The world of business is ever changing, and the year 2022 is unlikely to be an exception to this rule. Business owners should always be aware of new trends on the horizon and the challenges or opportunities that may come with them. Let's make sure that you're prepared by diving into the biggest business trends to look out for in 2022.
Sustainability isn't perhaps so much a trend as a principle that's here to stay, but that only makes it more important.
As consumers become increasingly conscious, it's important that businesses take purposeful steps to reduce their environmental impact and learn how to communicate this to their customers and clients. Climate issues are only becoming more immediate, so the pressure is on for businesses to step up.
In 2022, employers will have a new challenge: how to engage and inspire their workforce. The pandemic has left many workers disillusioned, and this is only compounded by the fact that jobs are becoming increasingly automated. The key to success in 2022 will be finding ways to create value for employees before they leave you behind.
Although automation can, in some instances, alienate workers, it's possible to use AI to make jobs more engaging. By taking care of menial tasks, AI technology allows employees to focus on more complex and interesting issues and increase their sense of value. We see this in the accounting industry specifically. Software such as Xero and Quickbooks has become far more automated, so instead of having someone doing "data entry" we use this saved time to ask "what are the numbers telling us. What can we gain from this knowledge." How can you make your team feel valued for their expertise?
The pandemic proved that the entire world can change in an instant. Businesses that were unable to adapt quickly enough were behind and this won't change. It's crucial that organisations take steps now to ensure they're agile. More and more businesses are shifting towards leaner management styles and eliminating a lot of middle management to make their businesses more efficient. For earlier stage businesses who haven't built up management tiers, the opportunity to be flexible and fluid is one their greatest assets. We call this being "burstable" and quickly able to change tack, provided that we haven't fixed our operations and our costs. As you grow, consider whether new contracts are moving you away from being agile and whether this is a price worth paying. Ask yourself if you can have the same benefit in a more flexible arrangement.
Chances are that you've already noticed a change in social media and the way we interact with brands over the past few years. The rise of influencer marketing is evidence of this; people want to see who's behind their favourite brand or product and make sure they're getting an authentic connection.
When businesses are looking for investment I always say "People invest in People". Make sure your face is visible to your audience. Businesses are built through knowing, liking and trusting the people behind, so it's time to stop hiding! (cue me using my own image on this article....)
In 2022, flexible working will become a standard feature of most jobs. In fact, it's already happening in some sectors and industries – just look at the huge numbers of gig economy workers that are able to work from home or on their own schedule. Businesses that are unable to adapt quickly enough will lose out on talented workers who can work from home or even remotely abroad.
Now that many of the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, we'll also see more integration between physical and digital space as remote employees find new ways to interact with their colleagues and customers. Taking on new office space used to be a sign of business growth but these days just isn't needed or valued and can really boost the bottom line. Be careful what you invest in as you grow your business. Are your choices aligned with what your future employees want and customers expect? If not, you could be wasting your money.
In a similar vein, hybrid events will also become part of the norm in 2022. In a world where remote working is more and more common, it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep everyone engaged face-to-face at industry events. The solution? Hybrid conferences that take place online as well as offline – think virtual speaker sessions or breakout areas for networking with people from all over the world.
There's a reason why more and more businesses are opting for hybrid conferences. They're an effective way to keep your team engaged in the physical space while also giving them the opportunity to network with colleagues from all over the world online, too. Make the most of businesses without geographical boundaries! Where in the world will your business take you next?
These are just some of the biggest business trends that we'll see play out over the next few years. By thinking ahead, businesses will be able to adapt as the world continues to evolve around them and even use these changes to gain a competitive edge, not to mention embark on an exciting and profitable journey!