After the year known as 2020, businesses are looking to the future of when work and life will return to a comfortable sense of normalcy. While many businesses were able to adapt to virtual services or limited in-person engagement, many businesses will emerge through 2021 with a lot of new ideas and perceptions - and a lot of which are here to stay!
Let's make the most of a brighter year ahead, and take heed of the industry trends that can help all small businesses succeed, and plan for the future.
Before Covid, eCommerce was a term preserved for retail. Not any more. Everything is eCommerce now, and that is number one here to say. Many small businesses have had to get themselves online in one way or another in the last 12 months, redefining what we think of as eCommerce. This trend will continue and get stronger, as a great equalizer for small businesses.
People have started to connect more personally with their favorite small businesses. There's a little more patience and understanding that there's a human on the other side of the email, social post or Zoom call. Keep the human connection going, no matter what your business, there's always room and reward for providing a unique and personalized experience.
Businesses adapted to really challenging times due to Covid-19. Teachers, trainers, creatives, consultants, and more, people who's livelihood thrived on in person relationships and community building all had to learn the ways of working remote in order to keep the lights on. While certainly it makes sense for some businesses to get back into their local spaces, having a remote client, being able to work odd hours from home, hiring additional help in other places - that trend will continue.
How to switch customers to virtual sessions and classes
Online marketing and creating a community on social media has always been an on-the-up trend, throughout the pandemic, screen time has shot up tremendously. And with that, the perfect opportunity to go ham on creating your brand's online community. Keep cranking that content!
More and more, customers are expecting and choosing companies based on their environmental footstep and climate conscious choices. Whether that applies to your business or not, inevitably this desire amongst your future customers will only get stronger. Participate in the conversation and show that you're listening.
In 2020, social justice and injustice was put into the spotlight in many aspects of our lives and day to day. Businesses pledged support to change for the better and displayed their voices against racism and systemic oppression of BIPOC. It's more important than ever to keep these conversations going and make diversity and inclusion more and more normal amidst your local community, business and with the customers you serve.
One of the downsides of everything remote is that discovery can be quite hard online! Social media platforms are so prevalent and necessary aspects of a marketing strategy that it can often feel like that community building is getting you nowhere. That's where your existing customers come into play - hard. Referrals are the key to unlocking your next customers, so be sure to leverage your current customers through posts and stories so that they share on their profiles too, enticing all of their network to check you out.
When you're not working with customers in person, a lot of communication can be lost without body language and the comfort of seeing someone's face and expressions. Engaging online has helped a lot of businesses communicate more clearly and set expectations up front and ongoing. This is a great way to be always, as being clear on your services and checking in regularly with your customers will create a transparent and important rapport.
Many businesses rallied together to create hashtags trend like #smallbusinessaturday, #supportlocalbusinesses #shoplocal, #shopsmall - and for a good reason! Businesses are stronger in number, and there's a lot of amazing partnerships and support that can come from buddying up with your local community.
From Zoom to Squarespace, to Calendly and Bounce House (heyo), businesses that moved their services online had to learn technology quickly. Not only allowing them to serve existing customers, but also to be available to a wider clientele outside of their local communities.
2020 turned a lot of finances upside down. Millions of people lost their jobs, and many small businesses shut down permanently. We're not out of the woods yet, but 2020 may have shed light on unnecessary costs of business that may be here to stay! For businesses that have found a good way to work from home, you may never pay for a space again (and you can deduct some of your living expense in your taxes!). No doubt businesses have had to change their revenue models, offerings, and forecasting to stay afloat too - these are hard lessons to learn but will be valuable for a long time to come.
One aspect to keeping businesses going through 2020 was through nurturing relationships with existing customers. When people lost their jobs or were at home while non-essential businesses closed, a lot of schedules changed, a lot of people's necessities changed over night - keeping customers happy should always be a goal, but more than ever that importance was displayed.
Overnight, parents became at-home teachers, healthcare professionals became superheroes, businesses closed, people moved, a lot of uprooting happened without much say. Life is unpredictable, nothing can be planned for, but it's good to tread with the knowledge that things are unpredictable as you move through 2021 and beyond.
For businesses that have reopened during the pandemic, or plan to return to in-person work, now that we know a lot more about germs than we ever did before, please continue to be hygienic, sanitary, and don't put your fingers in your mouth, or anyone else's mouth.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel! By the summer, fall and definitely (hopefully) 2022. If your business has survived the pandemic, or if you started a business during the pandemic (hello!!!!!) then allow yourself the opportunity to set some goals and make a plan.
Will you continue with remote or hybrid meetings? Will you stay local or engage with customers in any zip code? Will you invest in marketing on a specific social media platform? Feel a little relief and positivity as we move forward with the year.
If you want to take advantage of number 1, 3 and 10 - by easily selling your classes and sessions online, Bounce House can help!
It takes 5 minutes to create a web page for your service type, allowing a painless way to book new customers and a painless way to keep you organized with payments and your daily schedule.