It’s an understatement to say that 2020 has been challenging for small businesses. In reality, it was probably one of the toughest years in history. That said, plenty of small businesses have shown their resiliency, doing whatever they needed to do to navigate an ever-changing environment.
With a new year comes new hope, and there are some exciting things on the horizon. Here are four business trends that are likely to take center stage in 2021 and how you can position your business to take advantage of them.
1. Remote work will continue to prevail.
Just about everyone who could shift to remote work did so in 2020, from small businesses to large corporations. In some cases, this was mandated by local ordinances. In others, it was a decision made by the business to keep their staff as safe as possible. One survey found that 57 percent of small to medium-sized businesses plan to continue offering remote work options to employees in the long term. If the nature of your business supports it, you may want to consider allowing employees to continue working from home when possible, even when the worst of the pandemic is behind us. To do so, you may need to invest in improved software and other technology to make sure the business continues to run as smoothly as possible.
2. Virtual services are still in high demand.
There are many types of businesses that have remained in demand, even throughout the pandemic. According to one study, the pandemic increased demand for virtual business models, particularly those related to health, fitness, and tech. Cybersecurity, online food ordering and delivery, telemedicine, and at-home fitness have all seen a huge boom in business. If you’re considering starting a new business or looking for a way to pivot or expand your current business, these areas are definitely things to look to for inspiration.
3. E-commerce isn’t going anywhere.
E-commerce has become a life-saving income stream for small businesses. The trend was already on the rise before the pandemic, but one study estimates that covid sped up the transition to e-commerce by about five years. If you’re not already taking advantage of this trend, now’s the time to start. Make your site mobile-friendly to encourage a fast and seamless online shopping experience.
4. Get onboard with alternative payments.
Another trend that’s taken off and is sure to last into 2021 and beyond is alternative payment methods. According to a study from the National Retail Federation, no-touch payments have increased by nearly 70 percent since January 2020 and most retailers expect this trend to continue to grow. If you haven’t already done so, set up a way to accept mobile and touchless payments to make delivery and curbside pickup as contactless as possible.