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10 SMB Trends To Watch In 2022

10 SMB Trends To Watch In 2022

January 4, 2022

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The new year is finally here, and 2022 might just be the time to take your business to the next level. And one way to do that: take advantage of this year’s business trends.

You might already have set plans for what your business strategy is going to look like for this year. Or maybe you have a trajectory for your growth in mind but aren’t sure how to start down that path. 

Either way, knowing what trends to expect in 2022 will help you prepare for what the year has in store for your business. So we’ve compiled a list of the 10 hottest trends we think small businesses should take advantage of in 2022:

1. Authenticity

Let’s start with authenticity. Consumers are tired of shopping from revenue-churning machines that don’t care about them. More than ever before, they’re looking for personal connections with brands. And that connection only comes when customers can sense the human qualities in your business.

As a small business, you have an advantage - your business is already powered by the people working behind the scenes. So don’t be afraid to showcase some of the human elements of your operations. Your customers want to see honesty, reliability, and a little vulnerability. 

Wondering where to start? When it comes to your brand narrative, use storytelling. Talk about your beginnings, your mission, your employees. Instead of having a super polished team photo, share a fun, candid picture that showcases your team’s personality. Authentic people have stories behind them, so don’t be afraid to share yours.

And think about how you communicate with your customers. Be transparent about your business’s progress. When there are issues, don’t hide the challenges that affect the customer experience.

Foster those connections with your customers, and they’ll keep coming back.

2. Your personal brand

As an extension of the authenticity trend, you need to start thinking of yourself as the face of your business. As a business owner or leader, your products or services wouldn’t exist without you. And even if you’re not focused on the day-to-day operations, consumers still want to know who they’re doing business with. 

By putting a face to the name, customers will feel more comfortable forging an intimate connection with your business. And the best way to put yourself out there is through your personal brand.

While instinct might tell you to let your business speak for itself, you can build stronger emotional connections through personal interaction. So, leverage your personal social media accounts to really show the human side of your business.

3. Get your company on TikTok

We all have to face it: social media is the present and future of business-consumer interactions. From fostering customer relationships to promoting your newest product, your business needs social media marketing to reach your audience on a consistent basis.

And it’s likely that you already have social accounts and a marketing strategy for them set in place. But the social media marketing trend of 2022 isn’t about just being available online, but staying ahead of the curve. 

Super fast-growing platform TikTok was the most visited webpage of 2021 (beating Google, Facebook, and Twitter). And the social media site’s popularity isn’t limited to casual, personal accounts - many small businesses have used the platform to reach new customers and build brand awareness. 

Home decor studio Moonkind uses TikTok to showcase their products and reach their target customer base. And Canadian trail clothing store JJ’s Fashions saw a massive boost to their online sales once they started featuring their store manager on the business TikTok account. 

So, while you may have never considered using it, think about how you can take advantage of TikTok’s massive audience to promote your business’s growth.

4. Upgrading your tech stack

Hear me out. You may think that your business has all the digital tools it needs to run. But studies show that 73% of small businesses aren’t aware of new digital technology that will help them reach customers around the world. 

The small business market has notoriously been underserved when it comes to the latest and greatest digital tools at a reasonable price point. Is there software that your business uses that continuously causes you headaches? Have you thought "there's got to be something better out there?”

So, think about how you can upgrade your tech stack. Most notably, in 2022, focus on analytics tools and artificial intelligence. 

With online analytics platforms, you can process your retail data to help you understand customer sentiment and personalize your marketing strategy. That way, you know exactly what your customers want and can act on those insights sooner rather than later.

And artificial intelligence may sound intimidating, but implementing AI in your business operations can help you enormously. Resources like automated customer service bots and shopping advisory systems can help you reach a wider audience and provide a smoother customer experience overall.

5. Online ordering

There is one digital technology that needed its own spot on this trends list: online ordering. The convenience of online shopping has made it a popular option for consumers. And the past two years have shown us that making the pivot to online ordering can be a flexible and inexpensive option for small businesses.

