After a couple of rough years, small businesses have embraced 2022 with welcome arms. 2020 and 2021 saw the start of a global pandemic like nothing in living memory, which brought with it a massive economic downtown. Add to this waves of lockdowns that crippled small businesses and saw many struggling, and more than a few shutting their doors permanently.
So it’s not surprising that many small business owners breathed a sigh of relief when 2022 rolled around. And it’s true that things are looking up – lockdowns are (hopefully) a thing of the past, consumers are returning to in-person shopping, and life is more or less getting back to normal. However, this doesn’t mean that things are a cake-walk for small businesses: there are still plenty of challenges facing enterprises that are still reeling from the last couple of years.
Let’s take a look at the 6 biggest threats facing small businesses in 2022 and how to address them.
1. Digital Transformation
The COVID-19 pandemic has left it’s impact in a range of ways, and perhaps no more so than digital transformation. The world was already heading down this road before the pandemic hit, but there’s no doubt that COVID accelerated this trend exponentially. All kinds of businesses had to shift to online to survive lockdowns, including companies that traditionally operated purely offline.
The lockdowns may have ended, but consumer patterns have changed forever. This means that small businesses, from stores and cafes to manufacturers need to have a strong online presence to stay competitive in 2022. To achieve this, you need to make sure your SEO game is strong and you have an effective digital marketing strategy, especially when it comes to social media.
2. New Modes of Work
Another major impact of digital transformation in recent years is that it has changed the way we work. Specifically, more workers than ever want to work remotely and enjoy the flexibility that this brings.
For some small businesses, it’s simply not an option to allow your employees to work remotely. For example, if you run a brick-and-mortar store, you need you employees to be there in person to serve your customers. However, for many others, offering remote or hybrid working options will help you to retain your staff and attract new workers.
3. Health and Hygiene
The pandemic is far from over, and people are now more conscious than ever when it comes to health and hygiene. As a small business, it’s important to pay close attention to this area so that your staff will feel safe to come to work and your customers feel comfortable shopping in your store. Not to mention the potential loss of productivity you’ll suffer if your employees get sick!
Proper workplace hygiene goes beyond regular cleaning. You also need to make sure that you deal with waste appropriately, as this can be a significant health risk. A service like PHS wastekit will help you to store and dispose of your waste properly to protect the health of your workers and visitors.
4. Talent Shortage
In 2022, we’re experiencing a global talent shortage that is effecting a wide range of sectors. Employees across many industries are struggling to recruit qualified candidates. This is also translating into issues with retaining their staff, as they are being poached by other companies in the context of the talent shortage.
In this environment, it’s important to make your business more attractive to potential employees such as by offering flexible work arrangements. Employee retention is also key – talk to your staff, ask them if they’re happy in their roles, and what you can do to make sure they stick around.
5. Cyber Security
With more focus on online work and sales comes greater cyber security concerns. The number of cyber attacks targeting businesses greatly increased in 2021, and is continuing to rise in 2022. Small businesses are not immune from this, with more hackers and scammers targeting SMEs, often because of their lax security.
To combat this, it’s important for small businesses to set up their cybersecurity and protect themselves from these kinds of threats. This includes not only keeping their anti-virus software up to date and improving network security, but also making sure that passwords are secure and educating staff about phishing scams and other threats.
In 2022, consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious. News of climate change, pollution, and water shortages mean that more people are coming to understand the environmental crises facing the planet, and want to do something about them. One way consumers can do this is through their wallets, and the products they buy.
Therefore, if you want to attract more customers in the modern market, it’s important to build your green credentials. This could be through offering more sustainable products, or through other eco-friendly initiatives from how you run your business to supporting environmental charities.