that leveraging digital technologies and the internet enabled them to operate smoothly in the face of the COVID-19 crisis and restrictions while also ensuring the safety of their employees and customers. It allowed them to identify new revenue streams and reinvent their business models.

5G network and AI have become a big part of digital technologies for small businesses. Small business owners should invest in digital technologies and systems that will allow them to provide personalized customer service. In addition, using digital technologies can automate business processes and manage employees who work remotely.

Digital tools have the potential to boost productivity and efficiency. They make you more agile. According to the survey, 77 percent of US small-business owners use technology for personal reasons, such as online shopping or media consumption.


The 5G Network and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

5G network rollout and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are a big part of the business plan. The 5G network is a larger and better version of our 4G LTE network. The 5G network provides lightning-fast internet speeds, which expands the possibilities for using AI across industries. As a result, this combination opens new possibilities for IoT.
Experts predict that by 2024, 5G networks will have a global penetration of 40%, handling 25% of all mobile data. In addition, 5G networks provide a much simpler setup process.
AI can assist small businesses that are typically short on staff in automating processes and improving efficiency. AI can learn from data sets, analyze new information from various sources, and adapt as needed. This decision can help small businesses compete with larger competitors and prove the best small business trends and forecasts for 2021 and beyond.


The Gig Economy

As small businesses embrace the gig economy, owners and managers can hire freelancers to complete specific tasks within specific timeframes. When you allot a short-term project to your contracted worker, it eases the stress, and your staff workload brings flexibility and agility to your budgeting. You can hire as per your need of the time. By phasing out some employment setups for your small business, you can save resources and time by outsourcing expertise and equipment. Starting a side gig can help you create a business without losing an essential source of income from your current job.
The gig economy in the United States grew to around 77 million people in 2020 and is expected to grow even more in 2021. In the United States, 57.3 million people work for themselves. Furthermore, freelancers account for approximately 36% of the total workforce. Thus, the gig economy is only going to get bigger. As a result, you must stay current on marketing trends affecting small businesses.


Millennial Small Business Owners

Millennials, or those born between 1981 and 1996, account for a quarter of the American population. This generation is most likely the most researched. Millennials are the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology, from computers to smartphones and tablets. With all this knowledge, this generation is transforming the world of small businesses. They adapt to the changing technology fast.
This generation has altered the way we conduct business, from pressuring companies to improve their business practices to simply responding quickly to customers via digital channels. In addition, they are more aware of the current social climate because they are collective movers and shakers. As a result, millennial Small Business Owners are in favor of small business trends for 2021 and beyond.


FAQs

What trends do you foresee in small businesses?

The trends in small business that will continue in 2021 and beyond are remote work will be the new standard, contactless payment options, 5G and AI technology, digitization will accelerate, businesses will continue prioritizing e-commerce.


How new technology helps small business to grow?

Technology allows small business owners and employees to work in the office, on the road, from home, on the road, or even across the country. As a result, technology can assist businesses in gaining a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.


Why should small businesses adopt new technologies?

The impact of new technology on business operations is significant. It enhances business communication while also optimizing production, inventory management, and financial record-keeping.


Spotlight

EXPANSYS

EXPANSYS.com is the consumer technology online superstore. With headquarters in the UK, we have a truly global reach, selling products in over 130 countries around the world, with offices & distribution centres in the USA, France and Hong Kong.

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BUSINESS STRATEGY

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BUSINESS STRATEGY

5 Myths About Starting a New Business

Article | March 4, 2022

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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

Why Is Content Syndication for Small Business on the Rise Again?

