Top 3 Trends to Include in Your 2022 Small Business Strategy

Small business owners and entrepreneurs who have had to adjust and pivot over the past few years may now be wondering what's in store for 2022.

While economic recovery is underway, the new COVID-19 variants, record-high inflation, supply chain shortages, and ongoing staffing issues threaten progress.

A Resilient Plan to Help Businesses Be Better Prepared

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Monthly Economic Report for November, 37 percent of small business owners expected better business conditions over the next six months – a four-point drop. Nearly half of them also reported unfilled job openings.

Faced with a significant amount of uncertainty, where does that leave small businesses?

A resilient business plan is one of the most effective ways businesses can stay ahead. By adapting their business strategies to the current economic situation, the chances for success increase too.

According to the Salesforce " Small and Medium Business Trends " report, nearly 80 percent of small businesses believe that changes made to operations over the past year will be beneficial in the long run.

To help you prepare, we've identified these 2022 business trends to assist you as you put together an annual business plan aimed at driving success in the upcoming year.

1. Online, Omnichannel Sales are Here to Stay

Even as the economy follows the path of recovery and more are returning to in-person shopping, e-commerce is still a preference for consumers, increasing by about 30 percent YOY.

And small business owners, very much aware of the trend, are adapting their operations to cater to the many different ways consumers are shopping.

According to the Bluehost State of Small Business Marketing survey, nearly 50 percent of small business owners who had an online store saw a lift in sales. Meanwhile, about two-thirds of businesses with brick-and-mortar stores saw a decline in sales numbers.

It's clear to small business owners the necessity of having an online presence. According to the Salesforce report, seventy-five percent say their customers expect to make an online transaction. And without digitization and investments into technology, nearly three-quarters of small businesses shared they wouldn't have survived the pandemic, according to a post by Eric Bensley, Salesforce VP of small and medium business marketing.

2. Recruiting and Retaining Staffing Will Remain a Challenge

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover report, shared that 4.2 million workers – or 2.8 percent of the workforce – quit their jobs in October to pursue other opportunities. The latest numbers are a slight drop from the record-breaking 4.4 million workers who left their jobs in September.

To counter The Great Resignation, companies across many industries are trying different tactics to hire and keep their employees. The challenge may be more challenging for small business owners as resources are limited. Nonetheless, an increasing number of small businesses realize that they need to raise their wages or find a way to keep their existing workforce.

According to the NFIB report, a 48-year record high of 44 percent of SMB owners shared that they raised compensation in hopes of enticing workers to accept open positions.

Some of the ways businesses are attracting workers include providing opportunities for coaching and mentoring, establishing family-first values within the workplace, and implementing a hybrid work schedule.

Nearly 60 percent of small businesses plan to continue offering remote work options in the long term, according to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

3. Supply Chain Woes to Continue

The days of guaranteed, fast shipping is no longer sustainable as we live in a year of shipping delays and inventory scarcities.

According to a meta-data analysis report by SCORE, more than half of U.S. small businesses have been impacted by supply chain disruptions as the holidays near. The country's largest network of professional, volunteer business mentors went on to say that for two-thirds of small business owners, it has worsened in the past few months.

Supply chain disruptions will likely continue into the new year, making it critical for small businesses to make a plan to soften the blow to their customers with the increase in prices. According to SCORE experts, being flexible and resourceful are the solutions to overcoming the supply chain problem. Whether it is alerting customers about an upcoming price hike so that they may make a purchase before the increase or switching to more accessible materials, finding workarounds will provide some relief to the supply chain turmoil.

By knowing these top trends, you'll likely create a more sustainable business plan and strategy to help navigate the uncertainty surrounding the year ahead. Having a future-oriented, resilient approach will save time and unnecessary stress, allowing you to concentrate on building up your business.

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