What 2022 small business trends can we expect? An expert advises.
A lot has happened in recent years, including and especially a global pandemic. And yet, 4.3 million new businesses filed paperwork in 2020 and 79% of small businesses are optimistic about future growth. This positive outlook makes perfect sense to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Small Business Policy Tom Sullivan.
“Entrepreneurs solve problems,” Sullivan explained. “Well, when has there been more problems in such a short period of time than the pandemic?”
In fact, he believes the dire situation ultimately brought out the best in small businesses.
2022 Small Business Trends
Here are three takeaways from a recent discussion between Hello Alice and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
1. Small Businesses Will Keep Tackling Transportation, Logistics, and Delivery
When the world closed up shop, entrepreneurs and small businesses did not. Instead, they found ways to make sure they could bring products to people — whether their own or those of other businesses.
As an example, Sullivan pointed to the rise of curbside pickup. When big box stores don’t offer delivery, small business pickup services have stepped in to fill in the gaps, rising to the challenge of logistics while seeing these gaps as opportunities instead of failings.
“The data shows that when that spike of new startups happened, they primarily were in transportation, logistics, and delivery,” Sullivan said.
2. With Slow Supply Chains, SMBs Look Local
If you remember the infamous moment in March, 2021, when a container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal, you probably appreciate the downstream effects a single blocked boat can cause. When a business — of any size — can’t acquire the goods they need to serve their customers, that business ceases to turn a profit and, by extension, exist as a viable venture.
“Those small businesses that rely more on supply chains to get a product or service out the door, they’re starting to pivot so that they rely less,” Sullivan explained. “This is another example where small businesses are stepping back and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, what is a core competency I can do that doesn’t rely entirely on a global supply chain?’”
By moving manufacturing in-house, some small businesses are even providing more domestic jobs and lowering their overall cost of goods in the long run. Likewise, reliable local solutions now look more competitive to any business sourcing materials from abroad.
3. Omnichannel is the Future (and Present)
The state of shopping forever changed with the creation of the internet, but the global pandemic solidified e-commerce not just as a staple. That doesn’t mean in-person transactions are a thing of the past, though.
“Omnichannel is my word of the year for 2022,” Sullivan said. “It means that when someone decides to purchase a good or a service, it’s no longer either an in-person interaction or an online interaction — it’s both.”
The world has embraced take-out for everything, from groceries to backyard grills. And small businesses have filled in those gaps, innovating to address these new needs.
As 2022 picks up momentum, we hope the projected optimism of entrepreneurs stays strong and continues to grow. After all, adversity breeds innovation, as we’ve seen. But don’t let this optimism get in the way of putting in the work.
“You have a choice if you want to be at the table,” warned Sullivan. “You can either have a seat or be on the menu.”
Check out the entire recording of the Hello Alice and US Chamber of Commerce talk here: