When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, it sent small businesses into a period of upheaval that they’re just beginning to recover from more than a year later. As life starts to regain a sense of normalcy, new business trends are emerging, and understanding them can help small businesses find their footing again.

Small-business owners need to stay aware of the changes and movements that are driving business in a post-pandemic world. Below, 16 members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss the trends that they believe will impact small businesses the most in 2022. 

 

1. Emotional Intelligence And Empathy

Emotional transparency and modeling emotional intelligence are key. Empathy is no longer a luxury but a powerful skill for normalizing life and work challenges. You don’t have to know or share the whole story of an employee’s situation (or yours), but recognizing moods or behaviors and addressing them with care is appreciated. Adopt the motto: “If we ask, ‘How are you doing?’ we really want to know.” – Patrick Williams, Transformational Living

2. Influencer Marketing On Social Media

One trend small businesses should know about if they don’t already is the power of influencer marketing. Online platforms and social media channels such as Instagram and TikTok can help small businesses tell their stories to drive awareness and excitement. Influencers both large and small (micro-influencers) strengthen the story by providing relevance and endorsements. – Shannon Finn Connell, Capo Initiative

3. Big Business Systems And Processes

To find success in 2022, it’s imperative that small businesses start taking on big business systems and processes. What I mean by this is that small businesses need to set up toll-free numbers, interactive voice response systems and automations, and structure their businesses as if they are much larger than they are. This will be crucial to their success. – Carlos Then, Mr Then Consulting LLC

4. Expanded Recruiting Efforts

With the world being more connected than ever and more and more people choosing remote work locations around the world, companies will have the ability to expand their recruiting efforts to be more far-reaching than in the past. Organizations who have deliberately designed their culture with clear purpose, values and norms will be more successful in attracting the right talent in a tight labor market. – Angela Morrill, Angela Morrill Leadership & Life Coaching

5. Family-First Workplace Values 

Many people have reassessed what they value in life over the last year or so, and this has led to a family-first movement. That means business owners need to create a people-first workplace, or risk losing their best team members. Small-business owners need to create a set of workplace values with their teams and ensure that managers, especially, lead with those values every day. – Alex Draper, DX Learning Solutions


Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?


6. Networking With Business Owners

Don’t miss the biggest trend of 2022: networking! Instead of growing alone, small-business owners can multiply their efforts exponentially by connecting with other business owners. Networking helps you gain business lead referrals, hear new market perspectives, learn from other’s experiences, sharpen your game and your pitch, and team up and form relationships that inspire and fuel each other’s growth. Do it reciprocally. – Anne Phey, Leadership Coaching School

7. The Efficiency Of Digital Marketing

Small-business owners should accept that digital marketing is here to stay. While digital marketing may not continue to largely replace in-person profile building, as it has during the pandemic, its cost- and time-efficiency can no longer be ignored. Harness those benefits to reach a broad audience consistently. – Precious Williams Owodunni, Mountaintop Consulting

8. Digital And Cloud Technologies

Many small businesses do not have a strong digital presence. Success in the next ten years will be driven by your ability to use and leverage the digital and cloud technologies in use today, and your willingness to stay on top of whatever technologies your customers are using. Today, it is Slack, Teams and Twitter. Who knows what it will be in three years? – Bill Berman, Berman Leadership Development

9. Agile Service Delivery And Product Development

The ability to remain agile in service delivery and product development for clients will give you an advantage by helping to establish a personal brand with a recognized competitive advantage. Creating a diversity of solutions and understanding the impact of these solutions for different clients will anchor your small business to be able to offer variety, creativity and strategic innovation in any market. – Reena Khullar Sharma, Agilis Executive Consulting

10. Coaching And Mentoring Of Employees

To maintain a happy workforce and improve retention, small businesses will need to find creative, innovative ways to attract and retain talent. There’s a trend to provide employees with coaching or mentoring, and that’s far more valuable to a person’s development than a pingpong table! – Sian Lenegan, Work With Sian

11. Synchronous And Asynchronous Video

Synchronous and asynchronous video will be key. Embrace video. The last 18 months have significantly accelerated the use of video to prospect, sell, serve and meet with people across the globe. Everyone has a phone, tablet or laptop within arm’s reach, and we are just a click away from engagement—video is the new “new” thing, and it’s popularity will only increase. There are lots of free platforms available. Make a start. – Antonio Garrido, Absolute Sales Development

12. Hybrid Workplaces

Having a hybrid workplace where employees can choose their optimal work schedule as well as whether to be remote or in-person will be a trend for the future as security and insecurity are balanced with a healthy home and working environment. Employers will need to embrace the multi-generational employees who have a different value system and life-learned skill sets. – Sandra Hill, New Horizen Coaching & Professional Growth Advancement

13. Mental Health In The Workplace

The 2022 trend that every small-business owner should know about is that mental health in the workplace matters, no matter the size of its workforce. Supply chain crunches, lack of staffing, remote work and the blur of the work-life intersection are deepening employee stress at a record rate. Implementing policies that address this trend will increase engagement, reduce turnover, and improve productivity. – Cathy Lanzalaco, Inspire Careers LLC

14. Strategic Inventory Management

Supply chain shortages are not going away. Delays in getting raw materials and delivering finished products are going to be longer than expected. Planning, adjusting and strategizing your inventory management is critical. Manufacturers look to increase raw materials, as the cost of not having a product is higher. If your company isn’t suffering directly, your customers are feeling the stress. – Rick Itzkowich, Vistage Worldwide, Inc.

15. Maximum Utilization Of Google 

Maximum utilization of Google is the game-changer for 2022. This includes Google My Business, local services, ads and search engine optimization. Small-business owners must get on board with knowing, using and understanding Google lead generation. – Jacquelyn Van Tuyl, Jacquelyn Van Tuyl International

16. Personal Branding

Mastering not only business branding but also personal branding will be key. I find that small- and medium-business owners kind of hide behind the business brand and choose not to show who they are or show themselves as being vulnerable and human. The only loyalty you can get as an owner is through the emotional engagement that comes through your authenticity and being genuine, showing the human side behind your business and showcasing you and your employees. – Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh, Sahar Consulting, LLC