We’ve passed the first quarter of 2022 and the world seems to largely be opening up again. However, the last two years have changed the way we operate in our daily lives, as well as in business. Big strides have been taken in how much people use technology and that’s something that all small businesses, including small ones, should be focus on changing this year.
Mental and emotional well-being are two more major talking points from recent times. This can—and should—have a major impact on the way you operate for both your employees and your customers. It means paying attention to the way you do business, hearing what those around you are saying, and making changes accordingly.
Flexibility and adaptability are still key functions of doing business in an almost post-pandemic world.
To thrive in 2022, these are some changes you should be looking to make to your small business:
1. Define The Purpose Of Your Brand
A business is about making a profit, yes. However, the general population today cares more about the brand they buy from and what it stands for, and successful brands are starting to take notice of this trend. Take a look at your business and see what pain point or problem you solve for your customers. Is it possible to change and make this your purpose?
For example, a courier company can make safe deliveries for their purpose. This is a big one in a world where people were unable or afraid to go out due to the pandemic. A focus on safety for customers and safety for the drivers can be the company’s purpose. This will probably resonate well with customers, making the business a more desirable choice.
2. Personalize The Customer Journey
Personalization is a huge concern for marketing and sales teams now. Customers want to know that the business they’re interacting with knows who they are and what they want. It’s crucial that you, as a small business, put this information and the customer itself at the center of every decision that you make. This means creating viable customer segments and analyzing as much data as possible about your customers.
A big change you can make for your small business is to think of the holistic customer journey with your business. This means from the very first time they come into contact with your brand, all the way through to their after-sales care. Marketing, sales and support must all have the same view and understanding of the customer in order to keep the experience personalized.
3. Embrace Digital Transformation
As already mentioned, technology has become a massive part of the way the world works now. The reliance on personal devices, instant communication and automated processes is everywhere, and it should be in your small business too.
It might seem contradictory to say you need to increase personalization but digitalize everything. However, digital transformation is about enhancing the way you operate rather than removing the human element.
With automated data collection, you can monitor every touch point your brand has with a customer and ensure that it’s a positive experience. You can also streamline your operations to ensure you and your staff have more time to deal with customers rather than doing mundane tasks.
4. Optimize The Customer Experience Through AI
On the subject of digital transformation, artificial intelligence (AI) is a massive one. These days, it’s become viable for even the smallest of businesses to deploy features like chatbots on their websites to improve customer service. A well-designed and deployed AI chatbot can help far more customers, and far quicker, than a small sales and customer service team ever could. The Ideta chatbot builder is an effective tool for your small business conversion funnel. You can implement design your own chatbot and use NLP (Natural Language Processing) without coding.
What’s exciting about AI is that it continuously learns after it’s been deployed. The more data they are fed by you and by the customers it interacts with, the better it will get at helping your customers find answers and navigate through your website. It’s a surefire way to improve your sales and boost your reputation.
5. Build Your Social Media Presence
We’ve all accepted that social media is simply part of life now. It infiltrates almost all areas of our day-to-day existence, from going out to staying home. Today, it’s not enough to merely have a presence on the main social media platforms for a brand to succeed. You need to focus on building that presence and implement a cohesive strategy that ensures every touchpoint promotes the same, well-crafted identity.
Influencer marketing is one area where you could boost your social media presence. It’s no longer about getting a big celebrity or someone with a large following to help market your brand. There are countless micro-influencers that are perfect for niche content that can influence and improve your social media standing as a small business.
Social commerce is something else that you need to be aware of. This is quickly taking over as the primary place for e-commerce. People are purchasing products and services straight from Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest now and other platforms are following. It’s definitely worth exploring if you’re set up for online sales.
6. Focus On Employee Wellbeing
A lot of focus is placed on customer journeys and experiences these days, but there is another major trend for businesses to focus on the well-being of their employees. Much has changed in the last two years, with people being forcibly switched to remote work setups and others feeling like they’ve been putting their lives on the line every time they go to work. Finding ways to help your employees and ensure they’re feeling well is key to building a strong business in 2022.
Factors like quality of life and good values have become increasingly important, and you may find that your employees are less keen on working in a place that doesn’t serve them. Spend some time talking to your staff about how you can create an excellent workplace culture and you’ll boost retention and have a happier, more productive workplace.
Even minor upgrades are always going to make a difference to your small business. From implementing chatbots to boosting your customer service, to looking after your employees and defining your brand purpose, 2022 is all about change.
Now is the time to learn from the past and move forward using the tools that are at your fingertips.