“I have to manage the business during the day,” says Khattab, the CEO of Precision MD in Elk Grove, California. “It takes a lot of time and effort to manage it effectively … I focus on both the patients and the employees and consider how I can make the practice better. “
Making his business better means keeping an eye on business trends. Here are 15 of the trends Khattab says companies should look out for in 2022.
Customers today expect to have personal relationships with the brands they frequent. The expectation is that businesses, large and small, will know the relationships a customer has had, their preferences, their questions, and their needs. Being able to access information about customers and respond accordingly makes customer service experiences more positive for those calling, emailing or interacting in person.
In January 2022, the federal minimum wage for government contractors increased to $15 per hour. Many states also adopted new minimum wage laws in 2022. These changes affect millions of businesses and employees and will likely shape the hiring and retention of employees across sectors.
After two challenging years related to the pandemic and financial uncertainty, 2022 has been a volatile year. High inflation rates, supply chain challenges, international conflict, and a midterm election all create uncertainty for small businesses. Mahmoud Khattab, Elk Grove business owner, encourages persistence in the wake of uncertainty. “Keep going. A lot of people give up on the things that matter to them because they don’t get fast results right away. But if they keep pressing forward, they’ll eventually see the fruits of their labor,” he said recently. “They have to keep going, though, or they might stop right before they would have had a big breakthrough.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused people to reevaluate their priorities and values. To stand out and ensure your business is noticed, you need to make sure you provide extra value for people. That includes not only customers, but employees, too. Ensuring that your workplace has the right employees — and is supportive of employees and customers — goes a long way.
Marketing today increasingly relies on automated processes. Email, texting, and calling sequences can be queued to operate with little human interaction. In addition, tools help manage, track, and evaluate the success of marketing campaigns and track specific outreach to prospects and customers.
As people increasingly work and remain at home, e-commerce continues to be popular. Even traditional brick-and-mortar businesses and small businesses that would not typically have an e-commerce component will consider the possibilities. E-commerce provides a new revenue stream that can compensate for changes in other profit centres.
Small business owners will see a growing need to network. Networking can help you gain referrals and become a presence in your community. In addition, networking helps you identify potential partners — and customers — to fuel growth.
Among the key 2021 business trends that has continued so far in 2022 (and into the foreseeable future) is the growing reliance on digital technology and cloud computing. Businesses see the value of using cloud technologies to store data, applications, and operating systems. In an increasingly remote or hybrid work environment, it’s essential to have access to information no matter where you are. Digital tools, from artificial intelligence to machine learning, will help businesses reach customers and engage more deeply. Mahmoud Khattab sees the importance of technology in advancing his business and that employees have to be skilful in that space. “They have to have some education and some ability to work with technology,” he says. “We use a lot of technology in the office, not only computers … There's a lot of learning [to do].”
While crypto has had a volatile 2022, it is still becoming a more standardised means of payments. In addition, it’s increasingly becoming the norm for businesses to accept digital payments, and using chips and wireless readers. Small businesses that offer a wide variety of payment options will be more attractive to customers.
More and more, small businesses are using technology to create communities among their customers and prospects. Online webinars, lectures, information sessions, product discussions, and discussion boards foster a sense of belonging. Online communities are an excellent way to nurture relationships, strengthen brand loyalty, and gain referrals and positive reviews.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine on the internet. Video information is a popular way to convey ideas, share information, and entertain. The use of video continues to grow in 2022 as apps like Instagram — which offers Reels — and TikTok increase in popularity. Small businesses should seek creative ways to incorporate video into their business operations.
After two years of lax oversight, the federal Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration is likely to make up for lost time. That means small businesses will need to be prepared for more workplace scrutiny, including inspections and regulatory enforcement.
As the threat of Covid-19 persists, with variants and waves emerging regularly, small businesses need to be prepared. Companies need clear guidelines on vaccine requirements, social distancing, mask mandates, and other rules that prevent the spread of illness and keep employees safe.
The gig economy is alive and well in 2022. Small businesses can leverage an increasing pool of talent by relying on freelance staffers instead of full-time staff. While not every business lends itself to freelance staff, those that do can take advantage of a growing number of freelancers.
Small businesses need to assess their commitment to diversity and equity initiatives. Are they committed to hiring and developing a diverse staff? Are they engaged in their communities around these issues? Do their mission and value statements reflect their commitment?
“My advice is to always stay positive, focus on your goal,” he says, “and don't let negative things distract you or discourage you from your main goal.”