The year 2021 has seen us reconsidering our previous ways of working and envisioning what our work might look like in the future. The Great Resignation is in full swing, new prospects are emerging, and many people are considering starting their own business.
Organisations across all industries are dealing with rapid transformation. Furthermore, there are massive global upheavals and difficulties to reckon with, such as climate change and shifting political and economic power. Our world is rapidly changing. Organisations must learn to adapt as well.
We have compiled six significant trends that offer a view of how corporate operations are evolving to meet the demands of our quickly changing world.
According to the 2020 market analysis conducted by NYU Stern, ‘sustainability-advertised items grew 7.1x faster than products that were not marketed as sustainable’. People are more aware than ever of their behaviours’ environmental impact, which is reflected in their purchasing habits. According to a GWI study, 52% of consumers prefer items with fewer or recycled packaging, 48% want more affordable eco-friendly products, and 44% prefer products with more natural components.
Every organisation needs to strive to minimise or reduce its environmental costs. Decarbonising the supply chain is a good place to start, but forward-thinking companies are looking beyond the supply chain to improve sustainability across the board. And, of course, resilience is tied to sustainability because resilience means adapting and surviving through time. In this day and age of aware consumption, any firm that overlooks sustainability is unlikely to succeed.
SMEs idea: If you care about the environment, starting an e-commerce business selling sustainable products could be a terrific alternative for you. People are becoming more aware of the need for environmental preservation, driving up demand for such products. The market for sustainable products is expected to reach $150 billion by the end of this year. You can certainly benefit from launching a small e-store. Notebooks, cloth tote bags, reusable food bags, travel mugs, stainless steel water bottles, biodegradable cutlery, bowls, plates, and other recycled plastic products can be introduced. You can easily create an e-commerce website to sell such items, or you can launch your brand on a platform such as Amazon, Etsy, or eBay.
We now have increasingly capable robots and artificial intelligence systems that can perform activities humans used to accomplish. Employers are now faced with a critical question: how do we balance intelligent technology and human intelligence? What roles should machines be given? Which positions do people excel at? Without a doubt, automation will impact every industry, so business leaders must prepare their companies – and their people – for the changing nature of work.
As AI grows more mature, small businesses will be able to understand how their enterprises are operating and how their customers could benefit from extra services in the same way that huge corporations do. Big data will allow boutique merchants to customise their products across numerous platforms for each customer’s needs.
The main concern here is a sustained emphasis on privacy legislation, which will certainly be implemented across many nations over the next few years. Small businesses will need to hire a professional to make their websites compliant or face penalties if that happens.
Organisations have always been quite hierarchical and rigid in their structures. However, this is changing as leaders see the need for flatter, more agile systems that enable the company to rearrange items and respond to change quickly. It is also a reaction to the changing nature of work, specifically the increase of independent and remote employees.
This is the period of flatter organisational structures, more akin to flexible communities than a top-down pyramid structure.
COVID-19 accelerated new trends by bringing cashless and touchless payment choices from the margins to the mainstream. Consumer and merchant acceptance of Google Pay and Apple Pay (continues to grow. As Apple and Google continue to simplify the onboarding process for connecting credit cards to their merchant checkout programs, usage will skyrocket.
Another developing trend in finance is the use of Defi (decentralised finance). There is an activity in several blockchain technologies that allow Bitcoin, Etherum, and other cryptocurrencies to be spent at physical stores. Defi is a small but rapidly expanding segment of the financial sector. El Salvador just legalised Bitcoin as legal cash, and it is expected to be the first of many countries, particularly unbanked ones, to turn to crypto technology to avoid the need to build out a banking system based on outdated technology. While there isn’t much cryptocurrency technology can do for small businesses currently, it’s worth keeping an eye on. Companies like Stripe and Square will most likely offer technology to make it as simple as accepting Visa or Mastercard when it gets more common.
Prioritising good communication with your team is essential for making your business operate. Otherwise, a lack of communication with your team may result in poor teamwork and even workplace turmoil. Communication tools and software have become a must-have trend in this remote era to boost communication. And it seems it will continue to play a significant role in the coming year.
Communication tools and applications can benefit your team, whether remote or not. Applications and tools such as video conferencing software and messaging platforms have flourished. And, like remote employment, they are likely to be around for a long time.
If you haven’t already done so and want to stay on top of the newest trends, try out some new communication apps at your company. Examine what works and what doesn’t, as well as what improves your team’s capacity to communicate and collaborate.
However, the ease of communication has produced a challenge. Everyone receives a continual stream of messages from different people throughout the day because it is easy to chat with anyone. Many people have found it challenging to focus for extended periods. This is unquestionably a new business trend globally.
This issue has prompted smartphone manufacturers such as Apple and Google to create screen-tracking apps. The average daily time spent using a smartphone has climbed dramatically in recent years, reaching 186 minutes per day in 2020. By 2022, it is predicted to be roughly 3 hours and 17 minutes per day.
Consumers today are looking for a more meaningful connection with brands. And, as a result of this need for connection, authenticity has emerged as a corporate trend in its own right. Authenticity fosters human relationships because, as humans, we like to see brands (and business leaders) demonstrate fundamental human qualities such as honesty, dependability, empathy, compassion, humility, and sometimes even a bit of vulnerability and fear. We want brands (and leaders) to care about issues and stand for something other than profit.
We are seeing important trends emerge as small firms plan for 2021 and 2022. Many small businesses will continue to consider remote work as a means to diversify their workforce. Competing against larger companies can be difficult for small enterprises in major cities regarding wages and benefits. Small businesses can locate people who better fit their culture and needs by recruiting remotely. By providing a quicker checkout experience, technologies such as Apple Pay and Google Pay make it simpler for small businesses to compete with e-commerce behemoths.
To summarise the emerging business trends, AI and big data will benefit small firms. Boutique CRM vendors will broaden their AI and big data solutions. This technology will lead to better marketing and operations decision-making for small firms.