Small Business Trends To Look For In 2021

Some trends can be foreseen; others roar to the surface on their own. Who would have predicted last year that businesses would be social distancing with PPE? While there may be surprises again this year, it’s still important to look at what trends might reasonably be predicted. Doing so positions you to take advantage of potential opportunities and prepare for possible threats. Take a look at these small business trends predicted for 2021.

Online sales will continue to be important.

News of a COVID vaccine will likely bring back more in-store traffic. But until then, online sales will continue to be a compensating revenue source. A recent Bluehost survey reports 9 out of 10 business owners feel it’s vital to sell online. Over half of them have seen online traffic grow since COVID. It is possible that some may leverage their new-found online experience even after the pandemic, continuing to diversify their income stream.

Social media user reviews still matter.

Benetrends Financial reports 92% of consumers will not purchase your product if there isn’t a review online. So it’s important for small businesses to cultivate online reviews with customers, especially since it’s a low-cost marketing tool. They point to high-traffic sites like Yahoo!, Yelp or Google My Business as potential sources. Here’s a Google resource with ideas on how to manage your reviews.

Demand for tech-savvy business will continue.

JourneyPayoll reports more employees are working remotely, in both large and small businesses. As a result, the personal equipment used by staff at home isn’t necessarily uniform. That can create a variety of tech issues that need to be addressed. They predict a demand for small businesses specializing in computer repair and troubleshooting. That extends to software troubleshooting as well.

Gig work is growing.

Connecteam.com predicts the trend towards hiring independent (or gig) workers will continue to be popular. That’s attractive to small businesses who may not be able to hire permanent employees but need additional staff to grow their business. Since many independent contractors work from home, businesses don’t incur the costs of housing them onsite.

Going green needs promotion.

While consumers continue to be attracted to businesses that promote environmentally friendly practices, Small Business Trends says businesses will need to provide proof. Companies need to support their green claims with more numbers and information about how they’ve lowered their environmental footprint. Websites and social media channels can be an effective way to communicate that message.

Video conferences will account for a large portion of internet traffic.

In their infographic, Data Connectors projects video conferences, including web conferences, will account for 80% of all internet traffic in 2021. Besides alleviating pandemic health concerns, it also saves on travel costs for attendees. For small business owners, that makes professional development more accessible and affordable. You might be able to expand the training possibilities offered to your employees.

Voice recognition is developing.

If you’ve spoken with Alexa, Siri or Google lately you’re not alone. More than half of consumers used voice search to find information on local businesses. For small businesses, that means it will be more important to set up a voice presence online. The top three most common voice searches were for restaurants, grocery stores and food delivery. Here are five ways to optimize your website for voice search.

Digital payments are getting more popular.

FinanceOnline reports on a growing trend toward digital payment based on the rising popularity of PayPal, Google Pay and Apple Pay. However, there is some backlash against doing business totally cash free, especially in areas where people do not have access to digital platforms. Small businesses should look for the right digital tool while still accepting cash payments.

Business trends aren’t a guarantee of the future. But they help you better understand the external environment where you business operates. That’s why it’s important to consider trends like these as you plan for the future.