Article by Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO)
For many small business owners 2020 may go down as one of the most challenging years since starting their business. But with the challenges came some interesting, exciting and innovative changes to businesses that could be viewed as opportunities.
By knowing the latest business trends, you are in a stronger position to boost sales, operate more effectively, reduce expenses, market to the target audience, smash your customers’ experience and build a loyal customer base.
So, let’s look at some of the key trends in 2021.
Trend 1: Having a professional online presence is vital
It is vital, more now than ever before, to have a professional online presence. By being visible on the internet, people will be able to find you and use your services or buy your product.
You could start small with a Facebook page and then develop a website or you could create a Google My Business profile which will help you to be visible online. By creating a strong social media presence, you will extend your visibility and will be able to talk to the community, this will help you to build trust and brand loyalty.
Ideally, every business no matter how small, should have a dedicated domain for their business, have a professionally designed website, e-mail signature, top banner for their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. This powerful online presence gives you the edge in building a successful business. Furthermore, this will give you the opportunity to compete with any size business.
Trend 2: The e-commerce boom will continue – don’t get left behind
With more people not wanting to go to crowded shops, having an e-commerce store has become more critical. It is time, if you haven’t already, to invest in an e-commerce store if you sell products.
Many small retailers operating from a brick-and-mortar store, are either diverging to operate online as well or have closed their stores and moved totally online. Therefore, it is of prime importance to realise the untapped and diverse importance of social media, apart from the traditional importance of marketing, it can also help your business gain more sales, create new customers online, and build relationships with them.
Trend 3: Remote work is the future of work
When the Pandemic arrived into the world, many countries went into lockdown, thus forcing employers to allow employees to work from home . This new way of working for many turned out to be successful.
Remote work is the future of work. While the trend was gradually increasing, the pandemic certainly accelerated this way of doing business.
Many employers have been concerned that employees may not be as productive as those in the office but it has been proven that for the most part, employees are more productive working from home.
This may lead to a hybrid work situation in the future where employees are allowed to work from home full-time, or they will need to divide their time between the office and their home
Trend 4: Mobile communication is the new standard
The time has finally arrived where our use of mobile devices has surpassed our use of desktops and laptops.
From communicating with your workforce to reaching your customers, communication is now focused around mobile technologies. This affects small business owners in a few ways. First, your website must be responsive, which means that the size changes to fit the screen on which it’s being viewed. Using a mobile device to communicate with your workforce at the office or at home and engaging with your customers on a day-to-day basis is now a common trend.
Bottom line, mobile devices and the trend of mobility is another trend that is greatly altering the way we communicate.
Trend 5: A cashless society is looming
Most predictions say that the economy is destined to go cashless in the near future. Digital payment is convenient and secure, and selling products in a touchless environment is the way of the future
While e-commerce obviously lends itself to the digital payment, having a cashless payment option beyond a credit card terminal is a good idea for your business. While we may not go entirely cashless, keep up with adopting new payment options for your business.
Trend 6: Considering your business continuity
The key learnings coming out of 2020 is to prepare for the next crisis, whatever crisis it may be.
When we are made aware of our own mortality, we start to consider the legacy which we will leave behind or how our business needs to recover. Businesses who had these plans in place before the pandemic seem to have weathered the storm a little better and it is important to put a business continuity plan in place in the event of the next crisis.
By stockpiling more cash, eliminating non-essential spending, and reducing debt is a great way to start and will give businesses the opportunity to build a solid foundation to weather the next storm.
By adopting some of these trends within your business, you will be able to grow your business into a sustainable and resilient company in the future.