Article | March 2, 2022

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Here are a few factors responsible for this resurgence in content syndication. Inbound Marketing Is Inadequate The results of traditional inbound marketing do not scale to meet the demands of enterprises. Due to the increasing relevance of account-based marketing and the saturation of inbound marketing approaches, expanding inbound outcomes has become significantly more complex and expensive. Additionally, the cost of inbound marketing strategies has ascended dramatically. Approaches for Content Syndication Have Evolved The approaches to content syndication have evolved in perfect sync with the evolution of content types. As a result, marketers now place a far higher premium on innovative content syndication programs. For example, earlier, only blog articles were syndicated. Now, other forms of content are increasingly being syndicated. And, despite advancements in SEO over the years, syndication remains critical. B2B Marketers Can Use Syndication More Effectively Marketers' capability to track and optimize program success has also increased. As a result, B2B marketers have a slew of different B2B marketing methods at their disposal, among which content syndication is critical. B2B marketers have created four types of content syndication. They are as follows: Syndicate third-party content on the blog Publish your content on other blogs Distribute your content through content syndication websites Self-syndication Successful B2B marketers leverage syndication programs to establish thought leadership and influence their target audience. It enables you to reach new audiences or existing consumers, increases your brand's authority and exposure, and foster a reasonable brand opinion, all of which might result in qualifying business inquiries. Effective content syndication platforms enable B2B marketers to generate, moderate, and syndicate material with complete confidence, which leads to a higher conversion rate. Types of Syndication Outlets Exploring syndicating content across many platforms or networks is essential to maximize audience reach. Well-planned content syndication for small businesses may provide a slew of benefits. When seeking for third parties to syndicate your brand's content, there are a few options to pursue. Multi-author Publications Numerous multi-author publications accept syndicated material and republish entire or partial pieces, integrating your blog's RSS feed. For example, Social Media Today is popular business-related syndication sites. Blogging Platforms There are numerous blogging platforms that allow users to create their blogs on the platform or website. In addition, there are several blogging systems available, generally known as Content Management Systems (CMS), which serve as the home for your content. Blogging platforms are an excellent alternative for content syndication for small businesses because they have built-in audiences and allow you to control how much you post. Some of the most popular platforms are WordPress, Blogger.com, Tumblr, Typepad, and Drupal. However, according to blogging professionals, currently, WordPress is the most popular blogging platform available. Indeed, WordPress powers almost 50% of the world's top 100 blogs. Among these are several top-rated sites, like The Wall Street Journal and NLF.com. This syndication outlet is the most widely used content marketing strategy among small business owners. Social Networks Numerous social networking platforms allow you to publish content directly to their platforms. It's ideal for including links to your website to improve traffic. In addition, it's a means to post and promote your content across the most powerful social media platforms for your business. Instant Articles on Facebook and LinkedIn's Publishing Platform are two such platforms where you can syndicate your material. These are great options because you'll be able to use content discovery and analytics tools to optimize your pieces for social sharing. Social syndication delivers: Easy to consume Easy to share Enjoyed by thought leaders Always lead back to your offer The Building Blocks of an Effective Content Syndication Program While content syndication is seeing a resurgence, B2B marketers should exercise care before delving into this promotion channel. Content syndication is gained importance due to new capabilities and unfavorable circumstances. However, a few factors must be considered for establishing successful content syndication. Target the Right Persona (Executives) Although CEOs have considerable decision-making authority, they are not the main contenders for target content syndication. Therefore, targeting executives makes sense if you offer a content solution designed to benefit them. First, target personas who understand the challenges and appreciate the solutions you offer. The targeted personas will have an internal influence on others, which is more effective than approaching executives directly. However, you must first create your persona profiles. Right Content Assets Based on a Buyers' Journey It is critical to pick content assets based on an in-depth buyer's journey map, matching content with targeted personas and funnel stages. In addition, your content syndication efforts should be broken down by target accounts based on the research they conduct on certain topics. 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MARKETING AND NETWORKING

