The Next Normal: Business Trends to Watch in 2021

The Coronavirus pandemic has made us more accepting of things. Social distancing is the new normal. However, that’s not the only “new normal” – businesses globally are learning the ropes and adjusting to the new way of doing things because it’s critical for their survival.

2021 is sure to cause a vast evolution, mainly for businesses. Without unexpected calamities, industries, individuals, and society can start shaping their future rather than just surviving the present. Indeed, the next normal won’t be the same. It will not mean going back to the state of affairs that triumphed in 2019. Remember the terms “postwar” and “prewar?” These were in use to describe the 20th century. Similarly, cohorts to come will likely address the pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 times as the eras of disruption and improvement.

With all that’s happening, are you keeping up? This article sheds light on some of the top business trends that will form the next normal.

 

  1. Cloud Accounting

Experts predict that the global market for accounting software will experience approximately $12 billion – by the year 2026. Between 45 to 70% of businesses have already shifted to cloud computing, eliminating the need for companies to maintain and install accounting software on each computer. Instead, the operations will be server- or cloud-based.

As a result, software updates will be efficient and will not require time-intensive downloads. Therefore, adopting technology-driven solutions is the new future of accounting. It will intensify even more in the following years. As the demand for digital accounting increases, accounting software will address this need with remarkable solutions. The bottom line is, this global trend offers a range of functionalities accountants demand the most, such as minimizing manual tasks and optimizing processes.

 

  1. Business Travels Take a Back Seat

Slowly but steadily, people who travel for pleasure are getting back to it. That has been evident in China. Domestic travel is surging, whereas international travel is still depressed primarily because of the pandemic-related restrictions.

Why has business travel taken the back seat? Because video calls and other online collaboration tools enabling remote working and replaced onsite meetings and conferences considerably. Also, history has proven repeatedly that business travel takes longer to bounce back after a recession. Business travel will recover, and economic growth will accelerate the demand, but it may never recover to the 2019 level.

 

  1. Wave of Innovation

The COVID-19 crisis has driven digitalization like anything. Everything has moved online, even healthcare. This disruption has created space for entrepreneurs to test the water and start small businesses that never existed before. France initiated 84,000 new enterprises in October 2020, the highest ever recorded. Germany, Japan, and Britain experienced the same trend.

survey published in 2020 states that 1500 self-employed revealed that 20 percent of them say they are likely to leave self-employment whenever they can. Overall, this crisis has devastated small businesses, but there has been a positive trend in entrepreneurship.

 

  1. Localization

Localization became a hot topic when the COVID-19 restrictions were applied worldwide in 2020. Grass-root movements of buying local and keeping the supply chains local began.

This trend has gained steam even in 2021. Now, countries don’t see it as a restriction, rather a modification to keep their chains open to specific regions and offer reliable trade support during these trying times.

As a result, global trade is becoming much more regional than before. Companies have realized the risk of having a single supplier vs. suppliers located in the same region/country. Expert economists suggest that this is the period when everyone is more open to discussion. It’s a good time for small and medium enterprises to position themselves in the market like never before.

  1. Market Diversification

2021 isn’t just the best time for localization but market diversification as well. During this financial duress, exporters would want to reduce their exports instinctively. Also, experts predict that limiting your market to one region will facilitate your sales. It will particularly help if your base market is just a tiny portion of the international market.

It makes sense to diversify your markets. If you find a viable market, don’t abandon it because of the protectionist sentiment. Contemplate expanding into or markets or perhaps other states/provinces of the same country.

Countries like Canada are creating new opportunities for exporters to benefit from traffic elimination. Take advantage of whatever incentive available in your country and consider market expansion.

 

  1. Sustainability

Sustainability has been a rising concern for some time. During the pandemic, more and more companies realize the environmental crisis affecting the world. It has made them rethink their operations and the environmental impact of their products.

Fortunately, countries have started to push through their existing environmental policy priorities. For instance, the European Union has planned to dedicate 30% of its funds for the COVID-19 crisis plan to implement climate change-related measures. That includes selling 225 billion euros of green bonds.

China has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions to 0 by the year 2060. Japan, on the other hand, has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. Colombia has planted to plant to 180 million trees.

  1. Data, an Asset of Paramount Importance

Data volumes have grown significantly over the last few years. It’s plain to see that the businesses that have leveraged this data for understanding their customers and make better decisions are thriving. Thanks to cloud solutions, it’s possible to access data from anywhere. Business owners must protect it like any other significant asset.

Collecting data is one part of the equation; the other half is data literacy to make crucial decisions. Of course, this requires investment in systems that can analyze, process, and store data effectively.

  1. Social Engagement is the Way Forward

Brands relied on social media to engage with their customers amidst the pandemic. No wonder there is a big push towards creating an authentic social media presence. There is a rising trend of engaging macro and micro-influencers in your industry to drive conversations and engage with customers. This trend isn’t coming slow.

 

Final Word

No doubt, the pandemic has accelerated the changes that would have accrued in the business sphere gradually. The only way to wither this stream is to face the new normal in the most productive way possible.

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