The landscape of small business – where, how, when they work, shop, and sell – has forever changed. Small businesses are seeking help planning, executing, and optimising their ‘what’s next?’ which creates a tremendous opportunity for big brand marketers. So, how can big brands help the pivot journey?
“We have extended to multiple geographies, and I anticipate that my business will also serve a broader national and international market. Challenges include understanding different cultural nuances, language barriers, time zone differences, and adapting pricing for currencies for different countries.” – Cargo “Small Talk” SBO Panelist
As big brand marketers (B2SB marketers) start, refine or finalise their marketing to their 2022 SMB plans, one key ingredient for strategies and plans may center around building the framework for an editorial content calendar – to date,
90% of North American small businesses are in the middle of a pivot or planning one as they enter 2022
. The biggest barriers slowing them down or preventing action lies in not knowing where to start and what or who’s out there to help. To add fuel to the fire, a record-breaking number of small businesses have started during the last 20 months (the Covid-class), reversing a four decade long decrease in entrepreneurialism.
With that in mind, here are six key SMB pivots where big brands can play a critical role:
From digitising business operations to going touchless and cashless with experiences and transactions, SMBs are in the middle of an accelerated digital transformation that is critical for them to survive, revive and thrive in 2022 and beyond.
2. Going online.
While many SMBs were already doing business online, it was not always a primary route for them to deliver their products or services. The seismic shift in consumer behaviors post-pandemic has forever changed that for SMBs who now find themselves competing with a whole new level of businesses online and making them realise they need to step up their game.
3. Going global.
With digitisation and going heavier online, there are no geographical limitations for SMBs to market and sell beyond their usual footprint and now reach across borders and continents. In fact, 68% of SMBs plan on selling internationally going forward, which is two times more than were selling abroad before the pandemic. But there are obstacles holding them back, including challenges finding good labor, logistics and knowledge gaps like understanding different cultural nuances, language barriers, time zone differences, and adapting pricing for currencies for different countries.
4. Work from anywhere (WFA).
Post-pandemic we have seen new workstyles and workforces emerge and SMBs know that in order to compete for talent, they need to embrace a WFA culture. In fact,
over 40% SMBs will make WFA permanent in 2022 and beyond
– and others know a hybrid workstyle must be an option, especially for the younger workforce of GenY/Z. WFA has put added pressure on technology, security, connectivity, management – basically all aspects of business operations for SMBs and all topics where big brands can help.
It’s been said we’re in the ‘customer expectation’ economy. Consumers control all aspects of the purchase journey and speed, convenience, and frictionless transactions are critical. In fact, recent studies show consumers will pay a premium for better experiences more than better products or services. This on-demand expectation has caused some SMBs to mobilise their business – bringing their products, services, and experiences to their customers, versus trying to get their customers to come to them. Like WFA, this mobilisation of their business demands better tech, more efficient logistics, more frictionless transactions, and overall, more connected and frictionless employee and customer experiences.
If there’s one constant during the pandemic, it’s change. Like all businesses, SMBs were caught flatfooted when lockdowns began. In fairness to them, no one could have planned for the disruptions of the last 2 years. But when you look at the fact that
over 50% of SMBs
were not negatively impacted by the pandemic, and, in fact, over 40% are doing better since lockdowns began, you realise that the successful SMBs were those able to quickly adapt and adjust to meet market and customer demands. That agile mentality needs to be the DNA of SMBs going forward so macro influences outside their control don’t determine, or undermine, their success.
“People worked better at home anyway. We gave them the choice and people stopped coming to the office, so we didn’t renew the lease.” – Cargo “Small Talk” SBO Panelist
This is a collection of six focus points, not to mention all the other adjustments SMBs are planning and making as they prepare for their ‘what’s next’ in 2022 and beyond. Probably more than at any point in history, SMBs know they can no longer purely rely on their own resiliency, instincts, capability, and passion to succeed in this new world. They’re inviting and asking big brands for help. The question is, are B2SB Marketers prepared for their ‘what’s next’?
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