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2021 Small Business Trends

The coronavirus pandemic brought on an explosion in the digital business space and this change is expected to become permanent. As social media platforms continue to expand surveillance capitalism as a primary sales method, so do users of those platforms expect e-commerce to bend toward personal e-commerce. There is an expectation that brands and businesses recall what consumers have previously purchased and help direct future purchases based on the data users provide while actively engaging with their sites and channels. To meet new consumer demand and operate within the pandemic limits, creative solutions to maintain a steady stream of revenue have become necessary for small businesses. Worth noting, Forbes has identified online business trends that will drive small businesses in 2021.

Unsurprisingly a robust digital footprint and presence remain a must to thrive rather than survive in a continuing difficult year due to COVID-19. Consumers are spending significant time perusing the internet, and proper branding is a must when competing for new business, whether it be contracts, sales, partnerships, or other opportunities. Highlighting products or services by engaging and building an online community around your business will increase your small business income.

Retaining productivity and virtual efficiency experts can streamline processes as dematerialization gives way to the digital and virtual world. Employing new technologies quickly and more effectively can help small businesses recover from the lost revenue the pandemic brought about in 2020. Opportunities for effective positioning and growth with consulting experts specializing in virtual teams can be the game-changer your small business needs.

Data-driven digital strategies will address new forms of consumption and other consequences of COVID-19. Adaptable digital systems are responsive to market studies that track changes in consumer demands. Addressing quick shifts in consumer demand requires a flexible and cost-effective digital strategy. Prepare to ensure data integrity and protection with redundancy in systems in the event of digital disruption.

The online marketing and sales environment demands agility in your small business approach. Smaller businesses have a distinct advantage over medium to large-sized enterprises as they have the potential for quick shifts in focus. Across all divisions, like service delivery, marketing or team structure, finance, and operations management, the possibility exists to implement change quickly to increase sales.

Addressing talent problems and workplace culture issues collaboratively helps to define business direction. The workplace culture is a collection of what employees believe, think, say, and do in combination with the output of their collective behavior. Talent within a small business can be long term, requiring learning and people development cultures, or short term, requiring the need to address employees' rapid turnover. Clearly defining a small business's employee retention strategy allows for a better understanding of priorities in supporting organizational health and aligning budgets in its support, resulting in better small business vision, goals, values, and prosperity.

Tighten timeline and clarity when hosting virtual meetings and webinar training. The novelty has worn off from this meeting environment and often wastes productive time. Collaborate to identify a clear agenda, objectives, and desired outcome before a meeting. Respect employees' time by starting and finishing the session on time.

Create a unique online course or cross-market with a synergistic business. Online courses can convey educational information while positioning the importance of your small business and strengthening customer engagement. An alliance with another small business can increase your digital footprint's traffic and further substantiate your reputation.

Credible customer reviews will further enhance business opportunities in 2021. More than ever, consumers are becoming suspicious of overhyped branding and are looking for cost-effective ways to acquire authentic, quality goods and services. The internet brings ease to comparison shopping, opening the door for small businesses who might lack a big brand's marketing budget but have rave customer reviews that can capture new consumers. Customer reviews can sway a sale so keep them current and valid.

The coronavirus pandemic has transported business models into the digital future. This year and beyond will pay dividends to those small businesses who wisely invest in e-commerce to reach an online consumer base. Because the digital world innovates and pivots quickly, so too must small businesses if they want to remain competitive and increase sales. Those small businesses willing to adapt will position themselves well for the future that is personalized e-commerce.

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