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Entrepreneurs’ Forum identifies important business trends for 2021

Chief executive Jonathan Lamb said each has grown in prominence over the past nine months as businesses have adapted to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by the pandemic.

He said: “This last year has accelerated many trends already underway and brought others to the forefront, such as home working.”

The Forum has identified three key trends it predicts will have a significant impact on business growth over the next 12 months.

Digital nomads: What began as a necessity will become a permanent or semi-permanent arrangement, as a growing number of employees join freelancers in working from home. This offers businesses greater flexibility, frees them from geographic constraints and offers major savings on fixed costs, such as office space

Regular reassessment: Entrepreneurs were able to take a step back to re-evaluate their businesses, to consider what was and wasn’t working and to reassess how best to respond to a rapidly shifting market. This process of introspection is set to become a regular feature of growing a successful business

Green agenda: After coronavirus, the next major challenge is climate change. With the UK government committed to decarbonising the economy and our homes, there are huge opportunities for entrepreneurs to influence and accelerate a process that will impact on every part of our life. In addition, businesses will be expected to show the steps they are taking to reduce their own carbon footprint

Jonathan said: “Some of these trends are not exactly new but have achieved greater prominence and acceptance due to the pandemic, something due to continue over the next 12 months.

“The ability for remote working existed prior to spring lockdown but what was a necessity is now part of everyday life and will accelerate the shift away from office-centric working.

“Likewise, most entrepreneurs look to innovate in their strategies, but the past nine months allowed them to take a forensic look at their business models – to become more responsive and reactive, a process that will become a permanent feature of the successful modern business.

“I also predict entrepreneurs will play a greater role in tackling climate change, with 2021 set to be pivotal in the mass acceptance of eco technologies and the need to decarbonise.”

In November Dragons’ Den star Sara Davies, founder, and CEO of Newton Aycliffe-based Crafter’s Companion, told an Entrepreneurs’ Forum panel event that she had great confidence in the future and that 2021 would witness a reboot of the entrepreneurial spirit.

Jonathan added: “We have been through a difficult period, but despite tough economic times and uncertainty, entrepreneurs have been working hard to respond to the new opportunities that 2021 will bring.”