And businesses that offer online ordering can give themselves a competitive advantage over similar businesses that only have brick-and-mortar stores. Some popular services that can help you set up an online ordering system include Square and ShipStation.

So, think about how you can establish a product shipping operation or offer an easy curbside pick-up option for your local customers. The more ease and convenience you can offer to customers, the more likely they’ll take those opportunities to help your business prosper.

6. Hybrid workplaces

For many businesses, remote work is quickly becoming the norm. But actually, about 52% of US workers would prefer a hybrid work model. Meaning, employees have the option to come into the office a few times a week and work the rest of the time at home.

That way, employees can keep the flexibility of remote work while also having a physical workspace perfect for in-person collaboration and socializing. So, consider setting up a company hub for employees to gather in person if needed.

That way, they have the opportunity to meet with their co-workers while maintaining their optimal work schedule.

7. Synchronous and asynchronous video

Speaking of remote work, it’s likely that you’ve heard of a little video conferencing system called Zoom. This platform allows people from all over the world to collaborate in online meeting rooms. And while we can continue to call, email, or text, video conferencing is going to be the staple of online collaboration, if it isn’t already.

But using synchronous video means you need availability, and sometimes scheduling conflicts can arise. The solution: asynchronous video. Services like Loom allow you to record quick videos to send to your business collaborators. 

You can use these async videos to explain complex topics, talk through ideas, or simply send a message. Using asynchronous video tools can give you back the time you previously had to reserve for meetings. Plus, it’ll help you avoid the dreaded “Zoom fatigue.”

8. Co-opetition

“We’re all in this together,” as the classic saying goes. And that means connecting with your fellow business leaders to solve your greatest challenges. 

Forge networking connections with other business owners in your industry. And while it sounds counter-intuitive to make friends with your business rivals, think about this: these relationships can lead to more business referrals and new market perspectives. 

You can also share data on what’s happening with the consumers in your industry, which will only help you grow your businesses together. 

Also, look to your community and see if there are opportunities for partnerships. For example, you can use reciprocal advertising campaigns to widen the reach of your audience. Plus, connecting with your neighboring businesses can help you bring more traffic to your area, which will also increase your business opportunities.

9. Inventory strategy

AKA managing your supply chain. It’s likely that you’re already familiar with the global supply chain crisis. With factory closures, shipping disruptions, and a host of other problems, supply chain bottlenecks have been popping up across the world. And that causes delays for inventory shipments to businesses worldwide. 

Maybe your business has struggled with its own inventory issues. In any case, supply shortages are a huge concern for a number of small businesses. And with some experts saying that the issues could last into next year, business leaders need to think of creative long-term solutions to these inventory challenges.

If you’re worried about what the supply chain problems could do to your business, consider changing or adding to your current supply partners. Or possibly securing a loan to backup your inventory.

10. Purposeful business

We’re finishing up the list with a trend that we believe will extend far beyond 2022. The one that you should start thinking about today: your business’s purpose. And while it’s related to authenticity, creating a purposeful business has a different focus.

You know what your business does, but why do you exist? Beyond what you do for customers, your business’s purpose should add value to society as a whole. A purposeful business facilitates change for the better and contributes to solving social problems. 

For example, Trainual started as a way to help businesses organize their processes and train employees. That way, business leaders had more time to focus on the business itself. 

But through the process of helping our customers, we noticed something that small businesses were missing: an all-in-one platform for everything that makes up their business. A place to outline how their business operates daily, to explain who they are and what they do best. 

So, we made Trainual into the world’s first business playbook software, a place for business leaders to put everything their company needs in one place. And we’re dedicated to helping these small businesses build their foundations out so that they can concentrate on their goals for the future.

For us, our purpose takes us beyond making a profit (though that is important). We’re helping small businesses grow, scale, and succeed. Because as a growing business ourselves, we know that every business serves a need to someone somewhere. And we want to help these businesses reach their full potential.

Just like you, we have big plans for 2022. And with our purpose in mind, we plan on using these trends to expand our reach and grow our business. Think about where your own business is going and how can you use these trends to your advantage this year.

