The new year for small businesses is typically a time to reflect and set goals for the year to come, but in 2021, with the COVID-19 pandemic still looming over our heads with no end in sight, there is still much uncertainty.

Here are a few trends we expect small businesses to face in the upcoming year and ways you can adapt your business to meet these challenges.

Customer communication

Communicating and updating customers about your products or services through online platforms are a great way to keep in touch. Using your social media you can share the latest updates and product availability. As restrictions change in your jurisdiction, you’re able to quickly inform your customers of how your business is adapting.

Additionally, sending out a regular newsletter with the latest news and product information is also a great way of keeping your customers informed. You can also benefit from having a short FAQ section on the front page of your website that gives customers the information they need without having you answer the same three questions daily.  

Read more: How to Keep Your Customers Informed During COVID-19

Remote work is the new normal

Many employers are realizing that many jobs are able to be done without ever stepping foot in an office.  This is an opportunity for small businesses to forego leasing office spaces and reduce that large overhead expense. Many businesses have been able to figure out how to work effectively as a remote team and we see this way of working continuing in the future.

Use of digital communication applications 

With the remote workplace becoming the new “norm”, it’s more important than ever for businesses to keep in contact with their employees. Online business communication platforms such as Slack and Zoom have become popular means of communication between coworkers and will become even more so in the months to come. Many of our previous face-to-face interactions can now be done online and we don’t see that changing.

E-commerce is the way forward

With so much of life transitioning online and local health regulations, it comes as no surprise that customers are also buying their products and services virtually. If your small business hasn’t set up an online store, now is the time! Customers expect your business to be online to serve their needs.

Customers also expect a seamless experience of their online shopping experience especially given COVID-19 related regulations. When designing your online store, you’ll want to think about things like contactless delivery, curbside pick up, mobile ordering, payment options that include digital wallets like ApplePay.

Don’t have an online store yet? Our Managed WordPress plans come with WooCommerce support, which will help you create, manage and customize your online shop with ease.

Local collaborations 

When the going gets tough, communities should try to stick together. The same can be said of businesses during the pandemic. No matter how your business is faring, collaborating with other local companies in your area will benefit both of you. 

By creating partnerships with others in your industry, you’re able to combine efforts to create a better, new product or service without the costly expenses. For instance, coffee shops and sweets stores can team up to hold an annual hot chocolate festival from January through February, where each local business serves their own version of hot chocolate. 

There’s no doubt every small business is trying its hardest to adapt to the new “norm”. Instead of covering all your bases, try to focus on the trends you think would be more efficient to implement into your own business. With careful planning and execution, 2021 could be the year for you and your business to thrive. 

How are you getting your small business ready for the upcoming year?