Top 2022 Business Trends A Guide for Business Owners in Toronto

Top 2022 Business Trends: A Guide for Business Owners in Toronto

As businesses slowly pick up after the height of COVID-19, the “new normal” presents both challenges and opportunities. The pandemic has changed many things even in our city.

Many business practices have been updated to meet the sudden shift to remote working. Moreover, business owners now approach many policies and tasks differently thanks to shifts in the way customers themselves behave.

In this article, we listed down the top business trends predicted for 2022, to help you navigate the new year. We also provided further insights into the associated opportunities and challenges in each trend and linked to local resources that can help you with each one.

Diversified Avenues of Recruitment

Recent shifts in employee experience shows a need for more innovative ways of recruitment. According to Forbes, gone are the days of full-time employment – contract-basis hiring is taking over.

Reaching out to recruitment agencies for contract workers can be an advantage. For one, it helps companies diversify their pool of talents (especially across continents, if the agency hires cross-border), and two, it saves them more time and money in the long haul.

Hiring independent contractors is usually seen as the best move today too – often in a remote setup. Here are a couple more key insights to help you expand your staffing efforts:

Opportunities:

  • A 2021 study by CareerArc showed that 92% of employers use social networks to find talent.
  • Every week, about 40 million come to LinkedIn to search for potential jobs.
  • Developing a clear employer brand reflects the values and culture that businesses represent and can help attract the right people.

Challenges:

  • A growing talent shortage may leave over 85 million jobs unfulfilled by 2030.
  • You’ll see bigger staffing competition against other organizations that are also using social media channels
  • There are arising concerns on increased minimum wages and employee retention (both virtual and on-site).

Employee-Centered Policies

In line with growing recruitment strategies, organizations are also pushing for more employee-oriented policies. After all, the pandemic revealed just how important workers are in tough times.

The way people work is rapidly changing, so it becomes the leader’s responsibility to keep employees motivated, even in new systems with remote work settings. 

On top of that, it’s essential to train people to easily adapt to change, become more resilient, and transform into independent thinkers, especially in times of upheaval.

Building employee-centered policies can start as simply as changing the leaves policy. What’s important is, as a business owner, you listen to what your employees want first and apply changes accordingly.

Opportunities:

  • Emotional intelligence is a powerful tool for understanding unique employee situations, both personal and in the workplace.
  • There is tremendous emphasis on protecting the mental health and overall well-being of employees, both for the company’s reputation as well as the employees’ welfare.
  • Investing in a more humane working environment and conditions that uphold all legally provided employee rights can pay off in productivity and retention.

Challenges:

  • In a remote work setting, there is a clear communication gap that may arise from mismatches with channels to cultural differences and language barriers.
  • There are clear challenges in measuring the progress for employee engagement policies.
  • Difficulty in eliminating any existing crisis or negative working conditions in the workplace may be due to prejudice against change.

Digital Literacy and Digital Marketing

The Internet is a businessman’s portal to limitless opportunities, but it’s one that also rapidly changes. To keep up with newer trends here, it’s essential to understand how they work digitally and how they translate to real-world results.

Being digitally literate encompasses many things. For a business, it could mean automation in service management. For a business owner, it may mean being aware of big systems, the cloud, and other tech tools to take advantage of.

In line with this, digital marketing is bigger than ever. This should get a lot of attention in your marketing efforts, with strategies like search engine optimization or SEO, paid ads, social media advertising, and more becoming part of your roster.

Challenges:

  • Influencer culture continues to be one of the greatest drivers of online advertising campaigns.
  • There’s a lot of room for multiprong strategies across a diverse set of channels and target audiences.
  • User experience is the currency of the century – the more positive the experience is for the customer, the more likely they are to share it with others.

Challenges:

  • Populating website content with relevant and up-to-date content, both written and visual media, can be taxing.
  • Producing high-quality leads that increase conversion and acquisition rates in the long run requires careful strategy and adjustment.
  • Compliance with laws and regulations on privacy in data-sharing on a national and global scale is necessary.

