If 2020 had been a year of transition and also disruption for small businesses, 2021 would likely be continued evolution. Vito Proietti says are some innovative business trends for small businesses to expect this year and also in the near future.
Small Business Trends for 2021 to watch out for according to Vito Proietti
. Remote Work to Continue
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, the year 2020 experienced a steep increase in remote workers. Most businesses in the new paradigm have figured out ways of successfully running their companies. Owing to this, this model is likely to stay after the pandemic and beyond. Regarding communication and collaboration, remote work may be challenging, but remote workers appreciate the flexibility to work from home. Besides, remote work indicates fewer overhead costs. Without the need to pay for office space, one can build up his organization savings or reinvest in their business. One can do this by upgrading software or boosting their digital marketing.
. Prioritize Shopping Small
A key trend since the outbreak is the drive of customers to support local economic and small businesses according to Vito Proietti. Posts witnessing countless local establishments closing their doors or struggling in 2020, most customers have changed their priorities. Now more than 60% of consumers prefer to purchase from small businesses over large corporations. Consumers have recognized their ability to shift their local economies in cities, counties, and states. To capitalize on this trend for business owners need to invest in local community and marketing growth. Besides boosting one’s social media presence with campaigns and local hashtags, one must consider donating to local causes or participating in virtual community fundraisers and events.
. Digitizations to Accelerate
Most businesses were forced to digitize their services and operations during the pandemic to accommodate customers. This bar is likely to get higher in 2021, says Vito Proietti. To pivot online no longer remains a good idea. Instead, it has become essential. Along with customers expecting businesses to have a higher presence online in 2021, they also look forward to a seamless digital experience. Creating a convenient experience for customers is vital in operating with the digital-first mentality and offer options. Resting on one’s industry and business, they can
(a) Offer virtual services
(b) Create self-service account portals
(c) Develop apps for their business
(d) Create mobile-friendly websites
(e) Expand customer service help beyond phone calls
(f) Add online scheduling systems to their business’s website
(g) Expand in-person payment choices to entail digital wallets such as ApplePay
(h) Build e-commerce platforms for their products
(i) Add customer service chatbots to their site
(j) Offer in-store &curbside pickup
(k) Offer contactless delivery and mobile ordering
. Empathy and Compassion
Following the uncertainty and stress of 2020, customers search for more than quality services and products from businesses and empathy and compassion. If one’s brand lacks purpose, vision, and empathy, consumers will fail to resonate with their goals and start looking for competitors actively. Customers will be five times more likely to purchase from and recommend a business with an identifiable, strong purpose.
A business’s purpose includes its business practices, core values, support for a social cause, and customer service philosophy. To create brand loyalty and also build trust, one needs to connect with their customer’s minds and hearts. Customer connection is indeed the only way future small businesses will thrive and survive. For this, one needs to tailor their services or products, re-examine their customer service policies, or utilize a compassionate voice in their marketing materials.
Apart from these, small business owners should shift their financial focus to profitability from growth.