We are a few months into the year 2021, but anxieties still run high as the world economy is still struggling to keep its pace. Many major businesses were either forced to closed or to halt operations, not knowing when they will be able to return. Large companies have taken action such as downsizing or merging to guarantee their survival, and often the results are a mixed bag.
But for small businesses, the response time needed to address the situation is even shorter. Start-up companies are struggled to survive throughout 2020, and those that did survive found it difficult to flourish. However, as time moves on and we learn more about our current situations, trends and solutions are slowly coming up, potentially providing answers to common problems.
Here are some small business trends this 2021 that you need to know:
E-Commerce is Here to Stay
As the world persists through a global pandemic, the economy is still struggling to recover. Many companies, unfortunately, did not make it through the initial wave, being forced to close down as they cannot cope with the sudden change in demands. Namely, the change is the shift from a less physical mode of business to a more online one.
While e-commerce has been on the steady rise before the world-wide pandemic, more businesses are taking advantage of e-commerce as their customers shift their preference towards it too. Businesses will do well to keep this in mind, utilizing platforms such as online shops and virtual presence to bolster your business.
Financial Technology Will Play an Even Bigger Role
Of course, with e-commerce taking precedence, the very thing that makes it possible will be even more in the centerfold. Financial technology has improved considerably over the past few years, now allowing online transactions safely and securely. Online banking, virtual wallets, and other no-contact modes of payment are expected to become more popular than ever before, as cash becomes the less preferred mode of transaction. Many retailers have already implemented contact-less transactions, and as financial technology develops even further to make the experience consistent, the more it will be necessary for all types of business.
Work-from-Home is Here to Stay Too
One of the interesting changes the quarantine has brought is the adaption of the work-from-home format. While remote working is by no means a new concept, many businesses have long eschewed it in favor of face-to-face work. This was done in the belief that remote working is a less efficient format, but the current situation has proven otherwise. Businesses can indeed function to their full capacity even with their entire staff working remotely so long as means of cooperation and collaboration are in place. Experts predict that even after the pandemic, many businesses will keep remote working as an option as it proves to be productive while costing less.
Physical Stores Are Still Necessary
Small businesses with brick and mortar shops need not worry about having their newly-installed roof or the freshly-painted walls since physical stores did not reduce their importance. As many experts are predicting, companies that kept their stores open throughout the pandemic are expected to see a surge in customers once quarantine rules have been lifted. As the world slowly begins to open up and vaccines are being developed, a sudden spike in on-site activity is projected to happen, signaling physical stores to remain open to meet the future demand.
Social Media Marketing is Now the Focus
Formerly, marketing budgets are mostly relegated to physical media: posters, billboards, ad placements on the television, or even event-sponsorship. However, with ever-increasing online citizenship, many businesses are seeing more value in online marketing, specifically social media marketing. Small businesses with a niche audience, or even those whose target demographic is largely online, will do much better with allotting their efforts and resources to social media marketing as it is the platform that can turn more leads into actual paying customers.
Even Small Businesses Need to Care About Social Responsibility
Society is constantly evolving, and part of its growth and evolution is an increased awareness of social issues that plague the community. From ethical issues such as labor practices and fair-pay to environmental issues such as sustainable production and climate-friendly manufacturing, consumers are more aware and demand better from the companies they patronize.
Many small businesses are considering the growing social awareness of the market, making efforts to ensure fair practices in their operations. Interestingly, this has resulted in better sales margins, employee morale, and overall success for a company, proving that social responsibility is indeed something that even small businesses need to keep in mind.