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Small businesses – A 2021 roundup

Business - 30/12/2021

2021 has been almost as eventful as 2020. Another lockdown, the vaccine rollout, and the longer-term effects of the pandemic are just a few of the highlights from the past 12 months.

As we approach the end of the year, we wanted to share a 2021 roundup for SMEs. The big trend changes, the successes, goals and predictions for the future.  

An online business world

Over the course of 2021, 65% of businesses started doing more online. As physical space and interaction became somewhat of a distant memory, people adapted to online consumption. From eCommerce to digital marketing and social media, to virtual networking, online has become the new norm.

SMEs had a big part to play in this. Some of the hardest hit businesses by the pandemic, SMEs had to innovate and find other ways to get their product and brand out there. One way to do that was cashing in on the massive trend of eCommerce. 

A level playing field?

In some ways, multiple lockdowns and the inevitable move to online has levelled the playing field for SMEs. ‘Be The Business’ surveyed 250,000 people and found that 21% of respondents had pivoted their business in a meaningful way.

And with a more level playing field, SMEs could keep up with their bigger competitors. For example, BrewDog started manufacturing hand sanitizers in April, and a lot of smaller scale gin distilleries in the UK followed suit. 

SMEs often have more flexibility to reassess what their business offers. This meant that despite a financial hit, they were able to bounce back and not be overshadowed by the bigger brands.

An economic rebound?

Many business experts are hopeful for an economic rebound as we move out of the height of the pandemic. And SMEs have a big part to play in that. 

Simply Business UK CEO Alan Thomas comments on the boost in market stall traders and how they’ll help kickstart an economic rebound. He said: “Our report showed optimistic results of new businesses emerging in the food and artistic sectors. Self-employed jobs are also finally seeing a rise as we distance ourselves from the pandemic.”

So perhaps it’s not just a level playing field. Small businesses and SMEs are doing much more than catching up, they’re staying ahead and boosting the market.

More flexibility for employees

In 2020, employees and business owners were hit hard by shutdowns and reduced hours of operation. And that’s not taking into account the mental and physical impact caused by the illness itself, causing a huge increase in sickness absences.

Employers have had to become more flexible. Hiring more part-time employees, adapting to working from home, offering more flexible hours. And most importantly, prioritising well-being on a much bigger scale.

A brighter 2022

Everyone is hopeful for a brighter 2022. The most important thing to remember is, as we’ve learned from both 2020 and 2021, nothing is certain. Sometimes, it’s just not possible to prepare for everything. 

At Numero, we want to help SMEs where we can. Whether that’s outsourcing accounts to give you time to adapt to the new way of working, offering training to help you manage your automated systems, or giving advice and support. 

Get in touch with us today to find out more about our services.

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