After a turbulent couple of years for small businesses – thanks largely to the combined impact of COVID-19 restrictions and new Brexit regulations – 2022 seems to offer greater opportunities for growth. A recent search conducted by Barclays Eagle Labs indicates that entrepreneurs in the UK anticipate strong business growth for the year ahead – around 37%. This reflects the current trend of increased financial transactions among small businesses, with many, reporting a considerable rise compared with pre-pandemic levels.
Factors affecting business growth in 2022
During the national lockdowns that accompanied the coronavirus pandemic, many small businesses were agile enough to adapt to the situation, transforming their way of working to either an online or hybrid model. eCommerce exploded during the first lockdown in May 2020, by an incredible 61%, largely powered by SMEs. While online sales have dropped off a little in 2021 (by 9.1% across the board) this still shows a substantial increase in pre-pandemic levels and will affect the way small businesses continue to work into the new year.
Consolidation of technology stacks
The first move to online and hybrid business models was conducted using off-the-shelf solutions for eCommerce and inventory. Now that the dust has settled, small businesses should be looking towards more bespoke solutions, tailored to meet their unique requirements. Whether this is their online shop-front, their video-conferencing tech for employees and customers, or their Business Intelligence software, the key to success will lie in integrating those solutions into a tailored package.
Social media sales
With a global marketplace ready to be explored, social media networks are the ideal place for SMEs to find new leads and customers. Targeted advertising on the likes of TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook can reach your ideal demographic far more effectively than other marketing campaigns.
During the pandemic, there was a dedicated effort to save local small businesses whose livelihoods were under threat. While most outlets are back open again, many consumers have stuck with independent companies, preferring the personal touch and the idea that they are making a difference. This is excellent news for small businesses, as makes customers feel part of the company’s story, which leads to greater engagement and growth.
Not being able to access most shops in person during the lockdowns led to a greater emphasis on visual commerce. Where online catalogues used to have a single image of a product or stock photos representing a service, small businesses have raised the bar in helping customers experience their products at a distance. 360-degree images and custom videos have helped SMEs across the UK to draw in new customers and clients. 2022 looks to be a good year for small businesses that are able to adapt to the changing times and take an innovative approach to marketing their brand. For details on how we can help, contact Top Local Listings today.