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Trends shaping small businesses in 2022

Living through unprecedented times has meant many changes and challenges for small businesses around the globe. People everywhere have found new obstacles, new ways to work, new places to work, new services to offer, all compounded by changes in consumer behaviours. Understanding emerging trends is essential for small businesses that want to be able to adapt and thrive in the upcoming year.

Why is it important to keep up with trends?

Being prepared is the key to success in any business. Today’s world requires agility and adaptability, and this means keeping up with trends and changes in consumer behaviour. One thing is for certain. The business world is constantly evolving and doing things the old way means that you could lose your competitive edge. Knowing what trends are emerging allows you to plan, strategise and put your business ahead of the curve. 

Here are some of the most important trends that small businesses need to be aware of in 2022.

  • Contactless transactions

One thing that has gained ground in the last year is the acceleration of cashless transactions. Contactless transactions allow for instantaneous payments from bank to bank, minimising paperwork, account receivable, and increasing cash flow. Consumers love the convenience of tap-and-go transactions, with hardware like Square, you can receive contactless payments instantly from anywhere.

  • Diversifying services

Many businesses have had to think outside the box and expand their offerings. Diversification is always a good business strategy, especially in a volatile economy. The easiest way to do this is to network with other businesses to see how both of you might be able to offer customers integrated solutions to their needs. An example of this is how law firms quickly adjusted to add online services in their service offering. It also meant many brick-and-mortar businesses expanded to offer their products and services online, contact-free, or virtually. Watch how Pacific-Trade Legal used this tactic to meet their customer’s needs.

  • Financial planning

As consumers became more accustomed to being at home rather than going out, their purchasing habits changed. They were not as willing to spend money as freely as before. This means that as a small business owner, it might be a good time for you to scale back, too. It might be a good time to do an audit on your operational expenses to eliminate as much waste as possible. It might also be a good time to optimise your cash flow so that it has a little extra cushion for unexpected circumstances like payment or product delays.

  • Supporting local

The disruption of global supply chains has taught us the value of shopping and finding local resources for the materials we need to stay in business. There has also been a greater movement in customers toward shopping local and supporting businesses that source their supplies locally, too. The pandemic taught us how fragile our globally connected supply chains are, and this is a good time to look into strengthening your local networks.

  • Focus on work and life balance

Another clear trend of the times is the readjustment of work/life balance. The demonstration that we are more productive when we can find a balance between work and play has never been so apparent. The shift to remote working has allowed many to get their work completed more efficiently and have more free time to do the things they enjoy. When many companies called their teams back into the office, they found that many workers were not so willing to give up the balance they found when working from home. The most successful companies in 2022 will be those that promote a healthy balance between work and other areas of life through flexible working hours and alternative arrangements.

  • Sustainable practices

Customers and employees are demanding that companies incorporate some form of sustainability and social responsibility into their business model. People want to feel good about the companies they do business with on a daily basis. The more you let people know about how your business promotes concern for the environment and community, the more you will be rewarded with loyal customers. Ask yourself as a business owner, do I dispose of waste in the most sustainable way? Do I recycle or re-purpose leftover material or products? Am I supporting or sourcing materials from eco-friendly brands?

Now you know some of the biggest trends hitting businesses this year. Companies that stay on top of trends will have a competitive advantage in the market. Especially over businesses who ignore industry trends and continue to do things as they have always in the past. To remain current and innovative, you must have your finger on the pulse. If you have not done so already, it is time to start thinking about how you will incorporate these trends into your 2022 business strategy.