Successful Ways of Networking for Small Businesses

Article | February 28, 2022

Even if you have the most effective marketing strategy and the desired reach for your business, traditional word-of-mouth continues to be one of the most effective techniques for acquiring new customers. A successful small business requires a face-to-face networking strategy with other entrepreneurs. Over the years, small business networking has gained immense popularity among small business owners. Let’s not forget that every large corporation today was once a small enterprise. The expansion did not happen overnight. Networking is critical for small business success because no firm grows in isolation. "Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come." - Diane Helbig, Business and Leadership Development Advisor Business networking may help you grow your customer base and get more referrals, as well as give you numerous chances for learning, development, and growth. Despite the undeniable value of networking, most small-business owners are at a loss about where to begin. You may be wondering how you might enter the world of networking. This article shows you how to use the best business networking ideas for your small business. Reasons to Grow Your Business with Networking Every businessperson understands the importance of investing in money, but only the wise invest in relationships. 95% of professionals believe that face-to-face contact is critical for long-term company success (HubSpot) Networking connects you with peers in your sector and opens the door to new opportunities. It shows you how important it is to have good interpersonal skills and how important face-to-face interactions are. Meeting with a venture capitalist can assist in securing funding. Finding a partner across the nation might result in the start of a new venture. In addition, small business networking may help by giving unique opportunities, growing confidence, expanding your community, and learning new skills. This is a perfect example of why businesses need to consider their networking strategy. Eloqua, a platform for marketing automation and intelligence, was acquired by Oracle in 2012 for $871 million. The entire transaction proceeded well because Eloqua co-founder Paul Teshima had developed strong, shared ties with Oracle's executives. Eloqua was acquired for more than 200% of its projected public market value, resulting in $400 million increase in a shareholders’ net worth. Small Business Networking Ideas “When you network you develop a list of resources that you can share with others. This increases your value to those prospects and clients you deal with.” - Diane Helbig, Business and Leadership Development Advisor Join Online Business Communities/Groups The most effective strategy to boost brand recognition for your firm and overall performance is to join business organizations and participate in "face-to-face" business networking groups. Numerous small business networking groups provide members with the opportunity to promote their businesses to the group or receive customized business advice. Some excellent small business networking groups you can join are the Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, the Entrepreneur's Organization, Business Networking International, Young Entrepreneurs' Council, Rotary Club International, and the American Marketing Association. However, being an active member of a lot of business organizations doesn’t have the same benefit as being a member of just one or two. Cross-promotion Cross-promotion is an excellent approach to building relationships with other small companies. Collaboration and cross-promotion are efficient strategies for growing your brand, acquiring new consumers, and diversifying the services you provide your clientele. Cross-promotion may take place in different forms, from pooling resources to sponsoring an event to bundling your items. You can collaborate on promotional videos and share them on each other's social media accounts. You can also develop a collaborative advertisement for publication in local retail journals and publications. Here is one perfect example that will help you understand better the benefits of cross-promotion. La'mariette and Selena Gomez collaborate on a campaign — La'mariette is a swimsuit company that believes that every body type is beautiful. They teamed up with Selena Gomez, singer and influencer with 195 million Instagram followers. Selena shared a photo of herself wearing a La'mariette swimsuit. She debuted the brand with this post. Additionally, she tagged La'mariette and shared their Instagram link. Selena's photo was then put on the brand's website. Cross-promotion brings a lot of benefits for small business owners with limited resources and budgets. Networking Business Cards Business cards play a crucial role in your small business networking strategy, whether you attend a small business conference, join a local networking event, or participate in a trade show as an exhibitor. Along with the necessary contact information, business cards may help strengthen your brand and make you more distinctive. Visiting/business card is the first and long-lasting impression, extension of smile or handshake, mark of professional. Additionally, owners are hesitant to discard business cards, probably because they understand that the cards need time and money to make. Business cards will help to build a strong customer relationship management (CRM) system. Attend Small Business Conferences Small business conferences are an excellent opportunity to network with other businesses and establish vital contacts. When you go to conferences, you get to reconnect with colleagues you haven't spoken to in a while. There are several ways to network at or during a conference. You can choose to stay at the same hotel as the conference, be prepared with conversation starters, be receptive to individuals who wish to meet you, and sign up for conference dinners, meet-ups, parties, and others. Connect With Other Local Businesses While being a member of the community helps small business owners in several ways, it also provides a chance to give back to the society. Just as you rely on the goodwill, referrals, and patronage of folks in your immediate circle, so do the other companies in your neighborhood. For example, a simple visit to say hello and leave your business card. This not only creates an opportunity to sell your products or services, but is also a neighborly thing to do. “Create a company culture that focuses on personal development, both inside and outside the workplace to influence your local community.” - Christian Valiulis, Automatic Payroll Systems Conclusion Business networking is a fun part of developing small businesses. However, as you implement the above networking strategy, pay attention to how it impacts everything around you. For maximum exposure, choose the best option from the suggestions mentioned above. FAQ: How can networking help a small business? Networking helps small businesses to find new customers, expand their business and provide exposure for their brand. Business networking helps build relationships with others. What are the advantages of networking? Below are a few advantages of networking Raise your profile Strengthen business connections Increased confidence Solutions to business problems Business opportunities Latest information How can I improve my business network? You can improve your business network by considering the following: Attend offline events Follow up Connect the connectors Get busy on social media Join online business communities/groups

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EXPANSYS.com is the consumer technology online superstore. With headquarters in the UK, we have a truly global reach, selling products in over 130 countries around the world, with offices & distribution centres in the USA, France and Hong Kong.

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