A new year always brings a chance to reflect on what was and look ahead to what’s coming. The last few years have proved this common saying to be true: “the only thing constant in life is change.” Small businesses know this better than anyone.
It’s important for small businesses to stay on top of emerging business trends. This can help you future-proof your operations, create contingency plans, and get ahead of the curve.
Here are some of the top small business trends in 2022 and what they mean for owners and operators:
Small Business Trends in 2022
1. Hybrid and Remote Work
Work from home (WFH) is no longer a novelty. A lot of employees have come to love the flexibility in their schedules. And employers love the reduced costs and flexible teams—it’s a win-win for many companies.
Employers will need to keep thinking of creative solutions for communication and team bonding while working remotely. Coworking spaces are a great option for companies and organizations that are embracing remote teamwork and flexible workspaces.
2. Focus on Soft Skills
With more communication taking place virtually, there will be a continued emphasis on soft skills. This includes communication, active listening, and relationship-building. Employees are looking for connection and community as well as clear priorities and guidelines. Soft skills can help create a smooth, collaborative, and enjoyable workplace. Leaders will especially need to develop these skills to succeed in the new normal.
3. Businesses Aligned with Social Causes
The pandemic has forced many people to think about their priorities and what’s important in life. This, combined with recent social movements, has led employees to look for companies that align with their own values. For example, many employees seek out companies that prioritize DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives.
4. Increased Automation and Technology
We were already a pretty tech-reliant society before the pandemic, but things have dramatically picked up in recent years! Now, small businesses have had to pivot to online operations and prioritize user-friendly technology and remote operations.
Increased use of technology is a small business trend that requires an investment of both time and money to stay current.
5. Prioritized Employee Engagement
The Great Resignation has led to high turnover and staffing shortages in many industries. This means that there is a demand for talent and employers need to start adapting. To both recruit and retain top talent, companies need to prioritize employee engagement. This small business trend means that work-life balance and benefits need to be top-of-mind.
6. Contingency Planning
Small businesses have become good at pivoting and adjusting their operations in the midst of uncertainty. This kind of contingency planning is a small business trend that will help for years to come. Investing in flexible, agile processes and systems will help small businesses continue to adapt to an ever-changing environment.
Now What? Implications for Small Businesses
Given these small business trends, here are a few tips for owners and leaders:
- Focus on the employee experience. It’s tough to recruit and retain top talent, so focus on making them happy and facilitating work-life balance. It might be time to try something bold like the 4-day workweek!
- Embrace technology. The technological leaps and bounds we made over the last few years (think: Zoom) is here to stay. Embrace it and invest in updating your systems and programs.
- Plan, plan, plan… but be flexible. Change will always come! So, create your contingency plans to prepare for the worst, but stay flexible and agile.
More small business trends will emerge throughout the year. It’s a good idea to keep up with industry-specific information and trends to inform your decision-making.
Looking for a professional, flexible workspace for your small business or remote team? Get in touch today.