Contractors & FreelancersMaking Tax DigitalSmall to Medium Businesses

Small to Medium Business Trends 2022

By December 29, 2021No Comments

As we head into a new year, now is the perfect time to start thinking about what business goals you’d like to achieve in 2022. Whether your aim is to attract new talent or clients, create a positive work environment or a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly business (or all of the above!), we’ve summarised some of next year’s emerging trends that your business should jump on.

 

Sustainable Development Goals

If it isn’t already, working towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals should be on your 2022 to-do list. These 17 objectives provide a clear pathway for us all to work together to tackle the most pressing global issues to create a better future for everyone. And as 99.9% of the UK’s private sector comprises of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), there’s a huge opportunity for SMEs to truly make a difference.

Working to reduce our environmental impact is absolutely crucial so it’s no wonder that climate change has made the list. Not only will being more environmentally conscious make your business more sustainable and resilient, but it also makes you more attractive to potential employees, with 65% of people stating that they’d be more likely to work for a business that’s tackling climate change.

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental impact is to make the switch to LED lighting. It’s been reported that LEDs can reduce your energy costs by up to 80%! They’re also long lasting, durable and have even been noted to increase employee productivity. It’s a win-win situation.

Another easy way of reducing your carbon footprint is to actively seek to use local services wherever possible. As consumers, we’re often encouraged to shop local, but the same can be encouraged for businesses too. Whether it’s scoping out local suppliers for your products, filling your canteen with locally-sourced products or teaming up with other neighbouring businesses, there are plenty of small changes you can implement to make a big difference.

Perhaps one of the major trends for sustainability is electric vehicles. If you’ve been toying with the idea of getting an electric car, 2022 might be the perfect year to do just that. With some brilliant government initiatives, electric vehicles carry great environmental and financial opportunities for both employees and directors. If you’re a director, you can purchase a company electric car out of your profits, and since electric cars are eligible for 100% first year capital allowances, it provides a welcome tax relief! Alternatively, if you’re thinking of offering electric vehicles to your employees, the salary sacrifice scheme also provides some great tax benefits. The scheme gives an employee the opportunity to lease an electric vehicle by deducting it from their gross salary (in the same way that other salary sacrifice schemes work). Not only does this make it much more affordable to have a zero-emissions vehicle, it also reduces your employee’s tax and National Insurance contributions (which means less NI for you to pay, too!).

If you’re thinking of adding electric cars to your fleet, you’ll also want to consider having some charging points installed. The government’s Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) grant, run by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), enables you to save up to 75% on the installation costs. You can claim £350 per socket, for a maximum of 40 single sockets. That’s a saving of £14,000! To find out more about your business’s eligibility and details of how to apply, visit the government’s website.

The trends we’ve listed above focus primarily on climate change, but with 17 goals to choose from, you can make a strong and positive impact by choosing any goal that aligns with your business the most. B1G1 gives great examples of how your business can make a difference through the smallest of changes.

We’re currently working on our Sustainable Development Goals at the moment too – so watch this space!

 

People-power & Automation

As automated processes and Artificial Intelligence become increasingly integrated into everyday life, it’s no wonder that the dynamic between people-power and automation is a hot topic. Achieving a balance between the two is vital in order to create a strong, resilient, happy and efficient workforce.

One of the trends on everyone’s lips is remote/flexible working: it’s here to stay. And many forward-thinking businesses are using this to their advantage. It reduces the cost of office space, gives you access to new and varied talent pools, gives your employees a better work-life balance and is also said to boost productivity. So where does automation come into this? Automated software makes the transition to remote working much easier and more efficient. It empowers and connects employees, giving them the opportunity to collaborate together on digital documents. It also gives you as an employer the ability to oversee, monitor and track progress of projects or employees, providing a highly efficient and productive workforce.

The type of automation software required will vary from business to business, depending on each company’s needs. However, there’s one piece of software every company should be utilising: automated bookkeeping. If you haven’t yet gone digital with your bookkeeping records, it’s time to push it to the top of your agenda. The deadline for Making Tax Digital (MTD) for all businesses is looming and there really isn’t any need to put it off. There are actually endless benefits to using an automated bookkeeping service. It makes administrative tasks so much quicker and easier, significantly reduces the risk of errors and makes your bookkeeping process highly efficient! To help you get started, we’ve partnered with 5 bookkeeping software suppliers to offer you the best rates (plus free trials), so that you can find the right software solution for your business. We’ll hold your hand every step of the way, with guidance and training throughout. Find out more about our MTD services here. If there’s one goal you put on your 2022 list, we highly recommend it’s this!

 

Authenticity in Marketing

Brand authenticity is a huge trend at the minute, and quite rightly so. A study from Stackla shows that 90% of people think authenticity is an important factor when choosing which businesses they want to support.  There is a clear need for businesses to be more authentic, honest and trustworthy. Consumers are now looking to create meaningful interactions with brands and want to know their values. Bottom line is they want to know you care about more than just making money.

So how can you promote this? The pandemic has given us all time to re-evaluate what’s important to us, so as we begin to emerge out of the other side, it’s the perfect opportunity to renew your branding and celebrate authenticity. Forbes suggests that some of the best ways to build brand authenticity in your marketing are:

  • Be consistent with your messaging
  • Be real, and commit to your company’s purpose and values
  • Engage with your customers in a two-way dialogue

The above Stackla study also suggests that businesses should focus more on user-generated content (UGC), with 58% of consumers stating that this was the most authentic type of content. Stackla again outlines some clear advantages to using UGC: it builds trust, influences purchase decisions and promotes a sense of community. With statements like this, authenticity is a trend you really can’t afford to ignore.

 

So, have any upcoming trends made the cut? Whichever goals you decide to set, make sure they align with your company’s purpose and what matters to you the most – it’ll do wonders for your business’s authenticity!

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