Ready to make the most of the New Year? Entrepreneurs looking to thrive after the ups and downs of 2020 need to understand what’s coming in 2021. We’ve summarized the top trends our team has noticed to give you a jump start on the year ahead.
The widespread lockdowns caused by COVID-19 rapidly accelerated this trend, which will only continue to grow this year. Mobile commerce is more important than ever, and you need to have a digital presence with online sales at the forefront of your process. Social networks like Facebook and Instagram have become more prominent sales drivers; users curate lists and promote businesses that align with their interests, including social causes they support. Virtual efficiency is also increasing because of the rise of automation and AI to streamline business processes and models. Investing in your digital infrastructure so that you can optimize your operations and meet customers’ needs is crucial in 2021.
Rise of remote working
The ability to work from home is now the rule, not the exception. As a result, businesses engaging with the rise of remote working will continue to spring up and grow this year. This ranges from services like delivered office accessories or food snack packages to enjoy during meetings, to morale-boosting gamification activities and leisure fashion for remote workers. Supports for those facing increased anxiety amid the isolation and disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, like app-based support groups and peer-to-peer help lines, are also surging.
These days, customers are eager for businesses to engage with them in a way they find safe and convenient. The explosion of contactless services offering convenience and accessibility will continue this year, with delivery, shipping and distanced or virtual experiences poised for growth. Whether it’s grab-and-go stores, vending machines or digital fashion show runways, shifting to low- or no-contact service gives an outlet to pent-up demand from many customers who might otherwise opt out of dining in or visiting a brick-and-mortar location.
Microentrepreneurship and hobbyist businesses
Another trend that will grow to further prominence this year is the continued rise of smaller-sized businesses. Microbusinesses, which the Saskatchewan government defines as having 0-4 employees, are more agile and adaptable, able to embrace quick shifts in the business landscape that are more likely to occur as the world grapples with the pandemic. Look no further than the lockdown-fueled increase in activities such as baking bread, beekeeping and making chocolate bombs that then led to growth in hobbyist businesses. Many new entrepreneurs have found a passion for entrepreneurship by experimenting with hobbies that quickly grew into more.
Local, local, local
At a time when customers are especially motivated to shop small and support businesses owned locally, this is the year to strengthen your local ties and showcase what makes you who you are. With a narrower scope, niche markets like vegetarians, gamers, remote workers, shoe collectors and so on can form the foundation of a great customer-centric business. People are also increasingly interested in putting their money into action supporting diverse entrepreneurs, such as seeking out 2SLGBTQ+ and Black-owned businesses. This change represents less a trend than a fundamental shift in how consumers merge their values with their spending. What it means for entrepreneurs? Think hyperlocal and true to yourself.
Ready to go?
Whether you’re just starting up or looking to get to the next level, we have the business resources to help you. We support entrepreneurs across the Saskatoon Region and Saskatchewan; talk to one of our advisors, browse our informative fact sheets or check out our events calendar to learn how to make this your best year yet.