Small company owners saw 2021 as an opportunity to recover and rebuild after almost a year of losses due to the coronavirus. Rather, supply chain disruptions, empty “hiring” signs, and new limits and demands were given to many.
However, the year wasn’t entirely a failure. According to company formation data from the US Census Bureau, entrepreneurship increased at a record rate in 2021, with more than 4.6 million applications for new enterprises submitted through October 2021.
Shoppers continued to show their support for small businesses in their communities: According to an August 2021 study done online by The Harris Poll, 40 percent of Americans were still making an enhanced effort to purchase small and shop local as businesses reopened and pandemic restrictions lifted, compared to pre-pandemic levels.
So, what does the year 2022 have in store for small company owners? Will supply-chain difficulties become less of an issue? Will there be an increase in hiring? And what does the future hold for business financing without two of the SBA’s key COVID-19 relief programs?
1. Technology helps to narrow the skills gap.
Small company owners will gravitate to software that enables them to do more with fewer personnel. For example, at pubs and restaurants, this might entail more tableside ordering and checkout technology, as well as more self-checkout choices for retail consumers.
Restaurant QR code menus are here to stay, even if COVID-19 safeguards are dropped. Many businesses have discovered that digital menus make it easier to change products and pricing since they don’t have to reproduce the menu every time. They also allow restaurants to operate with fewer front-of-house employees.
Without jeopardizing the client experience, smart technology investments may help you alleviate the agony of personnel shortages.
2. Community banks take the lead in business financing.
In 2022, small firms should anticipate easier access to cash.
As a result of COVID-19, banks have tightened lending requirements and sometimes halted regular loans in order to concentrate on Paycheck Protection Program loans. However, as the economy and consumer spending improve, small-business loan acceptance rates will continue to grow, particularly for enterprises that engage with community banks and non-bank lenders.
That’s excellent news for small-business owners who have survived almost two years of pandemic-related limitations and are ready to invest in new equipment or need working cash to expand in the next year.
For your next business loan, look at neighborhood banks, credit unions, and internet lenders.
3. This is the year of the physical store.
Consumers will realize that going into the shop or getting curbside pickup is frequently quicker than waiting days or weeks for deliveries from troubled carriers, allowing brick-and-mortar small-business merchants to shine.
To attract more consumers, consider offering “purchase online, pick up in store” alternatives to your e-commerce platform.
4. Customers must be kept informed.
Managing client expectations will continue to be critical. Due to supply chain constraints, inflation, and labor shortages, what businesses can offer consumers in 2022 will be different from what they could provide in 2019.
Longer delivery times, fewer product lines, and maybe higher costs may win customers over, but as we move toward a new normal, it’s critical to convey those changes properly.
Set realistic expectations by discussing with your consumers the issues your company is encountering and how they could affect the purchasing experience – in person, on your website, and on social media platforms.
5. Supply chain and recruiting issues persist
Small firms have struggled with supply challenges, and relief is still a long way off. Whether dealing with many suppliers or attempting to optimize their inventory list, business owners will need to find out how to be innovative and nimble with their procedures.
It’s time for small-business owners who recruited new employees in 2021 to start thinking about how to keep those employees in 2022. What modifications may be done to attract new personnel for those who have lost employees? Workers’ demands for greater pay, benefits, and schedules may subside with time, but I don’t believe firms should count on it just yet.
Adapt to the existing situation since supply chain and recruiting difficulties do not look to be going away anytime soon.
6. Some COVID alterations are irreversible.
New eateries will need to include takeaway into their business plans. While this has always been a given for full-service restaurants, it hasn’t always been a factor for brewers, and canning and bottling lines may be costly.
Businesses that rely primarily on in-person interactions risk becoming vulnerable. Build online or to-go choices into your business strategy using e-commerce software so that your firm can swiftly change if external forces force you to shut your major business line.