High Street Renaissance: Four Trends Small Businesses Can Anticipate – CB

The last 18 months have been tough for everyone, especially small business owners. Many entrepreneurs were forced to close or change their businesses during the pandemic, and brick-and-mortar stores remained empty due to the closures. According to a BMO report, employment in companies with fewer than 100 workers fell by more than 20 percent, and 387,000 Canadian companies closed during the first six months of 2020.

“Main Street businesses across the country have generally struggled to survive; Smaller companies have seen almost twice the rate of job loss than medium and large companies, ”says Mike Bonner, BMO’s director of Canadian commercial banking. “Knowing how important these businesses are to local communities and to our nation’s economy, governments and other partners, including BMO, have stepped in to help them find ways to adapt and make real financial progress.”

Multiple levels of government stepped in to provide support through wage and rental subsidies, as well as interest-free business loans to ensure independent businesses survived. And now, with the expansion of vaccines and the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, these business openings on Main Street are above pre-pandemic levels at 45,000 per month, with small businesses driving the job recovery.

All of this is to say that there is no better time for entrepreneurs to invest in their dreams of owning a business. Opportunities for smart and creative people abound, and the entrepreneurial spirit has never felt stronger. With that in mind, here are four key trends that business owners should pay attention to on the road ahead.

The future is digital

Despite pandemic restrictions easing and some offices reopening, working from home remains popular and, for some employees, an indefinite reality. Expect to see continuous digitization of operations as employees remain productive while working from anywhere. Employers who can offer telecommuting flexibility will attract the best candidates, and small businesses with a strong online presence will benefit from a growing desire to purchase goods and services on the Internet.

Small businesses are on the rise

While the pandemic crippled many goals and dreams, it offered a pause to reinvent and reinvest in one’s work. Small businesses are expected to continue to grow and with it, the creation of many jobs and economic recovery. Combine that with the growing desire of many consumers to “buy local” and many small businesses, whether starting or reopening after the pandemic, should expect to see new, loyal, and digital-savvy consumers.

Financial loans help businesses recover

Government subsidies and financial loans for small businesses skyrocketed during the pandemic, including incentives for companies to retain or rehire employees, and subsidies for freelancers who were unable to collect employment insurance. Startups and businesses recovering from the hardships of the pandemic should look to business loans and the advice of their financial advisers as the support they need to be successful.

Optimism ahead

While it has been a difficult year for many, entrepreneurs are resilient by nature and, going forward, it seems that optimism will not be out of place. Consumers are excited to revisit and support the businesses that were lost during the closings. Main Street is expected to lead the next stage of the economic recovery and with the “local stores” movement only growing in popularity, there is room for reopenings and new business launches.

How BMO Can Help You Navigate These Trends

BMO offers a suite of products and expert advice, providing business owners with everything they need to get ahead and stay ahead. Expect one-on-one calls and meetings with an expert banker to help you navigate it all, no minimum fees or balances on select business plans to help you save money, instant loan approvals to take the guesswork out of the application process, and access to discounted benefits from the BMO partners. Banking with BMO can help your business make real financial progress. More in bmo.com/businessoffers.


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