As your business prepares for the future, the important question to ask is: what are the 10 small business trends for 2022?
Freelancers, especially, have felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic because, for many of us, the closing of brick-and-mortar businesses has led to an increase in online sales that led to an upsurge in business as companies beefed up their online presence. For others of us, brick-and-mortar closings led to a decrease in clients as doors closed, and businesses went on a forced hiatus.
As 2022 approaches, new small business trends will make a measurable difference in how freelancers, small business owners, and corporations alike, meet the challenges of the upcoming year. In this article, we spotlight the 10 small business trends for 2022, so you can keep an open eye, an open mind, and plan ahead.
One: Artificial Technology is still a crucial small business trend
Artificial intelligence (AI) may sound super high-tech, but in reality, it has uses and applications many ordinary people can benefit from. Instead as a time saver or a money saver, these upcoming AI trends can help your business:
- Video and audio transcription
- A/B ad, app, and landing page testing
- Website and blog content creation
- Timely and increased customer engagement
- Organizing of content, sales, and marketing
Can you transcribe the videos that populate your YouTube channel and use that content for your blogs and social media? Can you create new avenues of organization that let you streamline operations and accept new clients? Define your industry and your niche, then look for ways AI can help you make strategic changes that open up additional income streams. Small business applications are getting smarter. It pays to watch the small business artificial intelligence space. It’s a crucial small business trend for 2022.
Two: Freelancers Will Increase Their Rates
In the last several months, everyday purchases have markedly increased in price. Everything from groceries to gas to shoes and clothes has been hit by inflation. In addition, raw materials and goods are getting scarcer, which is evidenced by empty store shelves everywhere.
- On the business end, this means an increase in raw materials, which will increase marketing and advertising costs.
- On the consumer end, this means further price increases on routine purchases, which means people are making tough choices on where to spend their money.
These price changes impact your business in several ways. Customers might allocate their dollars away from your client’s business. In turn, clients might allocate their marketing dollars away from your business. Keep your eye on inflation and understand the role it plays in creating income for your business.
Three: Online Events is a massive small business trend
Live events aren’t only for concerts and state fairs. Many companies build their entire business model around hosting live events. The pandemic’s pause on large gatherings means the following types of businesses were impacted:
- Event planners
- Swag bag makers
- Content creators
- Event marketers
In addition to being forced to close their doors, these business owners are having difficulty making projections for future openings. Even when they do open, they’ll have to book more events just to bring in the same income.
Social distancing practices are still in place and unlikely to go completely go away in the immediate future. Even if they do, individuals will not be comfortable returning to packed venues. Think about what this will mean for future events and your business’ role in them. Virtual business meetings is one of the most important small business trends for 2022. Educate your employees on the right tools to communicate with remote team members.
Four: Social Media Platform Ads Will Drive More Sales Than Ever Before
Social media trends are constantly changing and evolving. Keeping up with them is paramount to the success of almost all real and virtual businesses and corporations. With every business increasing its virtual presence and people spending ever-increasing amounts of time on social media platforms, understanding the impact of this trend is crucial. Your business needs to know:
- Preferred platforms of your ideal clients
- Social media ad costs and best practices
- New and emerging social media platforms
One of the best ways to answer these questions is by talking to your existing clientele. Use surveys, giveaways, and polls to find out how and from where they are accessing your website or interacting with your business online, then beef up your own presence there. Social media is still a business-changing small business trend for 2022.
Five: Customer Relationships Will Take On A Whole New Meaning in 2022
Customer experience is the deciding factor in the success of every business ever built. How you reach your clients and the way you communicate with them in the next year will have an even larger impact on your business because messaging on every level is being taken extremely personally. Consider this:
- Do you market to the community of people who want vaccinations and masks by having mask mandates in your brick-and-mortar location?
- Do you market to the community of people who do not believe, or want to participate, in these restrictions and eschew masks and social distancing?
No matter which side of this fence your business falls on, you risk angering and/or alienating a potentially good-sized portion of your potential clients. For many business owners, 2022 is going to mean finding ways to preserve your own beliefs, your client’s preferences and protect your patrons.
Six: Businesses of All Sizes Will Start Tip Toeing
Cancel culture has become a thing in 2022. From the Me-Too movement to rogue police practices to civil rights stances to the BLM movement to LGBTQ rights to abortion politics, falling on the unpopular side of social debates can lead to social disdain. We’ve all seen celebrities put their careers at risk with one slip of the tongue or a single social media post. Some celebrities have even been called to the carpet because of years – sometimes, decades-old – perceived atrocities.
As your business moves into the new year, social and political trends of the day will continue to weigh heavily on every customer or client you serve. That means your business will have to reexamine every spoken and published word in its past. It also means your business has to examine every word it speaks, advertises, or posts in the future.
Seven: Coworking Spaces will continue to how small business teams work
Coworking spaces – once all the rage in corporate and small business circles – were forced to shutter their doors during the pandemic. Rebounding in the post-pandemic world will be difficult. It can mean your business can get coworking space at super affordable rates. It can also mean rates will dramatically increase to help coworking space owners meet their bottom-line while being forced to accommodate fewer clients.
Another cause for concern for the future of coworking spaces – many business owners, freelancers, and corporate staff members have outfitted their home office spaces and have gotten them set up to their personal comfort and productivity levels. They aren’t likely to embrace another change right away. As your business moves into 2022, think about the ways you used coworking spaces before the pandemic and the ways it might benefit or hinder your business in the future.
Eight: Communication Will Become Increasingly Challenging
Like social media, the ways people communicate with each other are ever-changing. As more and more people continue to work from home, communication will take the form of phone calls, emails, and text messages. While these mediums foster communication, they don’t always foster effective communication. They lack face-to-face interactions that give the verbal clues and inflections that we all rely on to grasp the speaker’s meaning. Enter video chat apps.
Employees and business owners will probably continue working from home into the immediately foreseeable future. That means video apps that let people see each other will be the go-to method of exchanging ideas, building business-to-business and business-to-consumer relationships, and building profitable relationships.
Nine: Small Business Owners Will Wear More Hats
The push to increase the minimum wage and to pay employers at higher rates will be felt everywhere. This can have a two-fold effect. It can mean that getting the help your business needs is more complex or much costlier than you planned for. It might also mean your services draw a beneficial increase in rates for you. This can translate into small business owners juggling more of their business on their own.
First, as a small business owner, you can stretch yourself to the limit trying to handle research, development, sales, marketing, branding, etc. It can actually decrease your income at a time you need it most because there are only so many hours in the day and only one of you. Secondly, it can open the door for freelancers and consultants to offer much-needed help at mutually agreeable price points.
Final small business trends: Casual Becomes The New Normal
When most of us hear the term business casual, we think of Casual Fridays and casual clothing. For the purpose of this article, one of the upcoming trends we want to talk about is casualness as a whole in the ways business owners, vendors, clients, consumers, even corporations and corporate executives deal with each other.
Have you ever heard the saying, “People do business with people they know, like, and trust.”? Creating less formal business connections built on trust begins with letting your hair down and letting go of many traditional business formalities. How will building strong relationships benefit your business in 2022?
While keeping an eye out for these trends and their impact on the future of your business, notice the 10 small business trends for 2022?
The way each of these trends plays a role in the next drives home the point that everything business – especially small business – is interrelated. Each trend is linked intrinsically to the next trend, and each affects the other in ways big and small business owners simply can’t ignore.