2020/21 The crown we’ve all been sitting on (and probably still sitting on), with barely a safety lock between us, witnessing furloughs, layoffs and the highest unemployment rate since 2016. an inspiring number of innovative approaches to staying financially stable during the ‘new normal’.
While many have floundered through no fault of their own, others have flourished – well, flourished at least – and managed to keep their heads above water through what can only be considered a pretty damn fine improvisation. What a walk. The main business trends forced upon us in the run up to 2020 were adaptability and sheer flexibility, which in many cases has been a good outcome, and will therefore definitely continue this year.
Here are our predictions for what business trends will rise from the ashes of 2020 and 2021 to help us build a much more sustainable 2022.
Cash flow is everything
Getting to grips with cash flow came to the top of every determined business’s to-do list in 2020 and has remained just as important throughout 2021, which remains a gradual recovery year at best. A cash flow forecast shows expected income and expenses on a timeline to show when money is likely to be short, and it’s this opportunity in the visible corners that has saved many companies’ bacon on a weekly basis over the past few years.
You can be the most famous business on the block and look incredibly successful on the outside, but if you don’t monitor your cash flow (the standard time frame for cash flow forecasting is 12 months, but you should work on it at least once a week) you can lose everything at any time. are you in danger?
It makes or breaks things, so if your cash flow forecast tells you you don’t have enough money to hire that staff member, wait until the picture looks brighter. Don’t have a cash flow forecast? Create one; get a template online or get help from an accountant or bookkeeper.
Saving for a rainy day
After what can only be called a few years of the show, hardly anyone, let alone a business owner, was or still is sitting on a comfortable cushion of cash “just in case.” It’s actually quite difficult for some entrepreneurs to do so, and even if they can, many prefer to plow profits directly into the company’s coffers for marketing, investment or expansion plans. That said, if there was ever a business buzzword we can take away from the past 20 months, it’s “contingency,” which for many has meant the difference between sinking or swimming in such troubling times.
What this has done, however, is hammer home (repeatedly, to the point where many of us have felt like we’ve finally gone pretty, pretty crazy) how important it is to have a rainy day fund. Exactly how big that fund should be depends entirely on both your business and your industry, but companies are using their available cash during the pandemic to overhaul their operational strategies, online sales and invest in health and safety. appropriate means to keep staff safe and efficient. It’s definitely better to aim for a fund that spreads over months rather than weeks.
The rise and fall of telecommuting
For many, the thought of working remotely forever sends shivers down their spine. it’s a low-key vision of what dinner is like, loneliness, junk lunches, and not knowing who to turn to when the milk runs out. Don’t worry though, naysayers, thanks to the rapid development of modern technology, work environments are changing structurally and accelerating faster than ever in terms of productivity.
Even before COVID, in the tumultuous days of 2019 (when we all had time to think things were stupid sometimes? Can you imagine?). Statistics showed that the number of companies with a remote workforce was already on the rise, with 16% fully remote. and a whopping 66% give the green light to telecommuting for employees who have asked for it, but now it’s really finding its feet.
The ability to work productively and happily from home started as a bright idea, the insanity of 2020/21 proved it was possible and the rise of cloud computing showed that almost everything could be run online with minimal fuss, including planning, customer service, marketing. , project and inventory management, office tasks and spreadsheets, and most importantly, financial and real-time accounting based on the entire lot.
At the start of 2020, nearly 50% of businesses said they planned to move IT to cloud computing, up from just 18% a year ago, so imagine how much higher that number is now. our productivity hasn’t been tied to the traditional workplace for some time, and the next few years are set to reinforce that.
Online sales take center stage
E-commerce has been around since the days of the dotcom millionaires, a group of savvy entrepreneurs who rode the Internet’s first wave to the bank in the late 90s, only for the house of cards to collapse. in early antics… along with the stock market. Effectively, it was one thing, and then something that many business owners didn’t have a huge need for, and then, boom, we’re all stuck at home thanks to COVID, and online sales are just over a minute away. In fact, during lockdown (we’re talking about lockdown 1.0 – cast your mind back to March 2020 when we all thought we’d be 100% back to normal, free as birds) by now. Between 55% and 60% of consumer spending was done online (online retail grew by 52.2% in December alone). businesses say that online sales generated 12% more revenue than conventional sales, and more than 25% of businesses use online marketing as their primary strategy for the year.
While e-commerce has clearly been a brilliant way for both business owners to try to keep roofs over their employees’ heads and for customers to continue to shop safely, all signs point to this exponential growth continuing; Online shopping is convenient and more convenient than ever, so it can be a difficult habit to get into.
Business continuity planners are finally getting their moment
Once considered the distant stuff of the tinfoil hat brigade, the phrase “business continuity plan” is now a buzzword for business owners who stick together. In fact, searches for Google’s “business continuity plans” grew 600% during 2020, and Google itself has a dedicated team of “reliability engineers” who wage a simulated “war” against the company’s infrastructure each year. Known as DiRT, disaster recovery testing, it involves everything from causing a multi-story flood to staging angry mobs and planting hackers in the system to steal data. whatever it takes to destroy the infrastructure.
Data center attacks aren’t real, but they’re hard to distinguish from the real thing and are a sure-fire (if a little extreme) way to identify vulnerabilities and make sure incident managers are ready for the job. Doing exactly what it says on paper, a business continuity plan is a set of strategies you prepare before a major disruption; overstayed its welcome. to help you calm down and come out the other side as unscathed as possible.
Which sounds a little heavy, but it doesn’t have to be. While we wouldn’t suggest going to Google and wreaking havoc willy-nilly, a good starting point is to download the template and run through it. Not only will this help you spot things that can easily be missed in a crisis, it will also allow the crew to work through the process as opposed to panicking if, say, aliens ever land and demand we take them to our bosses. , which, frankly, seems totally doable these days.