2021 Small Business Trends | Up and to the Right | Episode 060
Is it click bait?
To be fair, click bait isn't my plan. In fact, I think it's important that we separate the small business trends for 2021 that matter to us as owners from the 'trends' over which we have no agency, no resources to follow or that simply don't apply.
Let's figure out which windmill to chase!
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What's here for You?
There are always predictions for the new year. 2021 is no exception. There are also always a discussion of 'trends' that go with a new year as well. In this episode I am breaking down some of what people are promoting as trends for 2021 and helping distinguish between what is relevant to small business and what you can ignore.
2021 Small Business Trends
Here are the 5 business trends for 2021 that will be both relevant to and actionable for small business.
- Alternative Payment Options
- Remote Work
- Virtual Services
- Technological Disruption
If you're thinking that E-Commerce isn't unique or new to 2021 you're right. What is important is that many small business owners have had to embrace e-commerce that might not otherwise have done so due to the COVID19 pandemic.
This means that not only is there more information (and products/services) to support small business owners as they implement e-commerce solutions but there is also a growing expectation on the part of customers.
Alternative Payment Options
Not too long ago the only payment options we really had to worry about were cash, check and credit card. Now we have Venmo, Paypal and a wide variety of other peer to peer type payment solutions that customers may be able to use. This is especially true for service providers that work on a customer's location or in locations where neither the customer nor the vendor have a permanent presence such as flea markets.
Working remotely hasn't always been something small business owners have considered. With the onset of COVID19 we had to all look at new ways to get things done whether we liked it or not.
We coined new phrases like "Zoom fatigue" and created memes about not wearing pants (please wear pants when you're on a web call).
We also learned that the economy didn't collapse when we allowed, promoted or encouraged working from home for those who can. Working from home may not be ideal for every situation; however, it has shown many of us options that we otherwise might not have considered.
As we pushed to find new ways to access and serve our customers the 'virtual' world became a viable and, sometimes, the only way we could do so. Doctors, consultants, teachers and many others all had to learn how to adapt to providing the best services possible without being in-person. This may mean modifying our processes to ensure that we have as much information as possible since we cannot be 'on location' ourselves.
Our ability to successfully integrate virtual services can allow us to expand our geographic reach to new customers, reduce travel costs and even provide different service types or levels of service that we hadn't previously considered.
You might think that 'technological disruption' sounds like it's for companies with investors, boundless resources and deep pockets. Small companies have a huge advantage when it comes to market disruption whether it's through technology or other innovations. We can move fast; we have fewer hearts and minds to change and we aren't bogged down by bureaucracy that must be overcome or waded through.
Disruption isn't just about some new gadget that takes huge financial and engineering resources to come up with. Disruption is about looking at what customers really want or need and finding a better way to deliver that.
Small business owners like you can disrupt the market too!
Let's Get Practical
There are a lot of people referring to this idea of getting 'back to normal' and I agree that not having to constantly have the threat of the pandemic will be a welcome 'normal'. However, we've learned a lot about new sales channels, payment options, working conditions.
I hope we return to normal with an array of new business ideas and practices that make us more successful even when in-person business is more common.