“Five Small Business Trends that It’s Not Too Late for You to Jump On” by Jack Teare
Small businesses have been hit hard over the last year – especially those who rely on foot traffic and in-person sales, but things are turning around. There’s more interest in supporting small businesses than before –both online and in-store– and side hustles have increased as well, bringing more awareness to the industry. To give you a boost, let’s explore some changes you can still act on:
- Small business packaging and labelling
- Learning about conscious consumers
- Small business consulting and advice
- Going fully remote?
- Adapting through digital marketing and social network advertising
There’s no doubt the market has changed, but there’s still time to jump in…
1. Small Business Packaging and Labelling
We’ve all seen those unboxing videos on YouTube and social media where creators unpack their orders or PR packages. It fun and curious and helps us know what to expect. But the thing that often stands out the most in these videos is the quality of the packaging and those little extra stickers, sweets or notes from the supplier.
Visuals and brand values matter in purchasing decisions. For example, did you know that 81% of consumers tried something new because the product packaging caught their eye? And 63% have repurchased based on the appearance of it? Not only that but there’s a definite lean towards more sustainable and eco-friendly packaging as the public concern for single-use plastics rise.
Small businesses have begun to adopt these ideals just as larger ones have with biodegradable packing peanuts and more. They’re also taking the opportunity to show and increase awareness of their company values and encourage repeat custom. This is often through hand-written notes, tactile materials and those little extra touches that show the customer that they are valued.
You can get involved in this by moving to more sustainable packaging and introducing personal touches like hand-written notes or wax-sealed envelopes and boxes. Don’t forget to announce to change via your social media channels and website to inform your customers further.
2. Learning About Conscious Consumers
As mentioned above, customers care and appreciate when a brand’s values align with their own. Especially over the last year, consumers are becoming more aware of the world and expect more from the brands they support. They want their favourite brands to speak out against issues like racism and transgender hate to help effect change and do their part for the greater good. This brand activism is now becoming expected by the Gen Z and Millennial population, and they are moving towards more eco and green products as well.
Veganism is gaining popularity with over 500,000 users signing up for the 2021 Veganuary Challenge, and this move towards a plant-based lifestyle is all down to its sustainability. As a result, global brands are launching more vegan and plant-based products. However, there are a few receiving criticisms for being performative with their ‘conscious collections.’
Any small businesses can adopt plant-based, conscious and activism ideals:
- Make it part of your brand mission and values
- Support relevant charities
- Use vegan packaging and recyclable items
- Use ethical production processes
- Adopt more digital advertising practices to reduce waste.
3. Small Business Consulting and Advice
Searches for small business consulting increased over 250% in the past 12 months according to Google Trends. This increase has likely been caused by pandemic worries as more and more consumers favour online shopping over in person for safety reasons.
Moreover, some say there’s a lack of advice available on how to improve productivity and demystify local business support networks. It’s seen as complex and harder for underrepresented groups to access, so there needs to be transparency around the help and advice available.
There have been some updates with easier-to-access platforms and marketplaces popping up, but what your business can do to get help is find local networking groups and business communities who meet either online or in person. Get involved with these groups and businesses, lend your support, ask for help or recommendations, and you’ll soon have access to the ideas and support you need.
4. Going Fully Remote?
If ever a company was going to explore remote working and flexible hours, the past year has been it. The whole pandemic has been a global experiment on home working, and with more and more global companies adopting these practises, seeing the benefits and giving their employees a choice of working environments for the foreseeable, it’s likely remote working will become increasingly commonplace.
A lot of benefits for both employers and employees have been uncovered:
- Reduced commuting for families
- Cost savings on lunches and travel
- Reduced utilities for offices
- A happier, more productive workforce
- A larger talent pool for new hires
- Better employee retention rate
But there are still some issues:
- Harder to maintain work/life separation
- Lack of socialisation
- Collaboration not as easy
- Equipment and technology problems
- Not everyone can work remotely
Research suggests most employees are hoping for flexibility from their employers with their time split between office and remote working. So, consider making the last year’s changes permanent and ensure you make it clear what you are looking for in any job descriptions.
5. Adapting Through Digital Marketing and Social Network Advertising
Adaptability has no doubt been the motto of 2020 and the first half of 2021 – every business has been affected and has had to make changes in some way. If it’s worked, why stop?
The move to online and digital was a game-changer for many of us, and it doesn’t make sense to stop just because you’ve reopened your face-to-face business. So, continue what you are doing and build that online community to reach customers far and wide, and don’t give up your valuable new customer and revenue streams.
While you may have to work harder to be seen in the crowded online marketplace, any customers you do interact with and connect with a positive are likely to form more trusting and loyal opinions of your business. This kind of one-to-one marketing is all about building relationships and has been around since store records began – all you need to do is add some different digital marketing opportunities in the mix.
There you have it, five easy small business trends you can get involved with now. From Small business packaging and labelling to eco-friendly adoptions and social network advertising, your business has survived the last pandemic-filled year, so there’s no reason you should fail now.