The business year 2021

Cheeky Panda's Chris Forbes reviews the past 12 months and looks ahead to the future.

The business year 2021

Cheeky Panda‘s Chris Forbes reviews the past 12 months and looks ahead to the future.

The year 2021 has certainly been a strange one. There was a lockdown to survive during winter and early spring; we also witnessed some panic buying, along with inflation and a general uncertainty. But it was also a year of opportunity. New ways of working have emerged, while many families have benefitted from a much improved work-life balance. There was greater community engagement than I can ever remember, so what is the final outcome as we look forward to 2022?

We are seeing new shifts in buying trends, with subscription models seemingly on the rise. Delivery aps have become popular, with people choosing convenience over price.  Consumers have been driven by the messaging from COP26 and are now choosing their products carefully. It’s no longer just about the brands, but the ethics of the companies behind those brands.

We have arrived at a moment like no other, with greater changes in consumer trends than we’ve seen for decades. It’s very difficult for large companies to immediately change their sourcing and manufacturing methods, in order to meet the demands of the new green economy.  

That is why a lot of the biggest firms have set targets for making structural changes, but not until the years 2030 or 2050. The large corporates behave like oil tankers insofar as they have a very wide and slow turning circle. Most of the innovation is being delivered by smaller companies, many of which are being bought out by larger ones. This is where entrepreneurs can fill the void.

As the economy and consumers shift to a more sustainable future, there has been a dramatic rise in zero waste shops. The concept of a zero waste shop is simple: Products are sold in bulk, often without packaging, and all items with a ‘best before date’ or ‘expiry date’ must have a final destination. For example, if unsold in the shop, they must go to a local food bank or into a compost heap.

We are certainly not at the point of business becoming part of a ‘green rush’, but the foundations are definitely there. And if we are going to live in a better world, then we can all contribute. Whether it is buying these products, creating businesses or promoting this sector, there is significantly more opportunity for entrepreneurs to occupy this space than ever before.

Of course, everything still comes with a risk. But my tips on how to bootstrap ideas from previous monthly columns should help you to explore any ideas you have of running your own business. This advice will assist you to scale up too. Next year will bring a whole new set of unforeseen challenges but, if you have a plan to cover the next six to 12 months, then that is a great foundation. Good luck in 2022.

Chris Forbes
Chris Forbes

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