7 Small Business Trends That Will Matter for 2021 Read more on Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch
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Every year for the past 20 or so, I’ve wrapped up the year with my predictions for trends in the coming year.
I am also usually present. But it’s really more testament to the fact that trends dominate us rather than dominate us. So, it is not that difficult to spot them if you are paying attention.
Add to this that a trend is usually mainly “tipped over” until it is honestly something that small business owners need to pay attention to. Think social media, mobile marketing, or AI in Heaven.
Ah, but then 2020 happened, and anything that could have overpowered anyone was a lot more unoriginal and presumptuous. The trend picked up pace and became more of a fact than a trend – zoom Any? A new behavior that may have taken years to inculcate is now instantly second nature.
It’s going to take a whole new level of insight to nail this year’s trends. The trick this year lies in the ability to recognize the behavior that may emerge from change, or forced trends if you prefer. For example, is business travel going to take a long time to recover? Are big conferences on hold for the time being? Will people also come to office expecting 15 virtual meetings?
So, what do we make of any of these?
I doubt you can count on many pundits using this time to rehash an already worn line about marketers wanting to be more human. That business will be more about people and less about what it was before COVID.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that a) doing the same thing you were doing in a different format is a novelty and b) that anything in your industry will look exactly the same again.
This year the friction over change came to naught because there was no alternative. Expect some people to try to go back to what they knew and still others to reevaluate and start all over again.
I think there’s been a lot of business self-discovery, but let’s not oversimplify the result. Because we were forced to deal with change that we do not fully understand, it has led to some introspection. But where we’ll land is, frankly, anyone’s guess and leads me to my first instinct.
1) Paying attention becomes a survival mechanism
In 2021, as in most years, businesses will thrive and survive due to a number of factors, but next year those that best spot change of the moment will be more equipped to grow with their customers.
2020 showed us how fast everything can change as well as how fast we can react and then change and react again. I think it’s the commercial version of present moment mindfulness.
Don’t take anything for granted; Something that feels like momentum may be a stripe for the feeling of the moment. Talk to your customers as much as possible, not because they can tell you what they need or want but because they can tell you how they feel.
Expect fear to be the number one feeling for most of the year. Tune your strategic thinking to find ways to become a light in the dark.
2) everything gets smaller
From a practical point of view, we have already seen this. Conferences, meetings, gatherings of any kind have come to a halt, and we all have to learn to gather again, no matter how much we think we crave it.
Expect a push for less content, shorter videos, more intimate launches, short-courses, 142-page books instead of the classic 284 pages.
This trend will be driven by people’s desire for something that feels more personal than the designs on the market.
Design, a true barometer of change, has already moved in this direction. Note the larger headline fonts, muted color splashes of retro illustrations, and more white space on web pages.
Smaller also means less complicated, and you can expect that to play into a big dollop of nostalgia. The sight of families moving around their neighborhoods on bikes throughout 2020 sparked an emotional desire for simplicity.
3) AI becomes practical
Almost every trend article you come across this year will talk about AI in some way or the other. While I mention it here as a trend, I do so for the sake of some of the practical things that the now brings rather than the future promise of the technology.
Roll-out in mid-2020, without receiving more technical details about the methodology Generative Pre-trained Transformers 3 Or GPT-3 made AI a useful tool for many applications.
No longer limited to those annoying bots at website help desks, AI is now being embedded into our basic typing tasks. You might have noticed that when you compose an email in Gmail, the application keeps suggesting sentence completions for you.
This isn’t just a feature Google added; This is AI at work powering routine tasks.
This fall, I wrote my latest book, ultimate marketing engine (HarperCollins Leadership September 2021), Entirely in Google Docs. I was amazed how often the suggested AI helped me write better or at least easier sentences than a simple suggested opening.
Look for a host of tools, services, and websites in 2021 aimed at making writing easier. tools like headline And marketmuse The way content is created will change.
AI applications can already write an article based on some fed keywords. Now, is this award winning prose? Well, no, but is that blog post you paid $15 to write as good as the AI - probably not. AI writers can get you 80% of the way there, and then you, brilliant content strategist that you are, can spend your energy making it shine and get it read by others.
This will dramatically shake up the content creation, social posting and independent industries.
4) Talent investing is back in style
Most large businesses understand the competitive nature of attracting and retaining their best people. Therefore, they often invest heavily in recruitment and employee branding initiatives.
Small businesses can rarely afford extravagant perks to attract talent, but one trend I think will grow in small business is talent development.
Even if revenue is low and budgets are tight, I conjecture that small business owners seeking training and mentoring opportunities to grow, develop, and cope send a clear signal that their People are an important part. of their success.
It’s always been an important topic, but I think we’ll see a return to a fundamental commitment to employee engagement around things like benefits and skills development that won’t just be limited to big biz.
Small business is a great target market right now if you have the skills, mindset, and even training for personal development.
5) Video gets personal again
I said this last year, so here’s that part again.
Video will continue to evolve as a content medium and act as a bridge to some of the other trends. Most notably, the act of paying attention and being small.
I think video, think of it as asynchronous virtual content, will take another huge leap and boom zoom Screen we are in front of more personalized 1 to 1 platforms for sales, technical support even in the form of commenting and collaboration.
Expect to use tools like loom And bombomb to continue growing. I mean, face it, who wants to read that 4 paragraph email when they can just close their eyes and click play.
6) UX and SEO are joined at the hip
A few years ago, it was fashionable to talk about the combination of content and SEO. Now that content is basically air online; Talking about the concept as two is kind of a passing thing.
But this year a new player has made a splash – UX or User Experience. UX as a concept is not really new. I mean, navigation and content structure are UX. So is site speed and security. However, with its mobile-first point of view, Google is going to raise the SEO bar another notch next year.
You better understand three words for 2021 – Core Web Vitals.
This isn’t a technical post, so you’ll just have to research this yourself, but suffice it to say that sites that load slowly or that Google thinks don’t provide a great mobile user experience are in the SEO game. are suffering.
Normal mother Google has gone so far as to publicly claim that in 2021 they plan to combine Core Web Vitals with other ranking signals.
My go-to source for education on anything related to SEO is my friend Brian Dean at Backlinko. You can find high quality stuff here – especially when it comes to Learning more about the main web vitals.
You can see what Google thinks about your top web vitals right now in Google Search Console.
7) Coaching Rank swell
During 2020 some people found that corporate jobs were not so stable or fun anymore. Some get fired up and start the coaching or consulting business they yearned to start, while others take a moment to pause to rethink their life path in general.
My final prediction is that the number of people who decide to start a coaching business and decide now is the time to get a coach will skyrocket over the next year.
I think 2021 will be a year of recovery and personal growth and, in some respects, one of changing priorities.
This crystal ball stuff is fun, but more than anything, stay curious in this coming year, and you may truly discover a new and exciting chapter in business and life because the only thing I know for sure is that Change is about to come.
You can also listen to my 2021 Small Business Trends podcast edition here
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