Top Small Business Predictions for the Latter Half of 2022

Small business owners were faced with a lot of obstacles in the year 2021 despite the recovery in business activity after 2020. From unexpected supply chain issues and staffing shortages to always shifting COVID-19 protocols and inflation, companies were forced to adapt.

Though business owners will most certainly face new challenges in 2022, they have many opportunities for growth and development. Here are 18 predictions for the year ahead, including concerns to anticipate and plans to make as well as positive outlooks.

1. Employee and consumer demands for ‘better’

As we look toward 2022, we see an increase in wages and benefits in order to keep workers and attract top players, as well as customer demands for top-notch service to make sure their buildings remain safe and healthy for their employees and visitors.

2. Challenges with staffing and interest rates

Despite the challenges in hiring, we anticipate that they will persist for another year and to remain our biggest challenge. We also believe that interest rates will remain low and inflation will normalize, although not until the fourth quarter of 2022.

3. Diversified outreach campaigns that encourage engagement

SMBs will increasingly engage and connect with their customers via different channels in 2022. The key is to create outreach campaigns, not just via email and newsletters, but through various social media channels as well. A company’s consumer experience varies across different channels, including physical stores, online or through mobile apps, by catalog, and on social media; therefore, each of these channels should be consistent and complementary.

4. A gentle recession following an uptick in job applicants

The number of candidates entering the workforce gradually will likely fall. Small business owners are preparing for at least a gentle recession despite inflation, supply chain challenges, and a lack of qualified candidates.

5. A ‘phygital’ future for small businesses

In the short term, it is clear that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will embrace phygital (physical + digital) as their future. We will see greater awareness and acceptance of digital solutions across businesses, whether for payments or marketing. It is unlikely that all businesses will go online and it is also unlikely that they should. However, we envision a world where existing physical businesses will become more efficient and competitive by adopting simple, easy-to-use software that is customized to their needs for this segment of the economy.

6. The rise of alternative work weeks

We’re at an incredibly exciting point in our history where we’re being able to change the rules, start things over, and figure out how we can make a significant difference to the way that we work. Workweek structures have been stacked in favor of the employer for a very long time. There is a need to find a balance on both sides of the equation. We would encourage other entrepreneurs and leaders to find what works for them.

Personalized experiences have become expected by consumers across channels, so brands must continue to implement data-driven personalization into their communications strategy.

7. Planning for the continued supply chain crisis

Be sure to monitor stock levels, sales, and inventory, and plan ahead. Planning is the key to business success. Buy well and buy smart. With today’s competitive market, the stock is king. Customers want goods now, and they are willing to pay for them.

8. Contract bundling

A lack and continued decrease of acquisition professionals combined with increased budgets and appropriations are forcing acquisition workers to ‘do more with less’. The result is that both commercial and government organizations are bundling contracts in order to minimize the number of contracts and the cost of managing them. However, contract bundling can have a disastrous effect on the small business sector.

9. More tech-enabled shopping experiences

The services that consumers are using today include live chat, online shopping platforms, in-app deliveries, and many more. These services will remain in demand for the foreseeable future.

10. Data-driven personalization in marketing

Personalization will continue to be an important component of marketing strategy for small businesses in 2022. Consumers expect personalized experiences across channels, which is why brands must incorporate data-driven personalization into their communications strategies at every level.

11. More video content across platforms

The use of videos in marketing in 2022 will result in more customers buying online because videos offer a clear description of the product, giving customers more confidence before buying online. Video content can also be used to create blog posts once it’s formatted for other platforms. As well as sharing the same video content across platforms, video marketing will also allow small businesses to serve a wide range of customers at the same time.

12. More innovative hiring strategies

We will continue to see a talent shortage in 2022. This will force small businesses to become more innovative through automation, outsourcing, and growth prospects. Many aspects of business, especially in the talent sector, that was productive five years ago will no longer be effective in 2022.

13. Higher investment in employee training and well-being

In order to bridge the gap between the traditional workforce and the new virtual workforce, companies will be investing more in employee training, time management, diversity training, and health and wellness, which will be facilitated through conferences and digital events. Companies can invest in the well-being of their workforce without having to travel to employees on location, and global contractors or remote workers have a greater opportunity to connect and flourish when their speakers are no longer required to travel.

14. Will tipping laws change?

These aren’t set to change until late 2022 at the earliest, but the government has laid out its plans to overhaul tipping practices.

Under the plans, all tips and service charges will go to staff. This means card payments too (all cash tips are already protected by law). Here’s more on the legislation:

  • employers will be required to pass on tips to workers without any deductions
  • a statutory code of practice will set out how tips should be distributed in order to demonstrate fairness and transparency
  • employers should have a written policy on tips and record how they manage tips
  • rights for workers to request information about an employer’s tipping record – this will enable employees to bring credible claims to an Employment Tribunal

15. Will customers boycott businesses that don’t accept cash?

Immediately after the Coronavirus restrictions were lifted in July 2021, there were calls to boycott businesses that refused to accept cash payments. Campaigns launched by Which? and Telegraph Money aimed to highlight the problems associated with going completely cashless before the country is ready.

It is true that businesses seem to prefer digital payments, but ensuring that people have access to cash protects some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Cashless transactions have been accelerated by the pandemic, but these customers are at risk of being left behind. This issue will gain more prominence in 2022.

16. Will there be more focus on wellbeing?

According to a recent survey of small business owners, entrepreneurs told us that they are optimistic about the future. Despite renewed uncertainty, 2022 is expected to mark a significant step forward in the UK’s recovery, focusing on wellbeing.

Here’s what the self-employed told us last year about the future of their business and the economy:

  • Three-quarters of business owners were optimistic about the future of their business.
  • 31 percent were confident in their business’s ability to adjust to new conditions, and
  • 39 percent were confident the economy would pick up again.

And here’s what they said about boosting their wellbeing:

  • 64 percent plan to do more exercise.
  • 67 percent plan to spend more time outdoors
  • 64 percent plan to spend more time interacting with family and friends

17. Will tipping laws change?

At the earliest, these aren’t likely to change until late 2022; however, the government has revealed its plans to revamp tipping practices. All tips and service charges will be paid to employees. This applies to card payments as well (all cash tips already are protected by law). Here’s more on the legislation:

  • In order to demonstrate fairness and transparency, employers will be required to pass on tips to workers without any deductions.
  • A statutory code of practice will specify how tips should be distributed.
  • A written policy on tips should be available to employers, as well as a record of how tips are handled
  • Providing workers with the right to request information about employers’ tipping records – will help them file credible claims with an employment tribunal

18. Will customers boycott businesses that don’t accept cash?

Immediately after the Coronavirus restrictions were lifted in July 2021, there were calls to boycott businesses that refused to accept cash payments. Campaigns launched by Which? and Telegraph Money aimed to highlight the problems associated with going completely cashless before the country is ready.

Businesses may prefer digital payments, but ensuring that people have access to cash falls into the category of protecting some of society’s most vulnerable consumers.

Cashless transactions have been accelerated by the pandemic, but these customers are at risk of being left behind. This issue will gain more prominence in 2022.

Conclusion

We suggest to small business owners that, either through technology or by changing laws, their businesses will undergo a lot of changes in the year 2022. We recommend that small business owners prepare for these changes and take these predictions to heart as they aim to grow their companies.

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