As a small business owner, you are constantly planning and preparing for any shifts in your industry and your market. To help you keep an eye on future business trends, let’s take a look at how 2020 is shaping up and what to prepare for in 2021.
Emerging Trends As 2020 Comes To An End
2020 is the year we all want to move on from, but with the turbulence caused by the pandemic and the economy, some key trends emerged in 2020 that are giving businesses a taste of what’s to come in 2021.
Here are the trends shaping up in 2020:
- Remote Workforce: Small business watched the big companies like Google and Uber send their workforces home. Then, they all discovered that productivity got even better. This 2020 trend is here to stay.
- Hackers: With workers at home, hackers have discovered new ways into the corporate network — through residential doorbells and thermostats. Cybersecurity has a new focus as 2020 comes to an end.
- Gig Economy: We’ve covered the Gig Economy before (here and here). Freelancers have adopted quickly. Now, businesses are seeing the advantage of a ready contractor workforce.
- Automation and AI: As companies send employees home to work, they also started looking to their software to automate routine tasks. Right along with automation is built-in intelligence, AI. As 2020 comes to a close, businesses are turning to their software solutions for automated efficiencies.
- Online Meetings: Keep a business shirt and a comb nearby. What used to be conference calls or meetings in the boardroom are now on Zoom or Google Meet.
- 5G: With download speeds up to a Gigabit per second, 5G is going to finally make internet access on our smartphones “instant.” That means your customers will expect your applications, portals, information and more to be readily available, truly making the internet “mobile.”
Future Business Trends: 2021 and Beyond
In addition to the trends listed above that have become part of the 2020 “new normal”, what business trends will we see in 2021? Keep your sites on these:
- Office Space: With the remote workforce showing that it can be even more productive working from home, businesses have the opportunity to either repurpose their space or get rid of it. Square footage then becomes either a reduced expense or an opportunity for efficiency or new revenue.
- Employee Wellness: Businesses discovered the impact of illness and absences on their business. This will put a new focus on wellness, with businesses implementing fitness programs, testing, and insurance incentives.
- Digital Marketing: “Suspected Spam Caller”. We’ve all seen that message more and more on our phones in 2020. In 2021 that will turn into a greater shift from cold call and door knocking sales to a concerted digital marketing effort.
- Digital Money: From cryptocurrency to banking apps, FinTech (financial technology) will make significant strides in providing access to financing. Traditional, centralized banking will start to take a back seat to this tech in 2021.
Start Planning Now For 2021
Your specific business will be impacted by many of these trends. You will also likely have local market trends to look out for. No matter what the end of 2020 brings and introduces in 2021, the key to adjusting and being prepared is proper planning. Dust off that old business plan, update the spreadsheets, and schedule a meeting with our Business Advisory team. Together, we’ll make sure you have the right plan going into 2021 to take advantage of the latest trends.