Business Trends To Embrace In 2021
Bri SeeleyForbes Councils Member
Forbes Coaches CouncilCOUNCIL POST
The business world has experienced incremental changes for several years, but the pandemic forced an irrevocable shift to happen in mere months. What worked for entrepreneurs in the past stopped working overnight.
Businesses that failed to innovate and evolve closed their doors. Businesses that moved quickly in response to the wavering needs of the markets continued to thrive.
The business world is never going back to how it was. The only option for continued success in business is to mature. 2021 will usher in even greater changes as entrepreneurs continue to adapt. Here are five emerging business trends for the coming year.
1. Integrity-Fueled Leadership
In the past, business leaders have been able to hide behind the corporate veil. That has changed in the United States over the last four years. Business leadership of the past, exemplified by Fyre Festival and WeWork, has overwhelmingly been hidden behind manicured smoke screens, but the future of business is about transparency.
Consumers no longer wish to spend their dollars with companies that are misusing funds or whose values are in direct opposition to theirs. Instead, consumers admire leaders with integrity — leaders who are authentic, vulnerable and willing to admit their mistakes; leaders who don’t elevate their bottom lines over employee and customer satisfaction and leaders who don’t mislead for the sake of reputation and metrics.
Business has become increasingly personal. People want to know and connect with business leaders. Business leaders are being asked to share who they are and lead in the public eye with authenticity, honesty and integrity.
2. The Rise Of The Unapologetic Entrepreneur
It is estimated the pandemic sparked 25% of corporate women to consider leaving the workforce. In personally speaking with 100 women who started businesses during the pandemic, the overall consensus is that corporate life doesn’t align with their core values.
With permission to abandon the stifling suits, the endless hours in the office and the petty coworker drama, many women saw the toll corporate life had taken on their well-being. The chasm between who they were at home and who they portrayed at work had grown too large.
These women won’t go back to wearing the masks of corporate life and are allowing themselves to build businesses that work for them, rather than against them. I’ve seen that female entrepreneurs are no longer sacrificing their needs and are finding innovative ways to expand. They are unapologetically leading their businesses from who they are and using their senses of self to guide their marketing, revenue streams, schedules and growth plans.
3. Customized Growth Strategies
The saturation of know-it-all experts and gurus is past its prime. It was before the pandemic hit, but the bubble burst in 2020. Entrepreneurs are recognizing there is no “one path” to success. The marketing world is a five-steps-to-ensure-success-and-hit-seven-figures trap. The truth is, there is no secret formula to success. There is no multi-step process that every single entrepreneur can use to create the same results.
Entrepreneurs are savvy to these marketing tactics and instead seek out knowledgeable professionals who can help them identify their own unique paths forward, rather than providing a templated path that may or may not work.
The best business strategy is not a rob-and-duplicate model but rather a custom approach that considers vision, values and impact. Entrepreneurship is a one-of-a-kind enterprise. Custom strategies are the way of the future.
4. Embracing Best Practices Over Templates
Many businesses have become homogenized. Newsletters, social media posts and even LinkedIn connect messages all read the same. Some are word-for-word copies. Automation and systemization has become synonymous with copy/paste.
While this approach saves time, it’s costing businesses more in the long run. These communications might follow the once-proven sales templates, but they are not inspiring anyone to read them or take action anymore.
Brands are creating best practices that are customizable versus one-size-fits-all communications. In 2021, I predict that companies will go back to basics to rediscover their unique voices in the market.
Consumers don’t want their inboxes or social feeds filled with generic pitches. They want to feel connected to the businesses and entrepreneurs they respect. The way to do this is to embrace different communication practices
5. Relationships And Conversations Are Taking The Cake
Consumers are also sick of being sold to with unsolicited sales pitches, especially when they interrupt their private inboxes and come without consent. Cold calling no longer works; sales professional Jeffrey Gitomer regularly speaks to the non-existent return on investment for cold calling.
Businesses that prioritize relationship-building and conversations will thrive in 2021. Consumers want to be seen, heard and understood. While it’s common practice to send the same message to every customer, it is impossible to see, hear and understand them with this approach.
You can’t know what each individual needs until you ask. It takes time to listen, but it creates scalable results. Embracing this approach in 2021 will lead you to deeper relationships, increased brand loyalty, a higher instance of referrals and more return customers.
2020 was a year many business owners did not expect, forever changing the landscape of business. 2021 is the beginning of a new wave of business that involves personal touch, stronger connections and a pivot away from the spam pitches and cold calling of the past. How will you embrace these trends in your business during 2021 and beyond?