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4 Trends that Will Reshape the Small Business Landscape in 2022 and Beyond

4 Trends that Will Reshape the Small Business Landscape in 2022 and Beyond
Written by Publishing Team

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We all know that in the past couple of years, it’s been the only constant change for small business owners. Thousands of companies changed their business model at the start of the pandemic, introducing new products or services and adopting new channels to reach their customers. Thousands more launched entirely new businesses, discovering untapped opportunities in the collective “new normal.”

Now, as we approach 2022, we’re seeing the effects of the past two years crystallizing and new trends emerging, like the beginnings of the metaverse to change how we define small businesses and how small businesses operate — online, offline and in between.

A few weeks ago, I sat down with my colleague Pooja Piyaratna who leads the Meta Business Product Marketing Group for Small Business. Together, we have identified four trends that will reshape the small business landscape in 2022 and beyond.

Entrepreneurship development

One lucky byproduct of the pandemic has been the outpouring of creativity. All over the world, people re-examined previous assumptions – such as the need to do some work exclusively personally – and new and exciting ideas and businesses were born. This has redefined what it means to be an entrepreneur, adding more diversity to the small business space. In 2022, this trend will accelerate further as a record number of companies are expected to start up. One of the most interesting developments is the increasing frequency with which we see creators turning their passion into a living. For example, Cheese Board Queen Emily Delaney started a modest Instagram showcasing her love of cheese and charcuterie plates in 2019. Now, just three years later, she hosts virtual classes and workshops, engages with brands regularly and has an upcoming book out with Penguin’s DK Books in spring. Her story of sharing her passion online and turning it into a successful business isn’t unique, and we’ll only see more of her in the future.

Related: 8 Ways a Data Breach Can Kill Your Business Tomorrow

The art and science of creativity

Over the past couple of years, small business owners have had no choice but to get increasingly creative with their digital presence. And for many, this opened new doors to increase sales and build their brand in the process. Direct shopping is a great example of digital technology that has helped businesses showcase their offerings while instilling the unique personality of their brand into an online experience. And for many, the beauty of fun live video combined with the ease of online shopping has opened up new revenue streams that will continue beyond the pandemic.

Related Topics: How to Keep Your Employees Focused and Motivated in 2022

Consider Kelly Cowley, Illinois boutique owner, who credits regular streams on Facebook Live for making her customers more engaged than ever before, driving both online and in-person traffic to her store. To make live shopping a success, Kelly blends the art of a fun live streaming experience with the science of digital tools and insights that help her understand what keeps her customers engaged. In fact, Crowley knows that her sales have jumped 88% since she implemented the direct shopping strategy. Combining the art of creativity with an understanding of the digital tools that drive the most success enables companies like Crowley to experiment, innovate, and make strategic decisions based on real data. In 2022, we can expect companies that have found a home online to do more experiments – fusing the art of creativity with data science tools – to eventually discover the strategies that work best for them.

Messages pave the way for a new era of communication

Another interesting development is how companies use messaging to infuse personalization into their customer communications. People develop preferences about how they want to talk to companies. In this digital age, 75% of adults globally say they want to communicate with businesses via messaging, the same way they communicate with friends and family. As we move from the mobile internet to the Metaverse, we know we’ll see businesses large and small work with more inclusive formats to form personal online connections. While this may sound far-fetched, the groundwork is already underway. For example, small businesses can now make video calls via Messenger, which allows them to talk and see their customers, help them answer questions faster, provide better customer service and, of course, communicate true between people.

Bridging the physical/digital divide

Many companies are now operating in a hybrid model – which means they maintain a physical presence while also selling via e-commerce platforms that have become a necessity during the pandemic. In a way, we see that the pandemic has accelerated what “digital” actually means, and as a result, there is no longer a dichotomy between online and offline or digital and non-digital. Take Akila McConnell, owner of Unlimited Walking Tours in Atlanta, for example. Before the pandemic, Akila offered walking tours focused on Atlanta’s black history. When the pandemic broke out, it lost 100% of its revenue overnight. Akeelah has pivoted online gift-boxing to a Facebook and Instagram Shop that represents the best that Atlanta has to offer and offers virtual tours — connecting its physical offerings to a new online experience. Knowing how to balance and maintain both personal and digital experiences, and merging the two experiences together will ensure that small businesses reach the largest possible customer base, and not be restricted based on their geographic footprint, while also providing convenience for local customers as they desire.

Related: Top 10 Changes Your Business Should Be Ready for in 2022

Despite all the changes and innovations we’ve seen over the past few years that await us in 2022, some things remain the same. The ability to see, listen, and connect with your customers will always be critical to small business success, and now digital tools make it easier than ever.

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