As at the end of last year, there were 30.7 million small businesses in the United States. So far, these are the latest statistics and we can only estimate how many of them have been closed because of the lockdown, but you can’t deny that the number is impressively large. To stay afloat, they need to be highly dynamic. Something needs to be changed, something needs to be added, something needs to be taken away – just as any living organism works.
Let’s discover 10 trends for small business in 2021 and what to implement for making small business more profitable.
1. Maximum Attention to Client’s Feedback
Checking reviews and feedback is the first step we make when buying goods. According to Fan&Fuel, about 92% of potential buyers will put buying a product online under the question if it doesn’t have feedback. 92%! It’s easy to conclude that a 4-5 stars rating based on a solid number of reviews greatly simplifies everything for the business owner.
For small businesses, this is also a great opportunity to save on marketing activities that usually are quite expensive. And even if marketing tools are correctly implemented, working with feedback is an important part of the entire strategy. When real (and only real!) people recommend your products or services and advocate for your business, that’s the best thing that could happen to it.
2. Mobile Employee Communication
The primary means of communication between employees are their smartphones. Millennials, the first digitally native generation, now make up over 50% of the entire workforce and until 2025 it forecast them to comprise 75% of the global workforce. This is the generation that focuses on quick reactions and responses, on adapting to changing circumstances and resolving the maximum of their requests via smartphones.
They live and breathe with phones, so will see your email instantly. They will get a notification about you adding a new meeting to a shared calendar as soon as you click Admit and will respond at the speed of light.
It is also worth noting that using applications for internal management, calendars and documents with open access and general chats allows you to avoid misunderstandings and to keep everyone updated. That’s essential for small businesses, where people usually work as a one-man-band.
3. A Possibility of Remote Work
After the quarantine, the main number of people will go back to their offices, but an impressively high percentage of specialists in various fields say that they’d like to have the option of remote work in the future. These are mostly young people who live alone or with their partners and don’t face many distractions while working from home.
Advantages of remote work are huge, but for small businesses, it also means saving some (or a lot of) money on organizing the workplace. If you properly adjust what’s been said in the previous paragraph, you can avoid the need to pay for the office, equipment, arranging space and so on. Sometimes it’s better to invest these funds in business development or employee motivation.
And again, most workers are or will be millennials – the generation that travels the most and changes their place of residence just for getting new experience. Therefore, being able to grab a laptop and travel for a few weeks or months to another country without losing your job is an excellent option for them. Otherwise, they will just find another job.
Given the realities of 2020, not to implement an option of remote work – is to doom your business to terrible consequences.
4. Gig Work Is Growing
36% of working people in the United States work in the gig economy. This is proved by Small Business Labs, Gallup, International Labour Organization and Statista, and we can easily notice how this percentage has increased when remote work has become a trend. Without the need to spend 6-9 hours at the office, it’s easier for people to combine gig work with their main full- or part-time job. What does it mean for small businesses? That you can hire a needed person temporarily and get your tasks done without going through hell while trying to find a permanent employee you can’t even afford.
5. Go Green
It’s been proved that young people care much more about their health and environment now than they used to 20 or 30 years ago. All kinds of sorting and recycling processes, eco-packaging, rational use of products, the trend for organic and healthy food, reducing emissions – that’s what worries the vast majority of both employees and consumers.
Studies also prove that customers prefer eco-friendly brands and be sure, it’s not only about big companies. The eco-friendly position creates a positive reputation for small business, can be another marketing tool and, last but not least, is a responsible behaviour which is always appreciated.
6. Make Your Employees Happy
You can’t just equip someone with a desk, a chair, a laptop with an Internet connection, to say “good luck” and expect a positive outcome. People love to be loved and it’s important to feel important.
We are now talking not only about Halloween and New Year parties or branded gifts. Corporate culture, the ability to combine work and private life, feeling yourself a part of a real team, not just a group of people that work together – you can’t imagine a healthy and happy atmosphere at your office without these things. There also is a clear correlation between satisfied employees and business results:
“Because unemployment is at historic lows, keeping employees engaged and happy is critical to retaining good people. Keeping them happier at work … boosts productivity 10 to 25 percent.”
– Scott Crabtree, Chief Happiness Officer at Happy Brain Science
An unemployment rate is at 50-year low now. That’s a time when businesses are fighting for an outstanding employee than vice versa. Getting a great specialist for your team is a piece of huge luck and a wise investment. But if this specialist will feel uncomfortable at work, they will leave. And a higher salary won’t make them stay.
7. It’s Not Only About the Benjamins Anymore
People are no longer looking for a job only for making money. They are looking for experience. It’s important to study while working, to improve yourself, to broaden your mind and to become a better specialist with every new task.
“Where baby boomers were once settled and happy with working for a paycheque and being singled out for thanks maybe once a year or after a major years-of-service milestone, millennials are after something more. More instant gratification, more job purpose and even organisational values that fit seamlessly with their personal viewpoints.
But one of the big misconceptions about millennials is that they desire after-work socials, ping-pong tables and free coffee machines, when in fact what is desired is an environment where they can learn and thrive.”
– Arthur Wilson, Marketing Manager at Workstars
8. Go to E-commerce
Statista reports that the global E-commerce market will grow to about 5 trillion dollars over the next four years. It means that tons of retailers will move to online stores and marketplaces, and now it’s high time for your business to move in this direction. If you haven’t done it yet, think about creating and promoting your business profile on social media, look for good places for warehouse/-s, think about packaging and posting your products, etc.
This is the most important thing for small businesses to do when brick-and-mortar facilities are in such a precarious position.
9. You Need Something With a Personal Touch
What you can see first when you open your homepage on Amazon? Correct, the list of recommended products based on your previous purchases. It’s convenient and gives you a slight feeling that someone really cares about you, offering you exactly what you may need. It also gives you a chance to spend less time and more money every time you visit this page 😉
Garner provides very interesting information: personal recommendations for each user increase business revenue by up to 15%. Obviously, instead of showing users dozens of things they don’t need, it’s much better to show them a few, but those which they are more likely to buy. The section on Amazon that recommends similar products accounts for 35% of their total sales.
10. Generation Z is Entering the Workforce
We’ve mentioned millennials a few times in this article but now let’s talk about the next generation that is already getting a job, looking for trainee positions while graduating from universities and trying to absorb all possible skills – Z. There is a great chance that your small business will become their first working place, so it’s essential for you to take into account their lifestyle and aspiration.
Let’s also look from another side – over 40% of all consumers are Zs, and this number will be increasing. Figure out how to make your business Z-oriented and then start searching for a big bag to put the money in.
The Bottom Line
2020 is finally over. No one can call it the easy year, but some conclusions can and should be drawn. Adding these trends into your strategy will definitely help your business to stay afloat and keep it ahead of the competition.