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Article

10 SMB Trends To Watch In 2022

10 SMB Trends To Watch In 2022

January 4, 2022

Jump to a section
Share it!
Sign up for our newsletter
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The new year is finally here, and 2022 might just be the time to take your business to the next level. And one way to do that: take advantage of this year’s business trends.

You might already have set plans for what your business strategy is going to look like for this year. Or maybe you have a trajectory for your growth in mind but aren’t sure how to start down that path. 

Either way, knowing what trends to expect in 2022 will help you prepare for what the year has in store for your business. So we’ve compiled a list of the 10 hottest trends we think small businesses should take advantage of in 2022:

1. Authenticity

Let’s start with authenticity. Consumers are tired of shopping from revenue-churning machines that don’t care about them. More than ever before, they’re looking for personal connections with brands. And that connection only comes when customers can sense the human qualities in your business.

As a small business, you have an advantage - your business is already powered by the people working behind the scenes. So don’t be afraid to showcase some of the human elements of your operations. Your customers want to see honesty, reliability, and a little vulnerability. 

Wondering where to start? When it comes to your brand narrative, use storytelling. Talk about your beginnings, your mission, your employees. Instead of having a super polished team photo, share a fun, candid picture that showcases your team’s personality. Authentic people have stories behind them, so don’t be afraid to share yours.

And think about how you communicate with your customers. Be transparent about your business’s progress. When there are issues, don’t hide the challenges that affect the customer experience.

Foster those connections with your customers, and they’ll keep coming back.

2. Your personal brand

As an extension of the authenticity trend, you need to start thinking of yourself as the face of your business. As a business owner or leader, your products or services wouldn’t exist without you. And even if you’re not focused on the day-to-day operations, consumers still want to know who they’re doing business with. 

By putting a face to the name, customers will feel more comfortable forging an intimate connection with your business. And the best way to put yourself out there is through your personal brand.

While instinct might tell you to let your business speak for itself, you can build stronger emotional connections through personal interaction. So, leverage your personal social media accounts to really show the human side of your business.

3. Get your company on TikTok

We all have to face it: social media is the present and future of business-consumer interactions. From fostering customer relationships to promoting your newest product, your business needs social media marketing to reach your audience on a consistent basis.

And it’s likely that you already have social accounts and a marketing strategy for them set in place. But the social media marketing trend of 2022 isn’t about just being available online, but staying ahead of the curve. 

Super fast-growing platform TikTok was the most visited webpage of 2021 (beating Google, Facebook, and Twitter). And the social media site’s popularity isn’t limited to casual, personal accounts - many small businesses have used the platform to reach new customers and build brand awareness. 

Home decor studio Moonkind uses TikTok to showcase their products and reach their target customer base. And Canadian trail clothing store JJ’s Fashions saw a massive boost to their online sales once they started featuring their store manager on the business TikTok account. 

So, while you may have never considered using it, think about how you can take advantage of TikTok’s massive audience to promote your business’s growth.

4. Upgrading your tech stack

Hear me out. You may think that your business has all the digital tools it needs to run. But studies show that 73% of small businesses aren’t aware of new digital technology that will help them reach customers around the world. 

The small business market has notoriously been underserved when it comes to the latest and greatest digital tools at a reasonable price point. Is there software that your business uses that continuously causes you headaches? Have you thought "there's got to be something better out there?”

So, think about how you can upgrade your tech stack. Most notably, in 2022, focus on analytics tools and artificial intelligence. 

With online analytics platforms, you can process your retail data to help you understand customer sentiment and personalize your marketing strategy. That way, you know exactly what your customers want and can act on those insights sooner rather than later.

And artificial intelligence may sound intimidating, but implementing AI in your business operations can help you enormously. Resources like automated customer service bots and shopping advisory systems can help you reach a wider audience and provide a smoother customer experience overall.

5. Online ordering

There is one digital technology that needed its own spot on this trends list: online ordering. The convenience of online shopping has made it a popular option for consumers. And the past two years have shown us that making the pivot to online ordering can be a flexible and inexpensive option for small businesses.

And businesses that offer online ordering can give themselves a competitive advantage over similar businesses that only have brick-and-mortar stores. Some popular services that can help you set up an online ordering system include Square and ShipStation.