Flexible Working Environments

In 2022, traditional office culture might start to become a relic of the past. These days, employers are adapting to more flexible options when it comes to office rentals.

For instance, some businesses have embraced the hybrid working environment. This allows them to accommodate the needs of both their on-site and remote employees.

In addition to this, co-working spaces have also become more popular throughout the years, although it may not be for everyone, This setting is more fitting for small teams with little to no micromanagement involved.

Opportunities:

  • Hybrid and remote settings often boost productivity, employee morale, and life-work balance.
  • These settings offer an avenue to reduce carbon footprint due to the minimized permanence of business operations.
  • Remote and hybrid systems show more versatility even in tough conditions, such as natural disasters.

Challenges:

  • A one-size-fits-all solution can’t be produced. 
  • Updating business programs based on the changes of the employees’ needs is difficult.
  • Remote employees may be prone to distraction or engaging in unnecessary tasks (e.g. chitchatting) that may impede the work process.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

As we get increasingly digital, we get increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks, often designed to access sensitive information. And if your business has an online profile, it’s only necessary to take measures to avoid these threats.

Other than that, cybersecurity also encapsulates the protection of your data as a business. These may include implementing IT systems to prevent any form of network assault.

Opportunities:

  • The emergence of artificial intelligence paves the way for AI-powered cybersecurity. This system studies patterns of behavior to find out if something suspicious is taking place and can be a strong measure against assault.
  • Multi-factor authentication will be at the core of cybersecurity practices.
  • Security companies are available and can help you with privacy protection measures and cyber resilience.

Challenges:

  • There’s a risk of security holes and certain misconfigurations once people move into the cloud.
  • There’s a lot of confusion on new laws and regulations governing online security practices.

Branding and Identity

Business branding and identity never go out of style. But those who refuse to adapt to changes will lag behind a strong sea of competition.

With the growing importance of the digital sphere to business owners, transformation in branding has also been taking place. Gone are the days of only using the company’s values as the major moving point – the customers have a greater involvement now and want to feel represented too.

Businesspeople can expect to rely more on creative design agencies to produce their visual identity elements, as visuals are still key in quick brand identification and communication. In addition, they should also connect with ad agencies to create more meaningful and purposeful marketing practices.

Opportunities:

  • There’s an emphasis on synchronized content-sharing among various social media channels.
  • Visual content takes center stage as the key to keeping customers more engaged with the brand.
  • Purpose-driven campaigns attract a lot of people with their nods to social justice and other advocacies.

Challenges:

  • Branding campaigns require serious financial investment that can put small business owners behind the line.
  • There’s inherent difficulty in overseeing multiple social media platforms at once.
  • There’s a tendency to downplay human emotions to prioritize the power of logic.

Increased Demand in Personalized Products

If you’re looking to diversify your business, personalized merchandise is a great market to get into. This is because it’s what many consumers want now.

Customer satisfaction is one of the hardest goals to achieve in a business. But with personalized products, the satisfaction is higher because the customer is in command of what they get.

Furthermore, customers are a lot more willing to share their data when they know it’s a customized product. This then helps business owners understand what a customer wants during the shopping journey and adapt strategies accordingly.

Product personalization taps into various services such as t-shirt printing and other related accessories. The degree of personalization you can offer may vary, depending on your industry and product type.

 Opportunities:

  • Personalization expands the capabilities of the vendor to tap into all sorts of demographic backgrounds.
  • The entire shopping experience is suited for the customer’s taste, leaving a better impression.
  • Online channels (including the e-commerce culture) contribute to the integration of shopping and customization.

Challenges:

  • Interpreting market behavior from diverse sets of data is difficult.
  • The large variability of options can make the process more complex and difficult for daily operations.
  • Business owners must make a hefty investment in pieces of machinery, related equipment, and the talent and labor of artists.

With new business trends set to make way in 2022, it’s necessary for business owners to adapt to the changes. While these trends say a lot about customer expectations on businesses now, there is still room for adjustments to anticipate in the following months.