It feels like the start of 2022 and beyond will be a good time for small businesses and their owners, managers and operators to assess and reassess their industry, and what they want it to be. Then find their place within it.
Small business has been through a lot in 2020 and 2021. The economy slowed and lockdowns made it impossible for many to provide services to customers. It’s been a trying time just surviving.
However, you can feel that changing.
The optimists among us think that 2022 will be a much better year for many small businesses. You can imagine it will be friendlier to restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, the list goes one.
Many consumers are spent. Tired of the conditions from the last two years and ready to move on and get back to living. As the economy reopens, the desire to get out and about, feel good, look good and share experiences will increase. That means there are new opportunities to explore for many small businesses and industries. To reconsider how they operated in the past, take the learnings for the last two years and then shape what the future will look like.
So, how should small businesses use this opportunity?
Consumers are starting to look at small businesses in a different way. They are more than a place where you go to get just the goods and services you need. They are a place to catch up on community news, to be seen, and to experience human connection.
Many small businesses have customers who visit frequently just for this reason. You know who they are.
Going forward, I believe the answer is community.
That’s what I am staking my claim on. Small businesses that define themselves around a community and sense of belonging, becoming inclusive places to be present and hang out will do well in 2022 and beyond.
Emphasizing, building or rebuilding your small business around a community will attract new customers, bring customers back and even allow you to charge a little more. And it’s more fun for you and your staff, and your customers.
Here are some questions to think about:
- How do you create unique talking points with customers?
- How do you use the physical space of your store to create unique zones to hang out, and a sense of comfort and belonging?
- How do you incorporate additional products and services into your proposition to keep customers around before and after their purchase?
- What community engagement do you do?
- How do you get the word out there?
And most importantly, once you have created this community space, make sure you book customers in for their next visit as soon as they finish their last. This is best practice and customer loyalty is the biggest bang-for-your-buck growth driver.
Yet another reason to focus on community.
Before you go...
We all know that small business is about doing the little things right.
The little optimisations, the high-impact tweaks and the 1% gains you can make to your business to make it a little better, a little more profitable and even a little bit more pleasant to run.
I have interviewed 500+ business owners, surveyed thousands more, and I am always probing for their best tips, tricks and hacks to improve their business. There are three that stand out above the rest and I want to share them with you.
Join my email list for free and I’ll send them to you right now.