So, think about how you can establish a product shipping operation or offer an easy curbside pick-up option for your local customers. The more ease and convenience you can offer to customers, the more likely they’ll take those opportunities to help your business prosper.

6. Hybrid workplaces

For many businesses, remote work is quickly becoming the norm. But actually, about 52% of US workers would prefer a hybrid work model. Meaning, employees have the option to come into the office a few times a week and work the rest of the time at home.

That way, employees can keep the flexibility of remote work while also having a physical workspace perfect for in-person collaboration and socializing. So, consider setting up a company hub for employees to gather in person if needed.

That way, they have the opportunity to meet with their co-workers while maintaining their optimal work schedule.

7. Synchronous and asynchronous video

Speaking of remote work, it’s likely that you’ve heard of a little video conferencing system called Zoom. This platform allows people from all over the world to collaborate in online meeting rooms. And while we can continue to call, email, or text, video conferencing is going to be the staple of online collaboration, if it isn’t already.

But using synchronous video means you need availability, and sometimes scheduling conflicts can arise. The solution: asynchronous video. Services like Loom allow you to record quick videos to send to your business collaborators. 

You can use these async videos to explain complex topics, talk through ideas, or simply send a message. Using asynchronous video tools can give you back the time you previously had to reserve for meetings. Plus, it’ll help you avoid the dreaded “Zoom fatigue.”

8. Co-opetition

“We’re all in this together,” as the classic saying goes. And that means connecting with your fellow business leaders to solve your greatest challenges. 

Forge networking connections with other business owners in your industry. And while it sounds counter-intuitive to make friends with your business rivals, think about this: these relationships can lead to more business referrals and new market perspectives. 

You can also share data on what’s happening with the consumers in your industry, which will only help you grow your businesses together. 

Also, look to your community and see if there are opportunities for partnerships. For example, you can use reciprocal advertising campaigns to widen the reach of your audience. Plus, connecting with your neighboring businesses can help you bring more traffic to your area, which will also increase your business opportunities.

9. Inventory strategy

AKA managing your supply chain. It’s likely that you’re already familiar with the global supply chain crisis. With factory closures, shipping disruptions, and a host of other problems, supply chain bottlenecks have been popping up across the world. And that causes delays for inventory shipments to businesses worldwide. 

Maybe your business has struggled with its own inventory issues. In any case, supply shortages are a huge concern for a number of small businesses. And with some experts saying that the issues could last into next year, business leaders need to think of creative long-term solutions to these inventory challenges.

If you’re worried about what the supply chain problems could do to your business, consider changing or adding to your current supply partners. Or possibly securing a loan to backup your inventory.

10. Purposeful business

We’re finishing up the list with a trend that we believe will extend far beyond 2022. The one that you should start thinking about today: your business’s purpose. And while it’s related to authenticity, creating a purposeful business has a different focus.

You know what your business does, but why do you exist? Beyond what you do for customers, your business’s purpose should add value to society as a whole. A purposeful business facilitates change for the better and contributes to solving social problems. 

For example, Trainual started as a way to help businesses organize their processes and train employees. That way, business leaders had more time to focus on the business itself. 

But through the process of helping our customers, we noticed something that small businesses were missing: an all-in-one platform for everything that makes up their business. A place to outline how their business operates daily, to explain who they are and what they do best. 

So, we made Trainual into the world’s first business playbook software, a place for business leaders to put everything their company needs in one place. And we’re dedicated to helping these small businesses build their foundations out so that they can concentrate on their goals for the future.

For us, our purpose takes us beyond making a profit (though that is important). We’re helping small businesses grow, scale, and succeed. Because as a growing business ourselves, we know that every business serves a need to someone somewhere. And we want to help these businesses reach their full potential.

Just like you, we have big plans for 2022. And with our purpose in mind, we plan on using these trends to expand our reach and grow our business. Think about where your own business is going and how can you use these trends to your advantage this year.

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Article

10 SMB Trends To Watch In 2022

10 SMB Trends To Watch In 2022

January 4, 2022

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