SMB owner looking at top trends on his laptop.

Top trends affecting SMBs in 2023 – Part 2

Small businesses face a unique set of challenges in 2023 when it comes to staying ahead of emerging trends. With limited resources and a constantly evolving marketplace, it can be difficult to know where to focus your efforts. However, staying on top of the latest trends can be crucial to the success of your small business.

To help small business owners thrive in a challenging year ahead, we’ve compiled a list of the top trends affecting Canadian small businesses in 2023. In part 1 of our series, we covered cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and omnichannel shopping. In this blog, we explore three new key trends that are set to dominate the business landscape in 2023.

Trend #1 – The Importance of Sustainability

Every year, consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious and are demanding change, and small businesses can no longer afford to ignore this trend.  There are many ways to make your business more sustainable, such as reducing energy consumption, reducing waste and implementing recycling programs, or sourcing products and materials from sustainable suppliers. For an in-depth guide on how to make your SMB more sustainable, read our previous article.

Benefits of Prioritizing Sustainability in Your SMB:

1. Cost Savings: Sustainable practices can lead to significant cost savings for small businesses. For example, reducing energy consumption and water usage can lead to lower utility bills, and recycling can reduce waste disposal costs. Implementing sustainable practices can also increase efficiency and productivity, leading to lower operating costs.

2. Competitive Advantage: By communicating your commitment to sustainability to customers, you can differentiate yourself from competitors. This will help you attract new customers, retain existing ones, and build a positive brand reputation in a crowded market.

3. Future-Proofing: As consumer demand for sustainable products and services continues to increase, businesses that prioritize sustainability will be better positioned to meet this demand and remain competitive in the long run.

4. Attract Investors: In recent years, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors have become increasingly important to investors. ESG refers to the three central factors that measure the sustainability and societal impact of a company’s operations. Small businesses that demonstrate a commitment to ESG can attract investors who prioritize sustainability and social responsibility and therefore access a wider pool of investors.

Trend #2 – Attracting & Retaining Top Talent

In today’s knowledge-based economy, human capital has become an important asset and businesses are therefore investing in ways to attract and retain top talent. With the proliferation of technology and remote work, employees have more choices than ever before, and SMBs are now competing on a national scale for employees. The workforce is also changing, with younger generations entering the workforce and bringing in new expectations.

Ways to Attract and Retain top Talent:

1. Build an Enticing Brand: Small businesses need to focus on building a strong employer brand that connects with younger generations. This can be achieved by creating a positive work environment that values employee well-being, work-life balance, diversity, and inclusion. Things like flexible work arrangements, remote work options, and fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration are great strategies to build an attractive brand. Natalie Bowmer and Julie Chalifour, two HR experts from Journey Capital, have covered this topic in detail in one of our previous blogs.

2. Leverage Technology: Another way to attract top talent is by leveraging technology to streamline the recruitment processes. For example, small businesses can use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to automate the recruitment process and reduce the amount of time it takes to screen and interview candidates. Additionally, social media channels like LinkedIn and online job boards can be utilized to reach a wider pool of candidates.

3. Opportunities for Growth & Development: Top talent wants to work for a business that offers opportunities to grow as an individual. Small businesses can offer mentorship programs, cross-training, and opportunities for employees to take on new responsibilities. Opportunities for growth and development demonstrate to employees that a business values their contributions and is committed to supporting their long-term success.

4. Offer Unique Benefits: Although small businesses may not be able to match the salaries of larger corporations, they can offer unique benefits, such as company-sponsored volunteer opportunities, free snacks or meals, gym memberships, wellness activities, a relaxed dress code, etc.

Remember, attracting and retaining top talent is an ongoing process. It’s important to regularly evaluate and adjust your strategies to ensure you’re meeting the needs and expectations of your current and future employees.

Trend #3 – The Rise of Video Marketing

Video marketing is the use of video content to promote and market a product, service, or brand. It can take many forms, including promotional videos, product demos, customer testimonials, behind-the-scenes footage, educational content, and more. A recent study shows that as many as 91% of consumers want to see more online video content from brands, making it a crucial element of any successful marketing strategy.

Benefits of Leveraging Video Marketing:

1. Increased Engagement: Video content is more engaging than text or images alone, as it captures attention and evokes emotions. Since the average attention span of a human being has dropped to 8 seconds, short-form video content tends to perform better. They are also more likely to be shared, helping small businesses increase their reach and visibility, as well as drive more traffic to their website or social media pages.

2. Improved SEO: Video content can help improve search engine optimization (SEO) by increasing the amount of time users spend on a website, and reducing bounce rates. This can lead to higher search rankings and more visibility for small businesses.

3. Cost-Effective: With the availability of low-cost video production tools, video marketing is more affordable and accessible than ever before. Small business owners can create and share videos on social media platforms, websites, and other online channels with minimal investment. Some of these tools even offer data analytics, allowing small businesses to track the performance of their videos and make data-driven decisions to optimize their marketing efforts.

4. Increased Brand Awareness: Video content is an effective way to build brand awareness because it can engage viewers on an emotional and visual level, providing a memorable experience that can increase the likelihood of them interacting with your brand. It can also help to convey your brand’s personality and values through storytelling.

5. Improved Conversion Rates: Video content can also help improve conversion rates by providing a more immersive and persuasive buying experience for potential customers, leading to more sales.

The Bottom Line

Small businesses in Canada face a variety of challenges and opportunities as they navigate a rapidly changing business landscape. By focusing on trends in sustainability, talent & acquisition, and video marketing, small businesses can develop strategies that help them to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, attract and retain top talent, and engage with customers on a deeper level. While each of these trends presents unique challenges, they also provide opportunities for small businesses to innovate and succeed in their respective industries.