In a year that still seems to be unsettled by new variants of Covid-19, business leaders should have their finger of the pulse of the future trends and challenges that you may encounter as a business owner in 2022. By understanding business trends for 2022 early it may help you to adjust your business operations and stay ahead of the curve.
Here’s our round-up of current business trends both for 2021 and into 2022.
8 key business trends for 2022
No matter how small your business or the sector you’re in, your commitment to sustainability can make a real difference to your business growth, to the planet, to your customers and your running costs.
With consumers becoming more conscious by opting for sustainable brands and governments adapting to net zero policymaking it’s critical that SME’s don’t get left behind.
Maybe it’s reducing energy consumption, water usage and waste, reducing your carbon footprint, going digital, sustainable procurement, or cutting vehicle use - as a business owner you need to consider your sustainability now and in the future.
Read our blog ‘How sustainability benefits your bottom line.’
Business start-ups and entrepreneurship rising
Many people were made redundant or re-evaluated what they wanted from life during the pandemic, and this led to many of them setting up their own businesses or becoming self-employed.
Analysis of Companies House data reveals that more than 340,500 businesses were registered in the UK between January and June 2021 and it’s likely that this will continue to rise with many people still considering the option of starting a business.
This may mean increased competition from new start-up companies and affect the recruitment market, with skilled employees leaving the employment market to go it alone.
Social media marketing
For many business owners, trying to run a business without some sort of social media presence is unbelievable.
The importance of social media for marketing will continue to increase in the years to come. An increasing number of businesses are also using social media influencers to market their products.
TikTok is one social platform that had been overlooked by many businesses until 2021 when the platform truly took off.
Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest continue to develop functionality for businesses to promote and sell online and now allow businesses to tag their products in posts.
LinkedIn continues to grow and develop as an online B2B community and marketing platform.
Social media selling, social media advertising and influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2022.
Flexible working /hybrid working
There are many companies that can’t allow their staff to work from home but those that can, there are still employers who do not trust their staff to be as productive working from home, as in the office.
There are still employers who are choosing not to adapt to hybrid, remote work or flexible working and for those that don’t adapt, the consequence may be a lack of staff motivation, a drop in productivity and losing staff altogether to competitors that offer hybrid working. More and more employees expect to be offered some sort of flexible work.
Flexibility around remote working including how, where, and when people work is no longer a differentiator, it’s a must for many people to retain staff. It could aid productivity and also the mental health of your staff, if you dont offer it, then it may affect employee experience and employee turnover.
There is no doubt that with the job market being buoyant, many employees having re-evaluated their lives and the demand for hybrid working, employee turnover will continue to increase.
Employers that don’t offer flexibility, employee wellness programmes and great reward packages will potentially see increased turnover as employees move to roles that offer packages that better aligns with individuals needs and wishes.
Many companies introduced or placed renewed focus on employee wellness support in the wake of the pandemic. In 2022, employee wellness will continue to be high on the agenda for many companies. Whether its remote work, human connections, wellness programmes or better work life balance, finding out what your employees need is key. Focusing on employee wellness can help with higher levels of staff performance and retention.
So, 2022 should be the year that you continue to focus on or adopt new employee well-being measures.
While cryptocurrencies shouldn’t be ignored, as a small business it may be worth biding your time. These currencies may represent an opportunity, but they also carry some risk.
Whilst they may not change anything substantial in the world of small business in the very near future, it’s worth understanding that things can and will change. So, keep up with changes with crypto and companies that may be offering payment by crypto. It’s predicted by many that in 2022, cryptocurrency will become more widely accepted as a payment source. So, if you run and e-commerce store, then it’s definitely keeping up with all the latest news as cryptocurrency may well be the future of the world of payments.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is no longer just part of the virtual reality world. Artificial intelligence is impacting the business world. Think of it in the sense of instead of performing every task manually, companies automate their systems instead. The result can be greater efficiencies, fewer errors and greater profits.
Whether it’s installing a chatbot on your e-commerce site, scheduling marketing, scheduling staff, monitoring product quality, or cyber security, AI could be useful to your business. Business owners need to have a grip on emerging technologies and technological advances for their business.
The world and business conditions can change overnight as we know post pandemic. But still many business trends are ignored by business owners. These trends are not just for larger companies but SME business owners need to keep an eye on the trends happening.
If the pandemic taught everyone one thing, it’s be prepared for the unexpected and stay ahead of emerging trends. So, rather than wait for the trend to hit and your competitors take early advantage, staying ahead of these trends and considering them in the context of your own business may be critical to get or retain competitive advantage. Whatever the business trend, whether its sustainability, remote working, social media marketing or technology, forward thinking businesses that stay one step ahead and adopt these trends early will often be the most successful businesses.
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