9 Small Business Trends to Watch in 2021
Small businesses have changed dramatically in the last year.
Delivery of products and services has shifted towards methods like contactless delivery and e-commerce. Workforces have gone remote and may remain that way. And of course, some small businesses have closed or consolidated for good.
All of these changes should lead to some interesting trends to watch in the year ahead. What are some of those trends?
We asked Tempe Chamber of Commerce members and business leaders to share their insights on what small business trends they’ll be watching. Here are some of the top trends to keep tabs on as the year progresses.
Reopening of Closed Businesses
A small business trend to watch in 2021 is the reopening of closed businesses. 2020 took so many small businesses and only the strong survived. It will be interesting to see which if any return.
John Skelton, Owner of Senior Helpers
The people trends. Will businesses decide to keep workforces remote, or will they start returning them to the office? And, what solutions will need to be implemented to ensure the best experience for their customers and employees in the future?
Nicole Spracale, Coaching & Consulting
It was already increasing every year but 2020 accelerated that growth significantly. Like it or not, business will continue to be done online and an amazing customer experience will be a necessity for anyone starting a small business and any current business that wants to stay relevant.
Peter Adams, Owner and CTO of Ping! Development
Adoption of eCommerce Sales
One trend to watch for 2021 is the adoption of more e-commerce sales. It will likely not decrease, so if your business is not set up to sell online be sure to make the investment. This can include both services and sales and many steps of the sales process can be self-service or automated. Make sure to have return and shipping policies clearly outlined for customers.
Jacy Smith, Business Development Specialist, Perimeter83
Accessibility To Enterprise Level Tools
Small businesses ’ needs seem to have emerged as a major priority to enterprises. Microsoft for Startups helps B2B startups scale. Google for Startups helps small businesses do everything from increasing productivity to implementing machine learning. Oracle for Startups helps small businesses move to the cloud. Suddenly, the attention of small business owners is in high demand. As a result, I’d like to believe that launching and scaling a business will be easier for first-time entrepreneurs. Besides the accessibility to enterprise tools, I’d also expect a lot more marketing and unsolicited sales calls targeting small business owners.
Brett Farmiloe, CEO and Founder of Markitors
Not every organization will survive in 2020. It's likely the market will be flush with amazing talent, including disruptors and innovators. Where will they go? What will they do? What are the "stronger together" opportunities and how do we get in front of them?
Brian Stinson, Co-Founder of The PEAK Fleet
The Move to Mobile
Mobile business will dominate leading into 2021 and beyond. By the end of 2021, mobile devices are expected to make almost 73% of total e-commerce sales. Small businesses have to keep up with larger corporations that are doing it right. It’s not enough to just have a website anymore, that website should be mobile-friendly, with the ability to purchase or fill out a contact directly from the user's phone. You can always conduct a Google Mobile-Friendly Test to make sure your site is ready to compete in 2021.
Ryan Nouis, Founder of TruPath
Clients Are More Than Transactions
I will be looking for a trend of increased recognition that customers, clients, etc. are more than just transactions. This is especially important for small businesses and for nonprofit organizations - as repeat customers/donors, as well as word of mouth, are critical (and most cost-effective and efficient) for both growth and sustainability. But building genuine and meaningful relationships that create loyalty takes intention and time on behalf of the business owner or organization. Those that will successfully navigate the COVID-19 economic pitfalls best are the ones who have always understood that a return on relationships is the key driver for successfully achieving a return on investments.
Michele M Rebeor, Consulting, LLC
The Rise of Telecommunicating
The trend I will be watching here in Arizona is more adoption of telecommuting and remote work environments. Most large organizations have been forced to adopt this but you’ll see more small businesses move to this model and it becomes a more permanent setup for that organization.
Mark Smith, Program Chair at UAT
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