The bottom line: in 2022 if your business is not online you are going to starve. While malls and department stores have been on the way out for years now, the pandemic has continued to accelerate the move away from the store front. In 2022, we will continue to see small and medium sized businesses look to sell a majority online and improve their e-commerce systems. This includes branching out to other forms of payment, like CashApp. SMBs are looking for new ways to get paid and, crucially, how to get paid faster. Through the next year, we will continue to see small businesses adopt new payment systems and move away from standardized payment options like the credit card.
As SMBs invest further in e-commerce, payment and online systems, cybersecurity will be top-of-mind. With data breaches becoming a common occurrence and ransomware risks at an all-time high, as business owners implement new online solutions, they will simultaneously need to invest in new cybersecurity solutions to protect them.
Tech Is Still the #1 Investment
Currently, Millennials and Gen Z, the two most tech-savvy generations, who also comprise the largest segment of the workforce and largest population today respectively, are driving the ways we work and consume.
This year, we saw hybrid work become the norm for many, especially larger companies. But, as younger generations continue drive the hybrid work model, SMB’s investment in technology to improve communication and allow for people to work anywhere, at any time, will be crucial. Likewise, as Millennials and Gen Z look for quick and seamless online customer experiences, SMBs will need to adopt new technologies to ensure they have a clear digital footprint. From investing in quick and easy payment solutions to mobile-friendly webpages, the SMBs that make it the easiest for customers to consume from them will continue to have the upper hand when it comes to online purchasing.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics Will Prove Crucial for Those Looking to Scale Operations
The more insights derived, automation implemented and processes simplified, the more successful SMBs will be in 2022. By increasing engagement with customers and providing insight into what is actually important to them, AI can optimize operations to help business owners with everything from improving customer service to hiring to marketing and more.
Additionally, as SMBs continue to face hiring challenges through 2022, robotics technology will prove useful as they look to cut down on man power, respond the current market and gain efficiencies. The ability to automate process and earmark certain tasks for robotic assistance will also aid SMBs in their quest to provide a more hybrid work model, allowing employees to stay home in circumstances where robotics can take over tasks that were formerly handled in-person.
SMBs Must Get Creative When It Comes to Hiring
SMBs will have to think outside the box as they look to hire in 2022. While the hiring market will have to course correct at some point over the next year, currently, small business owners are having to contend with larger companies raising salaries and offering up large bonuses to attract talent, actions which many smaller businesses aren’t always able to match. For those who aren’t able to compete in terms of strictly financial compensation, getting creative with employee benefits will be crucial. Businesses that tailor offers to their prospective employees – like offering anything from additional PTO to flexibility around things like bringing your pet to work – will be the most successful in securing top talent.
SMBs should also consider looking into more development and training programs for their employees. This is not only a draw for many potential hires, but will also be necessary for many new employees, as hiring challenges persist and SMBs have to consider hiring candidates outside their usual scope or with less experience. The SMBs that invest in their people will be the most successful when it comes to employee retention and hiring in 2022.
Terence Cummings is the Vice President of Business Operations at Sage, the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs.