What emerging trends does your business need to get on top of in 2022?

Change. It’s the one constant guarantee in business. Even if you have no plans to shake anything and keep to business as usual, trust us, change will come knocking on your door. 

Businesses that constantly adapt to the market’s needs tend to thrive, while those who stay the same struggle to survive. 

So with that lyrical note in mind, have you got your 2022 vision? What should you be thinking about that can help propel your business forward?

According to a Harvard Business Review study, CEOs spend just 21% of their work time on strategy, but spend a whopping 36% in a reactive mode, ‘handling unfolding issues, both internal and external.’ 

As we head into a New Year, it’s time to take pause. We’re not just talking about stopping for a couple of hours. Give yourself at least a week to really reflect on the previous months in business and carve out what you’d like to achieve. 

Spend time listening not just to your leadership team and direct reports but hold an open door to all your staff to hear their thoughts, and figure out what corrective action is needed to improve on the year that has just gone before.

Here are a few emerging trends we think your business should get on top of in 2022 so that you can make bold moves early on before your competition!

Zero carbon 

After over a month of COP26 media your ears are probably more choked up with chatter about decarbonising your supply chain and operations than a coal-fired power plant. 

But…if you haven’t already taken stock of where your business is and started making a responsible action plan towards zero carbon with tangible targets then this is the time to do so. 

And we’re not just talking about a quick-win carbon offsetting initiative – that was so last decade.

It’s time to get serious – and you’ll want to consider the ethical, social and community issues too to ensure you’re fully resilient. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, there’s an expectation of being a purposeful, authentic, and transparent business.

Unless you’re starting out in oil exploration, your start-up is likely to be in a great agile place to innovate within your industry so that you’re ahead of the curve for the decade to come. 

Where to start? Read the UNDP Sustainable Development Goals, conduct a B Impact Assessment, hire a sustainability consultant, and get going!

Transformative technology

This trend is also all about future-proofing. The very nature of work is changing and there’s not an industry out there that can’t benefit from the benefits of transformative technology. 

Is your business fully digitised so that you’re not relying on physical offices or warehouses for important records?

More businesses are adopting big data analytics to get on top of trends. What about you? 

Have you looked at how digitalisation can improve efficiency for you, and increase convenience for your customer by using robotic process automation (RPA)? 

The next level up in digital process automation is, of course Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and systems are already enhancing all business industries. 

Now’s the time to find the balance of human-robot in your company and use your assets wisely. 

What tasks and functions can be automated or enhanced by robots? Emotional intelligence (E.Q) can never be replaced, so how will you harness and better tap into this core human talent within your teams? 

The great thing about technology is that whatever you need to do in order to innovate in your industry is probably already out there in other existing industries so all you need to do is replicate and tweak to your needs!

Re-thinking growth

Business growth should never mean you need to be bigger to be better, nor should it mean you need to have a top-down approach. In the last couple of years, we’ve already seen the beginning of full-time employment being phased out. 

Businesses that are more agile tend to have a flatter hierarchy and smaller teams. Consider using contracted and ad-hoc freelance staff. 

You can get a freelancer for everything: from bookkeeping and content writers to specialist marketing strategists, supply chain managers and even an interim CEO!

Right now there’s rich pickings for remote support. To tap into it you’ll want to ensure you have an open workplace culture that can smoothly integrate outsourced teams. You’ll also want to have all your paperwork up to date: think policies, contracts, and NDAs.

What’s also emerging is the importance of employment happiness. Mental health has never been more vital and relevant than in this post-pandemic age. Some of the world’s largest corporations are prioritising supportive, nurturing environments that have shown to optimise rather than reduce productivity. 

What changes can your businesses do to better support your staff?

Money talks

The world of banking has officially changed – the power is now back in the hands of your peers, thanks to decentralised finance movements and platforms. For business, the opportunities are endless. 

It’s time to look around beyond the traditional banking systems to improve your financial operations.

Find investors and raise finance through crowdfunding and Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs)​. While still not fully legally and regulatorily tested in the UK, you can also consider initial coin offerings (ICOs). 

Secure your customer’s banking data through tokenisation, and embrace the cashless society. 

Money can flow globally more easily, with cheaper and transparent international transfers from the likes of Wise, WorldRemit, and Remitly. 

Social influence

It’s like Marmite. Love it or hate it, social media has become increasingly more important for customer acquisition, and usage across the major platforms has hugely sped up in the last 24 months. Now, over 57.6% of the global population is on social media

While the space has become increasingly commercialised (cough, expensive) with more red flags of ethically dubiousness being raised, there are ways to get around it without digging too deep into your pockets for advertising spend or influencer buy-ins.

Have you thought about utilising the world of micro or nano influencers – some of whom have less than 1,000 followers? Influencer platforms, like CreatorIQ, Captiv8, Neoreach, and Upfluence allow you to reach a small but perfectly targeted audience.

Are there any other emerging trends you think we missed that you’re willing to share? Tell us in the community!