Three ways small business can step forward in 2021

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Three ways small business can step forward in 2021
Embrace an agile, agreeable mindset.

Many of us are visualising what this year may have in store, and what trends will carry over from the tumultuous 2020.

From facing financial constraints to the mass transition to remote work, small businesses have conjured creative ways to engage customers and maintain revenue.

COVID-19 is far from over and will continue to impact small businesses. With this in mind, here are three ways you can maintain your momentum.

Show your employees trust

While working from home was initially a response to COVID-19, it’s now set to be a standard benefit for any growing business.

Although employees and employers have seen benefits from remote working, it does require a significant amount of trust from the employer.

By trusting employees to work effectively outside the office, organisations can ensure business continuity by operating from anywhere. Research from DocuSign found that 44% of Australians prefer to work for an employer that trusts them to effectively work from home. What’s more, 80% are working as hard, or harder, at home than they would in the office.

With this in mind, digital and cloud solutions have been pivotal in enabling businesses to equip their employees with the tools they need to work effectively, no matter where they’re located.

Ensure your brand represents your values

Akin to trust, your brand must be an authentic representation of your company’s values.

Whether it be for your website, your social media channels, or images for your blog, small business owners know the impact brand and associated imagery can have on capturing the attention of prospective and current customers, as well as nurturing customer trust.

One way to demonstrate authenticity is to ensure the photography you use is a true reflection of your customer base and your business values, which can be a more challenging task than expected. A simple image search of ‘agreements’ or ‘business’ overwhelmingly feature men in a boardroom, shaking hands - which doesn’t accurately reflect the modern Australian way of work, or the values of many businesses. 

Taking this to heart, DocuSign and Unsplash have launched a new image gallery called Reimagining Modern Agreements.” The image gallery reframes the act, location and people that are signing agreements and getting work done. For example, DocuSign found that 68% of Australian professionals have signed a major agreement in jeans and t-shirts, while almost a quarter (28%) have made an agreement while wearing their pyjamas, and the gallery hosts photos that reflect this pivotal change.

For small businesses, accurately reflecting your customer base in your branding is key to ensuring your business is resonating, and that you care about representing your valued customers.

Embrace an agile, agreeable mindset

Despite our best hopes, it looks like 2021 will be another year of unexpected change. With restrictions in flux, the quicker small businesses are able to adapt, the higher your chance of success.

Where flexibility was once desirable, it’s now essential. Remember that every employee and customer has unique circumstances that impact their roles differently. One of our customers, HR Central - an Australia-wide Human Resource solutions provider for small to medium sized businesses - outlined how they are driving a positive mindset.

“The key for businesses will be empowering each individual employee to work in the best way for them - not enforcing either flexible or office-based working, but providing the option. This fosters a culture of trust within an organisation, which is ultimately critical for overall productivity and employee satisfaction” -- Damien Gooden, Chief Executive Officer, HR Central.

COVID-19 will continue to be a game changer for small businesses. By continuing to support a hybrid working model and thinking with a customer-first approach, small businesses will be well positioned to meet the challenges that the future of work requires.

Paul Cross is VP Customer Success JAPAC at DocuSign.

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