After surviving the pandemic for almost two years, many business owners considered 2022 the year of recovery. Surprisingly 71% of small and medium businesses survived the pandemic by going digital, which is why monitoring and adapting to market trends is crucial. But fears of recession, inflation, and unreliable supply chain are all the challenges still looming, dampening business goals.
photo credit: George Morina / Pexels
While nobody knows if the recession will loosen its grip on the economy, it is certainly fair to say that small businesses are resilient enough to survive the challenge. Indeed, 2023 is the year of small business owners betting on themselves while focusing on the external environment factors within their control, such as embracing the latest business trends.
Besides, it’s the only way small business owners can stay committed and optimistic heading into 2024. For small businesses, it is inevitable to adapt to changing market trends by monitoring the evolving business norms and regulations. As a small business owner, attaining competitive advantages requires you to monitor emerging trends and industry norms.
So, without further ado, let’s discuss a few trends small business owners should pay heed to in 2023:
1. Tax Automation
Tax analysts spend ample time performing repetitive tasks, including scrutinizing spreadsheets, manual data entry, verifying numbers, or generating reports. However, by adapting to the modern trend of tax automation solutions, small businesses can simplify repetitive administrative tasks, enabling tax professionals to use their expertise for high-value tasks like discovering tax opportunities.
So, as the business tax deadlines for 2023 approach, it is an opportunity for small businesses to leverage tax automation solutions. This way, they can gather and compile their relevant tax information, such as compliance reporting, workflow details, or analytics, in a centralized location, making it easier for decision-makers to track and monitor the details at a glance.
Since business taxation is an essential financial activity that every owner is compelled to perform, leveraging advanced software to manage it is advised. Moreover, modern tax automation solutions use high-level encryption for all sensitive data. They can keep your organization’s financial information secure while reducing the chances of malicious activities or fraud.
2. Focus on Company Culture
Focusing on company culture is another trend that can significantly enable small businesses to grow. Diversity and inclusion are two buzzwords often found in every discussion surrounding company culture. Fostering a collaborative and inclusive company culture enables you to retain employees and establish brand identity.
A company’s culture drastically affects employee productivity and performance while representing your company’s public image and reputation. According to recent surveys, organizations with winning company cultures often see 72% higher employee engagement ratings. That’s all the more reason to focus on your organizational culture.
As such, a strong culture should only be based on positive core values such as transparency, integrity, respect, and trust. Ensure all your policies and procedures are based on creating a positive culture and upholding your company’s values. When a business has a strong culture, it creates a sense of support and community. It makes employees feel valued and fosters clear and open communication while encouraging teamwork, engagement, and inclusivity, turning regular employees into brand advocates.
3. User Generated Content
For a small business with limited revenue and budget, leveraging strategic UGC or user-generated content is one of the easiest ways to market its brand. It’s the most trending and cost-effective way to identify and take advantage of your brand’s biggest advocates. UGC is brand-specific and original content created by your existing customers and published on channels, including social media. It may come in several forms, including videos, images, testimonials, reviews, or podcasts.
So, during uncertain market conditions, search for marketers who can strategically turn your most devoted clients into a source of revenue. Since authenticity is what most customers now crave and look for in a brand, nothing could be more authentic and genuine than the voice of your existing customer. On top of that, it’s often a less expensive option than traditional marketing efforts. It also offers a viable way to build a community around your brand and expand your reach, let alone boost brand recognition.
4. Generative AI
AI or artificial intelligence is no more a fantasy but a game changer for all businesses. Today’s modern AI-powered tools have empowered business owners to streamline operations, enhance customer experience and make data-driven decisions. Though this technology has recently entered the mainstream, its implications are transforming many functions throughout a business.
AI is penetrating every field and sector, from predictive analytics and robust marketing strategies to interactive chatbots offering 24/7 customer support. Some of the ways generative AI is replacing manual labor include creating marketing and business plans, handling customer support requests, creating and deploying products, and more.
For the same reason, many large corporations and capitalists now invest billions of dollars in adapting AI-empowered tools. While no one can predict its scope of implications, small businesses can expect to reduce costs and streamline their operations by leveraging and adapting this powerful technology timely.
5. Remote or Flexible Work Settings
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations were forced to switch to remote work models and, in turn, realized that the remote work model is not only promising but offers several benefits over traditional office work environment models. For instance, it provided increased flexibility, better work-life balance, higher productivity, time savings, and improved quality of life.
The same goes for employees who find the remote work model more convenient than office-based jobs. Moreover, employees are now looking for jobs that provide increased flexibility, such as hybrid office models and remote work. They tend to pass over now the opportunities that require 100% on-site work.
Attaining continued success for small business owners often becomes challenging, given the large industry leaders occupying the market share. Nonetheless, by monitoring key trends reshaping the business sector, most small businesses can maintain a competitive edge in the market. From automating taxes and fostering a strong company culture to leveraging advanced technology like AI, small businesses can remain thriving in today’s dynamic landscape.