Covid has been the ultimate disrupter to the global economy. Fortune 500 companies and small start-ups alike have felt the massive impact, but it’s the small businesses that have taken the hardest hit. Small businesses keep the U.S. economy running, infact, according to the World Economic Forum, small businesses are responsible for employing close to half of non-government employees. Unfortunately, during these uncertain times where safety measures requiring social-distancing have been put in place and mandatory shut-downs have happened, many small businesses have not been able to weather the storm.
Millions of small-business owners across the country have adapted on the fly and found creative ways to change their operating models throughout the pandemic. While many small businesses have failed, others have survived and plan to use innovations adopted during the pandemic to drive revenue and generate new opportunities as the economy recovers, but the impact on millions of employees nationally is uncertain.
So what small business trends that were implemented in 2020 will continue into 2021?
Forbes sites 15 trends they believe will drive small business in the year 2021 as we continue to navigate the pandemic into the new year:
Visible Digital Footprints: An excellent digital footprint and visibility will be a must for the small business next year. As everyone is spending significant time on the internet, having a great digital presence and branding will help when competing for new projects, contracts, partnerships and opportunities. This is an excellent way to highlight your product or service, engage and build community.
Agility: Restrictions will still be around, heavily affecting small and medium-sized enterprises. However, they have an advantage over the big corporations: A smaller size means potential for quick shifts of focus, be they in service delivery, marketing or team structuring. The quicker small businesses are able to pivot and adapt during these ongoing turbulent times, the higher their fitness and success will be.
Virtual Efficiency And Productivity Experts: Small businesses will need efficiency and productivity experts that specialize in virtual teams. During the pandemic, every business has faced being forced to digitize, virtualize and dematerialize. There are huge opportunities to help businesses recover from lost revenue and use new technology more effectively with virtual teams.
Talent Problems: Small businesses will continue to battle talent problems in the foreseeable future. The war for talent was only paused during Covid-19, and it has already resumed in most industries. Organizations have a choice: They can build learning and people-development cultures to keep teams engaged long-term, or they can build recruiting empires to address the constant turnover of employees.
Pre-Meeting Packs: A trend that will drive small businesses is the use of customized pre-meeting packs. These pleasant surprises take advantage of snail mail in a time of digital saturation. Many organizations send their board members these packs a day prior to a long online meeting. The packs can include a mix of food snacks, office accessories or stationery. Highlighting local businesses is a big opportunity for small firms.
Workplace Culture: Workplace culture is a trend for leaders to optimize, capitalize and maximize. What people believe, think, say and do as well as the collective output of their behaviors define their company culture. The evolutionary impact of recent events is driving leaders to align budgets and priorities to support organizational health, resulting in better alignment to vision, values, goals and prosperity.
Customer Reviews: Customer reviews will be key. As people feel the financial pinch caused by this year’s pandemic, they will be looking for ways to save. They might forgo buying the big brand names and look around for alternatives. This opens the door for small businesses to step in. While they might lack the credibility of a big brand, a list of glowing reviews from customers can definitely sway the sale.
Clarity: Our time seems to be eaten up with virtual meetings and webinar training. Be absolutely clear about whether a meeting or training is going to be paramount. We are tired of being on virtual meetings that waste our time, leaving us frustrated and overwhelmed. Before the meeting, collaborate on a clear agenda, clear objectives and desired outcomes. Also, start and finish on time.
Creative Joint Ventures: I think more small businesses will seek out creative collaborations and joint ventures with other small businesses. Diversifying the risk via another collaborator and entering markets not previously considered will increase their chances of longer-term survivability.
Local Community Networking: People buy from people, especially now that we’re limited in where we’re able to go. If small businesses want to compete with the big brands and online options, they’ll need to connect with their communities more than ever. Nothing helps a business more than locals spreading the word to their friends. So get “out there,” network on sites like LinkedIn and watch your business thrive!
E-Commerce: If they aren’t already, small businesses must get into the world of e-commerce. Everything a business offers should have an e-commerce component, and training, onboarding and other aspects of leadership have to be e-commerce ready. As 2020 has proved, you have to be ready to pivot on a dime to survive in an ever-changing landscape, and it starts by getting everyone e-commerce-facing.
Data-Driven Digital Strategies: Small companies will work intensively on digital strategies to adapt to new forms of consumption and other consequences of the pandemic. It will be especially important to carry out market studies that allow us to know the new demands firsthand. Additionally, small businesses should work on the flexibility of structures and costs to make them viable and competitive.
Technological Disruption: Pandemic-fueled technological disruption will continue to shift the very nature of work, affecting how organizations maintain a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace. This will be particularly true for small businesses, which, in an increasingly interconnected virtual world, will be competing not only with bigger players in the market, but also with other small businesses from around the globe.
