As the world recovers from the pandemic, small businesses are gearing up to reorient themselves to get back on track. With the pandemic not entirely out of the way and a subsequent 4th wave on the anvil, let us look at some key action points and Business Trends in 2022 that will help businesses stay afloat and flourish, beating the odds the pandemic brought in its wave.
What and how do they prioritize? What are the trends in 2022 that could lend a fresh wind beneath our sails.
Focus on the customer – offer above par customer service
“Customer is the KING” this statement has never been more true. The customer drives your business. Going ahead, building memorable experiences for the customer will become a priority. Authenticity aids in promoting and nurturing customer relationships. Empathy, compassion, humility, trust, and honesty will go a long way in sealing the customer for your business in 2022 and beyond. In short, it is the acquisition and retention of customers in one breath. Companies need to invest in enhancing customer experience. Anticipating customer preferences and adapting their systems and processes to ease customer decision-making and buying experience will keep businesses right on top of the curve. Retailers who will provide real-time product details and shipping information proactively using technology will more likely succeed in this new age. Omnichannel is the way forward; customers today demand and expect a seamless experience across channels. Whatever be the nature of the business, customer-centricity will be the key.
Embrace Digital – systems / processes/ channels/ communication
The capacity to use and leverage digital and cloud technologies will decide the success in the next decade. With digital marketing, small businesses will be able to market their products and services better and more efficiently. Online marketplaces show the way. Brick-and-mortar operation notwithstanding, small business trends indicate that online sales remain the key to growth.
Social media influencer marketing will boost small businesses’ online presence. The Global Web Index says that 37% of consumers use social media platforms to look up products and companies. Endorsements by using influencer marketing and being relevant will help boost growth for small businesses.
A dynamic, solid, ever-evolving online strategy and presence will be essential. Meanwhile, broadening the reach to social media platforms and big online shopping websites such as Amazon, Flipkart etc., will put these businesses in touch with their potential consumers. Hyperlocal businesses promise to do well in 2022 and beyond. E.g. Urban Company
2022 will witness the adoption of technological innovations like IoT, machine learning, and AI for efficiency and speed by MSMEs and SMEs. SaaS solutions would also see a flip in their adoption by businesses across various functions such as managing remote employees, enhancing the overall customer experience, or automating workflow processes. Simply put, SaaS solutions adoption would mean boosting productivity and getting more done. For SMEs, vertical Saas could present an untapped opportunity to exploit for growth in 2022.
As an aid for better customer service, technology will be a big part of businesses—for instance, processing customer inquiries. For MSMEs and SMEs hiring thousands of customer service agents is not a practical solution. Chatbots in such scenarios come to the rescue, simplifying and facilitating customer service and inquiries. Investment in the cloud and digital technologies will be a must for small businesses to harness growth. For example, Xero offers small businesses ease of managing their finances from any location.
Technology today plays a pivotal role in enabling communication within the organization. With the new normal of work from home and hybrid teams, this will continue to be a focus. For instance, applications and tools such as video conferencing software and messaging platforms will continue to boom.
Data can point the way to new opportunities. It requires data to be processed, analyzed strategically, and actioned in real-time for this to happen. A report by NASSCOM reveals that the growing adoption of big data, analytics, and artificial intelligence will boost India’s cloud market to USD 7 billion by 2022. Businesses particularly need to stay agile on data security. In 2021, cyberattacks increased significantly. In 2022, organizations will need to continue to arm themselves against cyber threats and remain focused on the zero trust model.
If used right, technology will be a key contributor in providing impetus to the expansion of SMEs.
Explore the world – go global
2022 is a year when companies can outsource anything. Global integration will be the pivot on which companies will need to collaborate to handle critical business challenges. In the future close partnerships with other organizations will be the way to succeed in every business sector, as against operating in silos. This will entail partnerships across the supply chain, data integration, information sharing in real-time, and cooperation with competitors. As they steer their business towards growth entrepreneurs need to take note and stay ahead of these trends. Competition is unavoidable, but the most effective way to get ahead would be to collaborate and engage globally with like-minded people. While focusing on local markets, companies need to watch what is happening globally to see if there is an opportunity where their offerings provide the perfect answer.
Embrace the “gig” economy/hybrid
Freelancers, often called gig workers, will make up a considerable chunk of the workforce in 2022. The new normal’s changes have had many companies relook at their hiring policies. With COVID calling for severe cost-cutting, which had many companies diluting many a full-time job, laying bare the opportunity for gig workers to help fill the gap. This trend promises to stay, making the gig economy a vital part of a company’s HR policy. However, employee engagement will continue to remain important through strong employee experience to create a good work environment for everyone. Experts predict that full-time employees will soon end as contractual hiring will become the norm. Hybrid work models, a fallout of the New Normal, are here to stay. Managing a hybrid work model has become easier thanks to cloud technology, making business agile, scalable, and more efficient and collaborative. This will make integrating the gig economy into the company framework easier.
Networking is a powerful tool to scale up or even build businesses. Small business owners collaborating with other business owners can hone their strategies. Networking helps gain business lead referrals, gain new market perspectives, and gain immensely from other people’s experiences. Forging new relationships is essential to facilitate growth and inspire each other this requires active networking and collaboration.
Small businesses should augment their plans and strategies by mingling and connecting with other companies. Working alone in silos is a thing of the past. Participating in and associating with business forums is the way to do this effectively.
The last two years were all about being resilient and patient. 2022 is all about being agile and receptive, looking sharp, and embracing change.
It is a year for organizations to become adept and thus adapt to new ways.
Are you Ready to Grow?