Small Business Trends for 2022
As small business owners, we are always looking at what’s coming down the pike. And 2022 will be no different... except that it’s completely different. With COVID-19 impacting almost every facet of how small businesses are run, it’s important to zoom out and consider nationwide trends that could impact your organization. Here are some trends we’re seeing rise to the top: Finances, Marketing, Digital, and Hybrid Environments.
Finances: The Payment Protection Program will keep many small businesses afloat. Most states fully reopened after initial shutdowns, but the rise of the Delta and introduction of Omnicron variants mean some areas are reimposing restrictions, reigniting concerns around cash flow and the survival of small businesses. With nearly 80% of small business owners expecting to survive the pandemic, government loan programs will prove critical, but alternate sources of funding will be key to keeping businesses funded in the long term.
Marketing: Social media reigns. With people spending, on average, more than 2 hours per day on social media channels, plan on them playing an increasingly crucial role in supporting small business growth: driving sales, providing customer service, and improving brand awareness. More than 1 in 3 online users say they go to social media when looking for more information about a brand or a product. Maintaining a strong online presence will be important when putting together your annual marketing plan. And, LinkedIn is on the rise (again). Some social media platforms (ahem, FB) are places of discontent and division, while LinkedIn’s business atmosphere means it’s a safe space for small businesses to connect with their audiences.
Digital Services: Businesses with virtual and digital services will continue to be in demand. While we were sequestered in our homes for a large part of the past 18-months, small businesses were figuring out how to provide their offerings online. Even things we didn’t expect to translate virtually: gym programming, therapy, conferences, doctors appointments, financial services, grocery shopping, and more. Continuing to offer virtual services, even with more people back ‘in the world’ means more opportunity to serve a greater audience. Prioritizing e-commerce could be the difference between sinking and swimming in 2022.
Hybrid Workplaces: Slack. Zoom. Asana. Microsoft Teams. These software programs are helping small businesses adapt to the wants and needs of today’s workforce; the hybrid workforce. Lots of businesses were able to move back into brick and mortar locations...but that doesn’t mean everyone wanted to. Offering hybrid work environments means keeping employees happy in 2022 and with the increase in productivity many employers saw while staff was WFH, who can complain. So hook up those collaborative platforms and be ready to embrace video conferences.
Small businesses have demonstrated their ability to persevere throughout one of the most unprecedented times in our history. Trends come and go, but COVID’s worldwide impact has impacted the market for years to come. Keep your eyes on the trends, be ready to pivot and embrace the digital revolution.