City street with a blurred image of people crossing in the crosswalk.
From a hybrid "phygital" business solution to a continued consumer demand for personalization, these business owners offer up their top predictions affecting businesses in 2022. — Getty Images/deberarr

Despite a rebound in business activity after 2020, the year 2021 continued to provide obstacles for small business owners to overcome. From supply chain disruptions and staffing shortages to constantly shifting COVID-19 protocols and inflation, businesses have had to adapt to survive.

Though 2022 will surely bring new challenges, business owners have more growth and development to look forward to in the new year. Here, 13 entrepreneurs share their predictions for the year to come, including concerns to anticipate and plan for and positive outlooks to look forward to.

Employee and consumer demands for ‘better’

“The trends I see in 2022 are an increase in wages and benefits to keep existing employees and to attract A-players to our organizations, and customer demands for top-notch service to ensure the health and safety of employees and clients who visit their buildings.”

— Tom Richter, president and CEO of JAN-PRO Cleaning & Disinfecting of Utah

Challenges with staffing and interest rates

“We expect that hiring challenges will persist for another year and will remain our biggest challenge. We also believe that interest rates will remain very low and inflation will normalize, although not until the fourth quarter of 2022.”

— Mike Zaffaroni, owner and CEO of Liberty Landscape Supply

Diversified outreach campaigns that encourage engagement

“I predict that SMBs will keep their customers more engaged and connected via multiple channels in 2022. The key is to create outreach campaigns, not just via emails and newsletters but through various social media platforms too. Consumers engage with a company in a brick-and-mortar store, online or in a mobile app, by catalog, or via social media, so every piece of the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary.”

— Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls

[Read more: How to Grow Sales Through Customer Engagement]

A gentle recession following an uptick in job applicants

“We expect to see candidates trickle back into the workforce gradually. We are preparing for at least a gentle recession as inflation, supply chain challenges and workforce challenges continue to be an issue.”

— Ian MacLean, president and owner of Highland Landscaping LLC

A ‘phygital’ future for small businesses

"For small and medium enterprises (SMEs), it is clear that the future is phygital (physical + digital). We will witness [a] greater awareness and embrace of digital solutions across businesses, either for payments, marketing or something else. We don't anticipate all businesses to go online, and it's unlikely that they will or that they should. That said, we do envision a world where existing physical businesses become more efficient and competitive by adopting small and easy-to-use software solutions that are tailor-made for this segment of the economy."

— Kunal Lunawat, managing partner and co-founder of Agya Ventures

The rise of alternative work weeks

"We’re at an amazing point in our history where we’re able to change the rulebook, start things from scratch and figure out how we can make a significant difference to the way that we’re working. Workweek structures have been in favor of the employer for a long time. I think it’s important that we get to where there is a balance on both sides. I would encourage other leaders and entrepreneurs to do what works for your business and team."

— Tom Fairey, CEO and co-founder of Stakester

Consumers have come to expect personalized experiences across channels, and brands must continue to implement data-driven personalization into their communications strategy at every level.

Darren Litt, co-founder of Hiya Health

Planning for the continued supply chain crisis

"Make sure to analyze your stock levels, sales and inventory and plan ahead. Planning is the best practice for business success. Buy well and buy smart. In today’s world, with today’s demand, stock is king. Customers want goods now, and they are willing to pay for them."

— Darryn Garson, chief growth officer at IBrands Global

Contract bundling

“The lack and continued decrease of acquisition professionals, combined with increased appropriations and budgets, requires that the current acquisition workforces ‘do more with less.’ As a result, organizations, both commercial and government, are bundling contracts to minimize the number of contracts and the time to manage them. However, contract bundling can wreak havoc on the small business community.”

— Padma Vatsavai, CEO of Vinformatix

[Read more: How to Bid on a Federal Government Contract]

More tech-enabled shopping experiences

“Live chat, online shopping platforms, in-app deliveries, and more are what consumers need these days, and they will only continue to ask for those services.”

— Samantha Moss, editor and content ambassador at Romantific

Data-driven personalization in marketing

“The trend of personalization will be a driving force in marketing strategy for 2022 for small businesses. Consumers have come to expect personalized experiences across channels, and brands must continue to implement data-driven personalization into their communications strategy at every level.”

— Darren Litt, co-founder of Hiya Health

More video content across platforms

“In 2022, videos in marketing will win more customers because videos give a clear description of the products, creating more confidence in customers before buying the product online. Video content can also be used to create blog content once reformatted on other platforms. Video marketing will also enable small businesses to share the same video content to different platforms, serving a wide range of customers at once.”

— Olivia Tan, co-founder of

More innovative hiring strategies

“Throughout 2022, we will continue to see a talent shortage. This will force small businesses to become more innovative through automation, outsourcing and growth prospects. Many aspects of business, especially in the talent sector, that worked five years earlier, will no longer be effective in 2022.”

— Larry Kidd, president and CEO of :hire

[Read more: How to Effectively Hire and Retain Employees]

Higher investment in employee training and well-being

“I predict employee training will be on the rise to bridge the gap of the new virtual workforce. Companies will be investing in more employee training, time management, diversity training, and health and wellness through digital events and conferences. Since hired speakers no longer have to travel to employees on location, it becomes more cost-effective for companies to invest into the wellbeing of their workforce, and offers remote workers or contractors from around the world the larger opportunity to connect and to flourish.”

Ashley Armstrong, entrepreneur, speaker and author

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published December 31, 2021