Business trends of 2021: here’s how to thrive in the new year as a small business

Mark Bouris

As the world continues to shift with the dynamic economic environment, adopting modern technologies has become a non-negotiable for small to medium businesses seeking growth in a post pandemic era.  

A recent study by Lenovo found that millennials (79 per cent) are most likely to agree that their companies need to do more with newer technologies if they are to stay competitive post-pandemic, followed by Gen Z (61 per cent) and Gen X (59 per cent). 

To survive and stay ahead, you need to digitally transform. If you don’t pivot, you’re going to be left behind.

How to set your business up for success

Small to medium sized business owners are uniquely placed to grow exponentially as they are small and therefore more agile. Technology allows SMBs to become more productive as well as free up more time, so with this in mind, here are some tips on how to maximise your efficiency. 

Five ways to become more productive

1. Create the perfect environment

Make sure you’re comfortable and free from distractions. If you’re working from home, ensure you pick a dedicated spot to work from, rather than bouncing from the kitchen, to the couch, or to your room. This way, you can maintain your work set-up, while being able to separate your working area from your relaxation spaces.

2. Do a digital face-lift

Whether it’s improving your digital literacy skills to communicate and collaborate better with stakeholders or examining your cost-line by finding alternative hardware options, digitisation is key to driving efficiency and increasing employee productivity.

Implement platforms that have potential to scale and be developed further; we need to make sure we have devices that can be adaptive with future devices or speak with our other devices and software for maximum integration and minimal hassle. Setting up technology that will support you and your goals will free up some time to be able to focus solely on your business.

Connectivity and reliable technology opens up a world of opportunities for small businesses. Using smart technology such as a Lenovo ThinkBook means you can streamline most of your processes so you don’t have to think twice about it. Finding technology with capabilities built not only into the product but the platform itself will make your life easier.

3. Save the headaches and outsource help

SMBs are spinning multiple plates and wearing lots of different hats at all times. From data and cyber security risks to integrating hardware, software and multiple systems, IT can often be all consuming and distract from the big picture.

Consider outsourcing your tech needs via a flexible Services model so you can keep your eye on the prize and focus on growing your business rather than lose sleep over gaps or IT vulnerabilities. 

4. Think about technology as a social medium

Whether you own a home-salon, provide services as a sparky, or own a food business, utilise social media platforms to grow your exposure. Analyse your data: who are you talking to, why are you talking to them and why would they care? You need the right devices to connect but even something as small as speaking to your community and engaging with your audience can increase your social and digital presence.

5. Take a break

Relax! Disconnect and switch off from work when you can; sometimes taking a step back can help you see the bigger picture.

What will success in 2021 look like?

Necessity caused everyone to adopt technology faster than previously predicted, causing a deep shift in traditional structures and models of working. With more people working remotely, along with international travel restrictions in place, the market for some businesses have shrunk. This can lead to the false idea of having to work harder, resulting in exhausted resources, burnout, or difficulty getting more out of what you’re investing in. How can you get a bigger share in a smaller market?

Remember: work smarter, not harder.

Australia is globally one of the slowest in digitisation in a small business environment. To keep up with the momentum around the world, utilising digitisation tools as your business continues to develop will ensure you stay current. Things are changing so rapidly that it’s crucial to maintain a network of partners that can provide this technology and help your business boom.


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By Mark Bouris

Mark Bouris founded Wizard Home Loans in 1999 and sold it to GE Money for almost $500 million. He later starred in the Australian version of reality TV show 'The Apprentice', then in 2009 founded financial advisory service firm Yellow Brick Road. He is the host of #1 business podcast The Mentor and founder of business education platform Mentored.com.au.