Top 3 Small Business Trends in 2022
January is a good time to prioritize plans for the future.
Is there anything you’ve been putting off for a while? Probably, there are quite a few things. Your growing business needs investments, new tools, more customers, etc.
Recently, several small business reports with relatively similar predictions for this year have been published. They can help businesses better understand what to focus on in the nearest future. And they can be summarized in three main trends.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into each trend and find out how you can leverage them in your business.
Trend #1: Great customer experience will be your competitive advantage
With the competition growing every year, small businesses try to stand out. And there are many ways to do this. You can create viral TikToks, offer high-quality and unique products, run creative campaigns on social media… You name it! But 2022 will be mostly about customer experience.
Bernard Marr, a best-selling author and keynote speaker, recently noticed: “Brands know they need to earn our trust and show that they can provide us with value. This will be the strongest trend driving customer experience throughout 2022.”
This year, companies of all sizes will strive to increase business with existing customers and improve customer communication. And it’s not surprising: referrals or word-of-mouth marketing are still considered one of the best lead sources.
So what can you do to bring your customer experience to the next level?
- Personalize. Personalization will continue to be one of the top trends in 2022 and beyond. 44% of consumers are likely to purchase more after a personalized experience. And if you’re a bit confused with where to start, you can begin with creating buyer personas. It’s a common marketing tool that helps businesses better understand their customers.
- Be closer to your customer. After creating buyer personas, it’ll be easier to identify where potential and existing customers are and how to communicate with them. For example, emails have been around for a while, but now more companies are considering texting. Have you tried this channel as well? If not, you might want to look at it and check if messaging works for your clients. For example, according to some studies, customers are expecting brands to be reachable via texts too. In other words, they’re looking for an experience similar to the one they have with their friends and families. That’s why WhatsApp integration is becoming a must-have feature for customer relationship management.
Trend #2: Small businesses will choose carefully what digital and cloud technologies to invest in
You’ve probably heard this multiple times: small businesses need to save time and be as efficient as possible. On top of that, they need robust processes that are similar to the ones large organizations have.
But large organizations also have much more resources than small businesses.
That’s why automation and digital solutions are playing a vital role in business success. But before investing in a new tool, you might want to consider the following steps:
- Audit your processes. Do you know what’s working and what’s not? Why do you even need a digital solution? 38% of small business owners are investing in technology to improve their internal processes and workflows. It’s important to understand what process you want to improve, why you need this improvement, and what results you want to achieve. The technology that fits your business doesn’t have to be a complex AI-driven system that everyone is talking about. Sometimes a simple solution is enough.
- Embrace automation. There are loads of books on productivity and how to pack a lot of activities in one day. But productivity shouldn’t be only about getting more things done in less time. In business, we also need to make sure that we do the right things at the right time. When looking for a new automation tool, find the one that solves a problem that your business has. Does it free up your time for growth? Does it help you refine the processes that have been inefficient for a while? According to Zapier, automation helps 88% of small businesses to compete with larger organizations. But only if it’s not automation for the sake of automating.
- Put data security first. If you are a small business, you probably don’t have lots of data that is very complex and needs to be visualized with data modeling tools. But as a business, you still operate with sensitive data, even if not to the same extent as large enterprises. For example, in 2020, 28% of data breaches involved a small business. That’s almost one-third of all cases. In 2022, small businesses will focus not only on their security measures but also on improving data exchange with third parties.
Trend #3: Small businesses will look for ways to generate more high-quality leads
Thanks to social media and technology advancements, it’s become much easier to generate leads. And this can be a problem.
Bad leads cost you money: they don’t drive your revenues and are just sitting idle in your system. Why would you want to spend time chasing contacts that are not interested in your products and services?
In 2022, businesses will focus on generating high-quality leads instead of simply storing contacts in their CRM systems. After all, if you don’t plan on actioning a contact, do you really need it?
There are a few things that can help generate higher-quality leads.
- Identify a lead profile. This is similar to buyer personas that were described above. A lead profile can be a bit more detailed.
- Create targeted content. Once you’ve identified who you’re looking for, it’s time to create content that will attract these leads. In sales, it’s much easier to sell to people who already know about your product. Your content doesn’t have to be a long blog post or a one-hour webinar, there are many content ideas that can help generate more leads.
- Implement lead scoring. Besides refining your lead generation process and ensuring that you get high-quality leads in your funnel, you also need to take care of the existing leads in your database. A lead scoring technique can help rank leads by their priority.
- Create an alignment between sales and marketing. If you have different people working in sales and marketing, there’s a high chance that their efforts might not be as coordinated as you want them to be. There are six steps that can help align the two teams.
If you look at these three trends a bit closer, you’ll notice an interesting thing.
All three trends fit nicely into the famous PPT framework that lies at the very heart of every business, no matter how small or big.
There might be too many things on your to-do list in 2022. But if you put your tasks into 3-5 categories and prioritize these categories, it’ll be easier to see what area you need to focus on first.