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2020 was a challenging year for small businesses, with lots of change coming both suddenly and on the horizon. Now, with 2021 upon us, it’s vital for small business owners to monitor the top small business trends expected to influence business in the new year in order to make adjustments and position yourself for success.

Keep an eye on these five small business trends in 2021 and consider how your business can adapt.

1. Focus on e-commerce

E-commerce has been growing significantly over the last decade, with online retailers pushing against the prevalence of brick-and-mortar stores. After the changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce has become more important than ever as customers remain concerned about the safety of in-person shopping. This is likely to continue into 2021 as the pandemic continues to impact the U.S.

Shifting to an e-commerce model might allow small regional businesses to expand their market even slightly, if not much more. Retail businesses may benefit from the added opportunities e-commerce affords them this year.

2. Remote work will continue

Another effect of the COVID-19 pandemic was the abrupt shift to widespread remote work. While not possible for all industries, many businesses were able to adjust to an all-digital or hybrid work-from-home model that kept employees safe.

Remote work is anticipated to continue through 2021, both because of the pandemic continuing and the flexibility many businesses discovered due to the switch. Plus, shifting to a fully remote model could help your business reduce overhead costs. Businesses with remote work capabilities would do well to explore more robust systems and tools to facilitate productive, efficient remote work for their teams.

3. Activism and community good

Business social responsibility saw a huge increase in 2020 on multiple fronts. Customers are increasingly interested in businesses that not only provide good products and service but are also giving back and doing good for their local communities.

More and more businesses are finding ways to address public concerns and infuse activism into their branding. For example, many companies have adopted sustainability initiatives to reduce their carbon footprints. Others may commit to donating to charity or volunteering to aid in a specific cause. Aligning your brand with social responsibility may help humanize your business, deepening your connections and building trust with customers.

4. Focus on profits

Following the revenue-related challenges presented in 2020, small businesses are expected to take a more conservative approach in 2021 with focus on stability and profitability.

An early-year focus for most small businesses will likely include cost-saving strategies, cash flow optimization and cash reserve building.

5. Local connections

The impact of the pandemic on the business community has shifted consumer attention to the “shop small” movement, driven by a desire to preserve local small businesses.

Business owners can tap into this movement by strengthening connections with community members and customers. Local outreach efforts, targeted marketing and promotions can help draw the attention of local customers and build those important connections.

Heading into 2021, many small businesses will need to reevaluate their processes and financial strategies. If you’re in need of a capital infusion or startup funding to kick off the new year, Tenet Financial Group is here to help. Click here to connect with a Senior Consultant to discuss your small business or franchise capitalization needs.