2021 predictions for small businesses
Small businesses have been placed under increased pressure this year. COVID-19 has created a number of changes across communities, and moving forward these changes could continue well into the future, transforming the way businesses and employees interact within the workplace and how businesses market to customers.
As habits, behaviours and attitudes of consumers have changed in 2020, small businesses need to align and implement new, innovative strategies moving forward.
1. Online activity
2020 triggered a mass move to online for small businesses and will be one of the biggest business trends continued in 2021. During lockdown, 58% of customer spend happened online and online marketing was businesses main strategy for getting through the pandemic. This has trained consumers to shop online and e-commerce, websites and social platforms will continue to be important for brands to maintain relationships and relevance.
2. Empathetic businesses
Customers are looking for more than just quality products and services after the uncertainty of 2020. 93% of Australians surveyed would trust a business, buy more, and/or recommend it to family and friends if it demonstrated compassion and empathy. This could include having rules in place to protect customers and a clear business purpose with core values. As well as figuring out the customers’ needs and trying to connect rather than try to push a product onto them.
3. Demand for discounts
Many Australians reduced their spending due to the economic impact of COVID-19, and it has fuelled a bigger demand for discounts. More than a quarter of Australians now shop for items when on sale, compared to just 16% in 2019. With a decrease in household income around Australia, many are becoming thrifty shoppers, and will expect more sales will be on offer in 2021.
4. Strengthened communication strategy
Two-way communication has increased, and businesses will need to participate with their readers. No longer is a website a static brochure – readers engage, ask questions, and leave reviews on a business’s digital platforms. In 2021, those that develop a strong communication strategy through their digital interactions will strengthen their brand’s reputation. White Pages Connect can help you stay on top of your social media, apps and directory listings, letting you centrally monitor reviews and information.
5. Business continuity plans
Having plans in place for unforeseen events will be valued more to enable pivoting and resilience. Those that were able to implement new business ideas and be flexible in 2020 were able to flourish – being able to add an online shop, offer delivery, set up remote working, or accept new types of digital payments.
Rainy day funds are also going to bulk up in 2021. Having a cash cushion this year meant the difference between survival and closure in some instances. It helped businesses ride out the drop in sales. 2020 reminded us that it’s important to have a contingency plan
6. Remote working
Remote working is nothing new, but 2020 has proved to those still skeptical that we can work remotely and still be productive. This year, businesses who already ran online systems did better through the economic upheaval. So, going into 2021, employers are more likely to offer additional flexibility – permitting employees to have more say over the hours they come into work each day, as well as moving away from the typical 9-5 to foster a work-life integration.
Small businesses were faced with a massive hurdle this year, and these strategies helped businesses stay agile and resilient, so it’s likely they’ll stick around for 2021. Make sure to add White Pages Connect to your business arsenal – a simple tool enabling you to keep on top of these online strategies with one click.