Is the road ahead even visible?

As more and more obstacles and restrictions get hurled at American small business, it can become both difficult, and frustrating, to get a handle on where things actually are and where they might be headed. Is there a road ahead? Is it visible? Can we even see it? This seems to be the questions recently asked by the US Small Business Administration. What they found may surprise more than a few. The following is taken directly from that recently published research:

  • For small businesses across America, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in history.  Despite the coronavirus pandemic, small business owners have been resilient, pivoting, and adapting their business models to navigate continually changing conditions. With the new year on the horizon, there are potential new opportunities to take advantage of and ways to adapt to challenges you may face.
  • Businesses will continue to prioritize e-commerce. While e-commerce was already growing before the pandemic, a report by IBM shows the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping has sped up by roughly five years. According to the report, e-commerce is projected to grow by 20% in total in 2020. To prepare for this shift in consumer spending, fine-tune your small business’s e-commerce presence in 2021.

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  • Alternative payment options will proliferate. Another trend that is likely to last into 2021 and beyond is the dominance of alternative payment options. In their annual State of Retail Payments study, the National Retail Federation found that no-touch payments (e.g. contactless credit and debit cards or mobile pay) for retailers have increased 69%  since January. Among retailers that have implemented contactless payments, 94% expect the increase to continue over the next 18 months.
  • Remote work will persist. During the pandemic, many small businesses shifted to part-time or full-time remote work schedules in response to local ordinances. According to a survey by Intermedia, 57% of small to medium-sized business owners said they will continue to offer remote work options in the long term. Depending on your type of business, you may need to consider offering remote work options to compete for talented workers in 2021 and beyond.

-Written by Kevin Sawyer