Unique Online Courses: Online courses have been a great way to pivot business during the pandemic. If you have a unique knowledge base and a customer engagement model, pouring knowledge into do-it-yourself courses can independently save your business this coming year. It is not limiting, and it becomes passive income, as long as you use quality cameras in the creation of original course content.
Investments In Infrastructure And Customer Engagement: Next year will pay dividends to small businesses who invest wisely now in themselves and their customers. The small businesses that are operating out of fear right now will face even more fear and losses to competitors who are investing in their infrastructure and customer engagement to stay relevant now. Don’t let fear drive you. Find the opportunity and capitalize.
While much is uncertain about how 2021 will look for small businesses and everyone else, there is hope on the horizon. Drug companies are beginning to circulate effective vaccines which will allow for our economy to open back up. It is hard to determine how long it will take before things can resume back to normal, and the impact of the COVID crisis will continue for decades, as we repair and rebuild our economy, our communities, and deal with the losses that have been much greater than financial. At Houston Small Business Marketing, we want to help you protect your business by exploring new ways to reach your clients, to increase your accessibility to them online when face-to-face interactions are not an option.
No matter what industry you work in, digital marketing can help you to broaden your horizons and reach larger audiences. Outranking your competitors online makes it easier for potential customers to find you and to choose your business over the competition. Ensure you are doing everything you can to withstand these trying times by investing your resources into adapting during this difficult time. Listed below are some of the main areas we focus on when building your brand online:
Web Design: Everything that appears on your business’s website will either help your domain authority or hurt it. This includes the way the information on your site is organized, the quality of the images you use, the number of pages within your site, if the content written in the site is unique and accurate, how fast your website loads, and much more. Building a website on your own can be overwhelming for anyone, but especially for small-business owners who are desperately trying to find their place among their competitors. The website development team at Houston Small Business Marketing is here to help you reach your goals by utilizing our industry knowledge and experience to make your website stand out. We want to see you succeed.
Social Media Marketing: Now more than ever social media marketing has cemented its place as an effective tool to build stronger relationships with your customers and to communicate directly with them. Social media allows you to let your customers know of any deals you have going on, changes you are making- including to your business hours, show photos of the work you have completed, and so much more. Our social media team will help you to grow your audience, while also creating eye-catching graphics that display the best parts of your business.
Google Business Listing: In order to optimize your Google Business Listing, you will need to do a lot more than just claim your company online, however, that is the first step. Our team can help to keep your Google listing relevant, by updating it regularly with fresh content and new photos. Doing this will help Google to recognize your business as legitimate and current, making them more inclined to recommend your business to those who are searching for the services you offer locally.
Stay Relevant, Stay Fresh
Keeping up with the forever evolving online marketing trends and finding new ways to incorporate them effectively for your own website and online resources is time-consuming. Navigating this during a pandemic can feel impossible! Unfortunately, for many small businesses in Houston, the industry they work in is highly competitive. By failing to stay on top of online marketing trends, you run the risk of losing business to your competitors who are actively working to market their company online. Do not let a business with an inferior product or service outrank you online. Instead, contact Houston Small Business Marketing today! Our team will work with you every step of the way to ensure your business is standing out online and reaching new customers. We pride ourselves on your success and make customized marketing strategies that fit your specific business needs.
Plan for 2021 to be your most successful year yet when you take steps to make your quality services and products visible so that they are seen online by individuals interested in your services. When you work with the SEO professionals at HOUSBM we help you to dominate search results to become industry leaders. Our team understands how important connecting to your current customers and new customers are, this is why we put a strong focus on developing user-friendly websites, with plenty of informative content to help increase your chances of converting online users into actual customers. If you would like to improve your company’s website and expand your reach online, contact us today. Our team of Houston SEO professionals can help to answer any questions you may have and explain in depth the services we provide to small and medium-sized businesses, designed to help your company reach new levels of success.
SEO Marketing Experts in Houston
Stop missing out on potential customers and become a force within your industry! From excellent web design and social media management to Google Business Listing optimization and a weekly-updated blog, the team at Houston Small Business Marketing is here to help you get to the next level. Grow your business when you expand your reach online. If you are tired of giving away potential customers to your competitors, contact us today! We dedicate ourselves to working closely with business owners to come up with a marketing plan that helps them succeed. We provide each customer with a free consultation for your website and social media to let you know how you can improve your placement online and grow your engagement with local potential customers looking for your services. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.
Houston Small Business Marketing
Houston Small Business Marketing
1415 North Loop West #950
Houston, TX 77008