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Yahoo Small Business Predictions: Small Business Growth in 2021

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Small Business Growth in 2021

By Kushagra Shrivastava, Managing Director, Verizon Strategy, P&L, and general management lead of Yahoo Small Business

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic transformed life as we knew it. The pandemic hit small businesses particularly hard, but also led to new opportunities for those who were willing and able to pivot. This year, opportunities for small business growth will continue, as business leaders prioritize business resiliency and agility, underpinned by strategic technology integration. The opportunities for entrepreneurial growth are not solely for established business owners-with new market needs and shifts in the business landscape, I anticipate an influx of new startups and small businesses to launch in 2021. 

1. Work from home is the new normal.

We now know that a large percentage of the workforce will not come back to a physical office location. Working from home, remotely will be more normal and more acceptable.

This will have secondary and tertiary effects on commercial real estate like office buildings, retail footprints and, more importantly, how technology is leveraged to allow remote teams to come together and work efficiently.

Last year we saw massive acceleration in the adoption of Advanced Comms solutions such as VoIP services, video conferencing, and collaboration software by SMBs across the world. Underneath this layer, SMBs will demand and require a reliable, high-speed connectivity solution, digital and physical security, device management and asset management capabilities.

2. SMBs will prioritize business resiliency.

Business resiliency took on a whole new meaning in 2020. For SMBs, building a resilient business model and practices became a top priority as the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest, and the political environment created unprecedented challenges for small businesses across the country and caused many to shutter their doors. This year, business owners will prioritize building resilient companies, with agile workforces and business models that are flexible enough to pivot and thrive amid challenging and unpredictable circumstances. 

Technology implementation is a key aspect of building a resilient business. Integrating your software stack such as website, email, CRM, POS, chat and video conferencing systems enhances and streamlines communications between team members and customers, and is key to saving time and enabling a business to run more effectively. 

Adopting a data-driven supply chain will be a key theme and will help protect against supply chain disruption, similar to what the world experienced in 2020. Automating processes through smart solutions will help create more time for strategic planning, goal setting, and improving the bottom line. More importantly, it will allow SMBs to react to disruptive scenarios.

3. SaaS Convergence: All-in-one SaaS solutions becomes mainstream

As the demand for business applications grows, SMBs will be dealing with a multitude of applications. The explosion of SaaS services and products means businesses building their business stack will need to deal with multiple apps, login, passwords, and billing. This has unintended consequences, such as having incompatible systems, data silos and not being able to stay on top of what's happening -- leading to losing tech enable advantage and differentiation. 

A new breed of all-in-one SaaS platform will address this problem by offering many solutions together. We define this new chapter of growth as SaaS convergence. A unified dashboard, single login, single invoice, and interoperable apps that work on any device anytime will be salient characteristics of this transformation. I expect to be writing much more about this trend in the coming months.

4. 2021 might be the best time to start a business.

While today's economic climate and business landscape might seem daunting, the pandemic and its after-effects have created new and lasting needs for both businesses and consumers. For aspiring entrepreneurs with business ideas that align with these new needs, there are opportunities to thrive. Some of the world's most iconic brands, like Microsoft, Apple, Netflix, and Airbnb, were born in the midst of economic hardships and recession. Challenging business and economic climates often lead to innovation and the founding of resilient companies. 

Building a business that will last starts with conducting ample research and identifying white space for the new company. Creating a business plan and developing a strong operational strategy before launching is of paramount importance. Working with a trusted partner company to help develop a business plan and create a launch strategy can also be helpful, as consulting with a business advisor can help minimize risk and build with resiliency in mind.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic proved that businesses must be resilient to survive. In 2021, small business owners will put a new focus on business agility and resiliency as markets and economies continue to change. As new businesses emerge in 2021 and established businesses become more resilient, strategic tech adoption will remain an important part of developing businesses that can not only withstand unprecedented circumstances, but also grow stronger in the face of uncertainty.

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About the Author

Kushagra Shrivastava 

Kushagra Shrivastava is Managing Director at Verizon. He is responsible for SaaS and Digital Product Management and leads the Wireless Product Solutions team. He is also responsible for strategy, P&L, general management, and growth of Yahoo Small Business.

Published Monday, February 01, 2021 7:55 AM by David Marshall
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