Guest post by Niamh O’Reilly
2021 was a difficult year, particularly for entrepreneurs who faced challenges such as remote working and staff absences to pandemic-induced restrictions and financing struggles. It is fair to say that most entrepreneurs were operating in survival mode for the majority of 2021.
This New Year brings a mixture of hope and uncertainty for many entrepreneurs. Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken to prepare for and overcome any challenges that 2022 may bring. In this article, we will be sharing what entrepreneurs can expect in 2022 and how they can prepare their businesses for success.
Increased Opportunities for Remote Working
The pandemic changed the way we work dramatically. Offices that were once bursting at the seams with people are now empty or sold. Employees have adapted to remote working practices and migrated their processes fully online – it’s been ideal for introverts.
However, while remote working has allowed employees to stay safe and enjoy more flexibility, it has required extra training time, resources, and finance which has put a strain on many businesses, but particularly start-ups.
How to Stay Connected
A great way to overcome this challenge of remote working and connectedness is just to start where you’re at right now. How can you connect with your customers, interview potential new employees, and run your business effectively without having to leave the office?
You could make phone calls, build an eCommerce website on an affordable platform like Squarespace, you could host virtual meetings/interviews, and you could connect with customers via your social media channels.
Although the world of remote working will be a challenge for entrepreneurs just starting out, it does offer numerous benefits. For example, remote working negates the need to hire an office space. What’s more, you will save money on commuting and bought lunches. Remote working also allows you to hire the best person for the job, rather than the person who lives closest to the office. It’s best not to see remote working as a challenge but instead see it as an opportunity.
Financial Strain and Bad Credit
As the pandemic continues, despite the New Year, many entrepreneurs are facing continued financial strain. From reduced business profit due to COVID-19 to lack of government funding and support, it can be difficult to raise the funds your business needs to succeed – particularly if you have bad credit. Unfortunately, many of the financial issues business owners face have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.
However, many of these financial strains look set to continue in 2022 as they are coupled with rising costs and inflation. As a result, many businesses will require loans to help them through this difficult time. Unfortunately, according to Pete Mugleston, Managing Director and bad credit expert, “making multiple applications online or approaching a mainstream bank for a bad credit loan comes with the risk of being turned away.” This can cause significant financial strain on businesses as entrepreneurs struggle to secure the funds they need. So, what can be done?
How to Manage Your Finances
To survive the challenge of financial strain in 2022, the best thing you can do is take control of your finances. Whether you want to improve your cash flow, manage your accounts better, save for a mortgage, or just feel more in control of your finances, it’s important to stay organised. A few ways you can do this include, investing in accounting software, automating your invoice process, hiring an accountant, improving your credit score, and speaking to a financial advisor. Organising your finances is a great way to take control of your accounts and take the first steps towards financial stability.
Higher Rates of Cyber Attacks
Just like the pandemic has been a risk to our health, in the past few years there has been a pandemic of cybercrimes. The rate of cybercrimes is increasing at a worrying pace. According to IT Governance, “the number of UK businesses that have suffered cyber attacks has doubled in the past five years.” Entrepreneurs need to be aware of the ever-present dangers of cyber attacks in 2022 and take steps to protect themselves and their businesses.
Below is from Beaming’s 2020 report, on the cost of a breach and criminals’ attack method on businesses:
How to Protect Your Business
Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to protect your business against cyber attacks. Some of the most effective include; backup all your company data, educate your staff on the risks and encourage them to be more vigilant, create an effective business security plan, and increase network protections. These are just a few of the ways you can protect your business against cyber attacks and keep your data secure.
Declining Popularity of Advertisements
People hate advertisements and with ads being shown on everything from search engines through to social media, it’s fair to say that most people are fed up. However, this poses an interesting challenge for businesses that rely heavily on advertising in order to promote their products and services as it is causing many businesses to lose audiences.
How to Overcome the Advertising Challenge
The most important focus for entrepreneurs in 2022 should be on respecting user privacy and foreseeing users’ concerns when it comes to advertising products and services online. What’s more, entrepreneurs who are keen to future-proof their businesses should focus their efforts on long-term, discreet forms of advertising such as content marketing, social media campaigns, and testimonial promotion. There are many creative ways you can advertise your business while remaining user-friendly and your efforts will be greatly rewarded as your customers decide to stay with your business for the long-term.
Answering Social and Environmental Developments
The world around us is rapidly changing and 2021, in particular, has been a year of social and environmental developments.
A growing number of people are passionate about issues such as climate change, inclusivity, diversity within the workplace, and more. As a result, customers are increasingly passionate about how companies are answering to these developments and responding in a positive way to their demands for change.
How to Answer Social Demands
For entrepreneurs and owners of small to medium-sized businesses, responding to social developments can be a challenge but it is necessary to ensure business success. 2022 will be the year customers will analyse your business closely and ask how, exactly, you are responding to the issues they are passionate about.
Companies today no longer answer to their board of directors; they must answer to their customers. Society has zero-tolerance for businesses that greenwash, give false promises, do not offer equal pay or opportunities, and are not taking steps to care for our planet.
If you want your business to succeed, 2022 is the year to lead with integrity and make your business vision more about enforcing positive social and environmental change than simply making a profit.
Every new year comes with its own set of challenges. However, preparedness is the key to overcoming these challenges in a positive way. We hope this article has been informative and that it has encouraged you there are steps you can take to future-proof your business and overcome any challenges you may face now and in the future.