By: First Union
Current Small Business Trends That Will Likely Stick Around
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What we've seen over the past few months is major shifts in just about every aspect of life—from how we interact with one another, to how we shop, to how the school is conducted, to how businesses maintain daily operations. Some of the changes that have taken place thus far in 2020 seem to be such that are not going away anytime soon. Small businesses have been at the center of much of this. Numerous companies have had to shut their doors, unsure if they'd ever reopen them. And yet, many small businesses have been hanging tough; they've been able to keep things going and they are surviving. A large part of the reason for their survival does in fact hinge in part on the adjustments that have been made. In this article, we look at some of the current practices small businesses have had to undertake, such that appear as though they will be sticking around indefinitely.
Printed materials will be seen less and less
While people have been increasingly predicting the demise of printed materials, we have not yet seen their outright extinction. Brochures, business cards, and other such marketing collateral have still proven their usefulness even in the digitally driven world in which we live; that, however, is likely to change shortly—if it already hasn't. The fact that print materials are tangible, that they are often passed around from person to person now makes them an unsanitary option as far as marketing goes for example. While print materials are not likely to go away altogether, odds are pretty good that we will be seeing more digital innovations come to replace old school printing options.
Digital channels will move to the forefront for marketing
Because so many have been at home with brick and mortar storefronts closed up, businesses have had to increasingly rely on digital for everything from marketing to sales. As a result, people are becoming more proficient, be it engaging customers via social media or creating videos that promote their products/services. Creativity is definitely on the rise when it comes to how entrepreneurs are employing digital strategies to keep their companies going. And moving forward, we are very likely to see even more innovation and leveraging of digital channels to ensure business success.
Customer email lists are crucial
The sudden onset of the crisis left many business owners in the lurch as far as being able to interact with customers. Those who'd already taken the time to cultivate and update a customer email list had it a bit easier than those who hadn't done so. Customer relationships are key, especially during periods of intense uncertainty. If a business cannot communicate with those customers directly, they are going to lose out. We are apt to see customer email lists as well as things like loyalty programs for instance, given more attention. Personalization across the board will become a central concern for many companies.
Team collaboration remotely
How co-workers have come to communicate has been drastically overhauled since the crisis began. With everyone having to work from home for at least a period, remotely communicating, video conferencing and other such forms of long-distance interaction came to the forefront. The traditional workplace has been completely redefined in light of this switch to remote work.
Those savvy business owners moving forward will take advantage of the platforms out there that enable easy interaction from home. Slack and Zoom for example did enable some businesses to keep operating even during the most difficult parts of the crisis. With things still relatively uncertain, business owners need to be prepared to have employees continue to do work from home. Flexibility on this front is going to be imperative.
The rise of micro-entrepreneurs
Micro-entrepreneurships or businesses generally consisting of only one, definitely gained ground during the first half of 2020. If you think about it, with everyone stuck at home, people were looking for things to do, online classes to take, online concerts, and other such entertainment options. With so many talented individuals out there, they were able to turn their talent into a paying gig during the crisis. And this trend seems poised to continue as we do shift toward a more digital culture—even more so than before. If you have a skill and that skill happens to be in demand, odds are pretty good you will be able to find an audience online willing to pay for your particular services.
Subscription offerings are more prominent
Businesses had to get creative—and what we saw many do was to take their products/services and develop subscriptions. Again, with people in lockdown, consumers were having to think differently about how they purchased items, and consequently, what they purchased. In many cases, subscription services did fill a vital need. As we move forward from this, many experts are predicting that subscriptions are going to become even bigger as more and more companies look to get into the game on this front.
First Union Lending without question is here to help. We have been assisting small businesses during this difficult time. We are even working with company owners who are interested in securing PPP funds. We can help you navigate the process from start to finish. Offering short term loans, lines of credit, and business cards among other products, we have a solution to fit just about every small business need. And every loan product is custom-tailored—meaning, no off the shelf approach with us. Some clients can get funding in as little as two business days. Even if your credit score isn't quite where you'd like it to be, we can still help. We evaluate your business based on more than just a single number or score—we take a big picture approach to commercial lending. Call today and let's get started together!