3 Intangible Trends Driving Small Business Recovery In 2022

2020 is farther in the past than it was in 2021, so there’s that. It’s a point in the column of positives about 2022. Of course, that fated year, though finally (hopefully) fading into history, does keep on stressing. The effects of 2020 – 2021 are unsurprisingly now recognizable in some of the top small business management trends here in mid-2022. That’s another point in the tally of good things happening in the sector this year. Life is going on and business is naturally going on with it — but has evolved due to it. “It” refers, of course, to daily life and the business economy profoundly disrupted by COVID for the past couple of years.

But, out the other end of the dismal episode comes the inevitably leaner version of everyday American business operations — again proven durable, now more agile, and with fresh ideas. The list below offers insights from small business growth and development experts to help entrepreneurs who are focused on growth and sustainability in Q2-Q4 2022 and early 2023.

Note that this list is not the usual spate of concepts for tangible improvements requiring financial investment. These welcome trends are for intangible improvements, which makes them ideal opportunities in a year like 2022.

Hanging On In 2021, Moving On In 2022!

When the pandemic waved over society and the small business economy in 2020, many previously thriving small companies did not survive. Many others are still straining to recover now two years later. But, with the vaccinations and less frequent mention of viral variants, it’s generally perceived that things at least appear to be on track toward greater day-to-day stability.

As part of that return to relative normalcy in 2022, there are three responsive trends in strategic planning. Here are some of those key trends helping small and growing companies cultivate the most positive and productive approach to succeeding in the 2022 business environment:

1. Developing Emotional Intelligence (EI) In Management

Workplace quality has forced itself to the top of the priority list for business managers who have been struggling to hire and retain talented employees over these past two and a half years. They’ve been learning that exercising EI is no longer a merely optional leadership value to adopt. For example, some have discovered that empathy is not a power risk or a managerial weakness.

Managers have figured out that it is a powerful skill that enables the best business leaders to help people rise to their full potential. For workers, it promotes a personally empowering sense of being supported and having greater balance in their lives. That affords them broader psychological bandwidth to deliver their best in their professional and personal roles.

2. Emphasis on Employee Development

The current employment market is more competitive than ever, as you well know. Top talent can be excruciatingly hard to attract to small service businesses like fledgling portable restroom rental companies. But, there’s lots of room for developing creative opportunities in the industry. The best workers want to know they’re on a path in their career with a company along which their skills and talents will ultimately be fully utilized. They need to know they can make the most of their career by staying with a growing business.

That translates into a need for management development, or at least for cultivating each employee’s skills and creating opportunities for satisfying lateral moves. Find sales, marketing, customer service, administrative, safety training, quality assurance, and other areas of developmental opportunity to create well-rounded industry skill sets in your employees.

Apply the effort to ongoing mentoring and coaching. Build a team of equals who are all highly invested in your business. A small business owner’s growth ambitions have never been better served than with a workforce like that.

3. Mental Health Support In The Workplace

Since the emergence of the national sense of fear and the health disaster that overtook business practices in 2020, stress has remained abnormally high. Adding the 2022 labor shortages, budget struggles, and shocking supply chain problems have increased anxiety in the workplace. And, many people have shifted over to permanent part-time work or working from home full-time. Their new blended professional-personal lifestyle has exposed particular complications and predictable stressors too.

Coping with this new environment of compound difficulties all converging in 2021-2022 naturally often generates a negative experience for workers. It can lead to anxiety, burnout, excessive turnover, and lost productivity. Business managers who understand the need to address these potential issues have been implementing increased mental health support for staff and cultivating a greater sense of team among on-site and remote workers.

Moving Forward In 2022

Naturally, tangible improvements must include technological updates to keep small businesses current with their best competitors. (That means boosting digital marketing and operations, etc.) But, this year, the intangible needs are indeed taking center stage in quarterly planning.

That makes sense because 1) These operational improvements we’re talking about are imminently doable since they don’t require much if any, financial investment. And, 2) they’re needed so much now, here in the functional wake of 2020-2021. Today’s post-COVID business operators are more aware of the need to improve approaches to recruiting and providing a conducive workplace.

This year, the above formerly believed optional improvements to build a management culture of Emotional Intelligence have become much better understood as a powerful marketing, sales, personnel management, and business-relations necessities. Such changes are now recognized as essentials for building critical long-term business relationships.

For small business managers, this is the year to follow through on the worthy challenge of habituating these trends in elevating the mindset of the business. It’s the year to recognize the real benefits of prioritizing a healthy workplace for the long-term sustainability of the financial well-being of the enterprise.



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