Given what the past couple of years has looked like for small businesses, not to mention the surge of COVID cases in light of Omicron, it’s no wonder that entrepreneurs are a bit nervous going into 2022. Will this new year be any better? Is there good news on the horizon as far as small businesses are concerned?
In this article, we look at some of the more pronounced small business trends that seem to be taking shape as we gradually move into 2022. You might be surprised at the underlying optimism inherent in this list.
1) The Emergence of More Start-ups
We saw the entrepreneurial spirit during the pandemic, particularly in 2021, that will keep going strong in 2022. People are coming up with creative ways to address everyday issues, and as a result, more and more start-ups are emerging around the globe. This trend is poised to continue into 2022. People who previously just dreamed of owning their own business made it happen during the past two years. 2022 promises to be even more significant in terms of start-up activity.
2) More of a Shift to Online
Many businesses have already started or are in the midst of a comprehensive shift to online selling. This pivot to eCommerce and online selling will continue into 2022. As technology advances, smaller businesses will look for digital ways to reach and engage customers. An increasing number of small businesses will also begin to incorporate apps into their overall platform, making it easier than ever for consumers to access their products/services.
3) Adoption of New Employee Retention Practices
Labor shortages abounded in 2021, and this trend continues into 2022. This means that companies will have to find new strategies for retaining good employees. This could mean everything from beefing up benefits packages to offering higher salaries to being more flexible when people can work from home. This brings us to…
4) More Flexible Work Policies
This means that we will see more and more businesses allow people to work from home more often. During the early days of the pandemic, people had no choice but to work remotely. As staff starts going back into the office, people find that perhaps they were more productive (not to mention happier) working from home. Bosses see frustration levels rise as employees long to go back to work at home. This will inevitably lead to flexible work policies that allow for a mix of in-office and at-home work schedules.
5) Focus on Mental Health
For both the boss and the employees, this is critical. The past couple of years has affected mental health across the board. And business owners have been discovering that it is becoming increasingly important to address any such issues early on. Programs to enhance employee well-being are now more consistently implemented in today’s workplaces. Bosses are becoming more like coaches and mentors to help those struggling. This trend will continue well into the new year.
6) Emphasis on Virtual and Online Events
Especially in the early parts of 2022, as Omicron rages on, events will shift online. Virtual conferences and seminars will become the norm throughout the world. The benefit here is twofold: people stay safe and thus help prevent the spread but also, businesses save on the overhead associated with traveling to conferences. Given the economic situation for many small businesses, this is an advantageous trend.
7) The Prevalence of Freelance and Gig Workers
Not only are freelance workers less expensive as you do not have to pay benefits, insurance, and taxes on them, but they are also experts in their field. Meaning, versus trying to get an in-house worker to perform a task that may be outside the scope of their purview, you can hire a specialist and save money in the long run. In part, you can attribute the growth of gig workers to the pandemic, although it is a trend taking hold before the events of 2020.
First Union Lending Has Your Back
We are here for America’s small businesses as they struggle to make it through what is undoubtedly a difficult time. We want to see you not only survive but come back even stronger than before when all is said and done. We offer short-term loans, lines of credit, and SBA loans, among other products. Even if your credit is less than stellar, we likely still have a financing option for you. Call today, and let’s get started together!