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6 small business trends to watch out for

Business Development

6 small business trends to watch out for

Updated: 11 February 2022

There’s been a seismic shift in business over the past two years due in part to both the pandemic and Brexit. Now, as we look at the year ahead, a few trends are beginning to emerge that could help take your business even further. Here, we look at 6 of the small business trends you’ll want to watch this year.

1. Sustainability is here to stay

With the Government’s target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, small businesses across the country are stepping up to the plate to try and reduce their carbon emissions. Research shows that 11% of small businesses have already accessed business finance to support net zero actions, while 22% say they’re prepared to do so in the next five years. 

Making your operations more sustainable can be an attractive hook to get an increasingly climate-conscious customer base in the door, but it also has other noticeable benefits as well. For instance, things like reducing energy usage, using less packaging, minimising waste or selling on any waste that can be reused, can all help to cut costs and increase your profits. 

2. Mental health is more important than ever before

We’ve seen a greater trend towards better mental health support in the workplace over the past few years, with the pandemic in particular putting its importance in the spotlight. In a recent survey, four in ten workers said work stress has impacted their personal lives and four in five small business owners report experiencing poor mental health at least a few times a year.

Promoting healthy wellbeing in the workplace has been shown to increase productivity by as much as 12%, so it’s more important than ever before for business owners to ensure they have proper support in place for both their employees, and for themselves.

Tips for reducing staff absences and improving wellbeing.

3. Cardless is the new cashless

It seems not that long ago that we were all talking about how everything was going cashless, but in 2022, it’s time to go even further. Within the past 2 years, the consumer market has seen a big trend upwards towards apps like Apple and Google Pay, with a quarter of all adults in the UK using mobile payments in 2020.

Offering cardless payment options is a big benefit for the consumer, but also for your business as well. It helps to speed up the checkout process both online and in store, and will help to bring in repeat business.

4. Shopping local is back and bigger than ever

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen increasing consumer support for local businesses and that trend is set to continue in 2022. In a recent survey, we found that 87% of respondents felt it was important to support small businesses, and a third planned to spend more money with small businesses at Christmas in 2021 compared to the same time in 2020.

In addition, the shortages caused by the pandemic and Brexit have shown the importance of locally made products and materials. Using UK-based suppliers can help to alleviate the longer lead and delivery times caused by supply chain disruption, and will also benefit customers — with our survey finding that 47% of respondents wanted locally made products.

5. It’s time to get comfortable with debt

While debt might be an uncomfortable trend for small business owners, more than half still face cash flow pressures, so in 2022, it might be time to reevaluate our relationship with it.

Borrowing to alleviate cash flow, buy new stock and equipment or enhance your productivity can all help towards growing your business and your profits. In addition, consolidating existing business debt through a business loan can both streamline your monthly outgoings while avoiding the high interest rates you might be charged on some credit cards. It all comes down to finding the best option that suits your current needs.

If you want to learn more about managing your business debt, the British Business Bank has created an informative guide that you can find here.

6. Remote working is the new normal

Remote working is now a prerequisite for office workers in 2022, with 85% of employees wanting a hybrid approach of both home and office working and it’s not hard to see why more employers are trying out this approach. Two-thirds of them report increased productivity for remote workers compared to in-office workers, so there are big gains to make if you’re willing to take the plunge.

More flexibility and a healthier work/life balance also leads to increased employee satisfaction, while businesses that choose to go fully remote can also potentially save on overheads by ditching their physical office as well. This won’t work for all businesses though, so consider a few options and then gauge the reaction from your employees to find the solution that works best for you.

11/02/22: While we want to help as much as we can, the information found here is provided solely for informational purposes and should not be considered financial or legal advice. To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, the information contained here. If you have any questions, please speak to your professional adviser or seek independent legal advice.

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