Instagram, Airbnb, and Uber all began their success stories as tech startups. Today, they are popular and admired globally. Their cutting-edge ideas and state-of-the-art technologies are always interesting, engaging, and inspiring. They opened new doors for other future startups and small businesses.
However, with the current covid 19 global health crisis taking place around the world and the new normal we all have to embrace, certain changes are expected in the business scene.
What does this mean for tech startups?
What’s in store for them in the coming years?
What will 2021 be like for them?
What will future customers demand?
What’s the long-term impact on the number of investors available, and how will the market respond?
What Should Tech Startups Expect? Top 6 Changes and Trends.
As we enter the 2nd half of 2021, we’ve witnessed many changes across the world, giving rise to a new breed of entrepreneurs.
Foremost among these is the work-from-home directive that resulted from the quarantine.
Although many tech startups had already embraced the WFH concept long before Covid 19 started to wreak havoc, many still had a lot of adjusting to do.
Since there’s no telling when the pandemic will end, the work-from-home concept is expected to continue until 2021.
Many startups have responded well to the new demands due to the global changes forced last year.
For example, the number of organisations that have worked on new development products in fintech and finance has soared.
While venture capital organisations may have looked to reduce the amount of investment they poured into funding new growth, the pandemic has raised the expectation on companies to exploit opportunities.
Like the phoenix that rises out of the ashes, startups, with a little innovation and funding can find trends and maximise long-term technology.
But what other changes and trends should tech startups expect to find in the years to come?
What are the leading sectors to watch, and can an industry like fintech continue to boost the economy and create the tools we need to bounce back from the impact of the pandemic?
By 2021, customer service may still be a major concern for most tech startups, the utmost priority will be on providing clients and prospects all the assistance they need.
1. Customer Support Will be a Major Concern For Most Startups
In a TechCrunch interview back in March, when the pandemic was quite new, representatives from European travel startups shared that they’ve been working double-time focusing on customer support.
They attributed this to travel delays and changes in schedules because of the lockdown.
This made them frantic, tending to calls and inquiries from clients.
By 2021, customer service may still be a major concern for most tech startups. By then, it is hoped that the global health situation will significantly improve.
As such, the utmost priority will be on providing clients and prospects all the assistance they need.
At this point, there will be several businesses slowly getting back on their feet.
Some travel startups will start receiving new bookings, although the volume and traffic would still be nowhere near pre-COVID.
How You Can Take Advantage
Customer support is one area that’s not going away.
While the big technology companies like Google, Facebook & Amazon are working on AI services to handle the multi-million real-time customer inquiries, this can still present an opportunity to set up a BPO service that can assist smaller companies with improving their Customer Support.
Quality customer service can be a real competitive advantage for organisations.
It is not uncommon to see the impact of poor customer service on a company’s bottom line thanks to public humiliations and outcrys’ that can appear instantly on social media following bad service.
If you can develop a platform that can improve the process of assisting with customer services online while using data to model an improved service late on down the line, then you’re likely to take advantage of a future trend.
2. Creating a Significant Social ImpactWill Be An Essential Factor.
With everything that has happened & still happening, and with all social issues that have come to light, businesses are becoming more conscious about socially beneficial matters.
Startups, in particular, will add social responsibility programs to their projects.
This will continue to make a significant mark in 2021 and beyond, especially since more people are now openly sharing their views and opinions on social issues.
Creating a social impact will draw in and engage current clients and possibly bring in new ones.
A large chunk of consumers now look for companies that value ethics and sustainable culture.
Do Well While Doing Well
Not only is it morally and ethically compliant for companies to engage in social wellbeing and create a lasting change, but it is also looked on favorably by consumers.
Customers are more likely to choose companies that act responsibly. They know that their custom is making a real difference in the lives of those less fortunate or not impacting the environment negatively.
Start local. How can your business make an impact in the local community?
For example, can you sponsor the local sports club or provide uniforms to the little league? Could your startup be more carbon-friendly or ban single-use plastics completely?
Building a business should benefit more than just your bottom line or improve the dividends for your shareholders.
The more good you can bring to the world through your startup, not only will your brand name benefit, but you’ll feel better for providing a lasting impact as well.
One Tree Planted
An easy way for startups to act socially responsible is to team up with a third-party company.
One Tree Planted is an online-based NGO that makes it easy for startups and organisations to donate to their cause.
For every $1 donated, they will plant 1 tree in a location of your choice.
These trees have benefits for the environment and provide food and income for underprivileged families.
Working with organisations such as this is something that your customers would love and show that your business is more than just about creating a profit.
In fact, there are indications that 10 years from now, machine learning and AI integration will help tech startups compete with larger, more established companies.
3. Tech Startups Will Now Embrace AI More Prominently
AI or artificial intelligence has been making noise in the tech industry for years, but its presence will become more significant in 2021 and the coming years for startups.
While some businesses are still quite hesitant to integrate AI into their current systems, it will soon be a common factor in the industry.
In fact, there are indications that 10 years from now, machine learning and AI integration will help tech startups compete with larger, more established companies, and the amount of capital investment in AI recently shows that.
In 2020 alone, AI-based technology startups raised USD73.4 billion (with a B) in total funding alone.
The growth factor of this industry, coupled with the number of investors keen to work with entrepreneurs in this space across the world, is a sign worth taking note of.
With Moore’s Law dictating that the power of technology will double every 2 years, we’re due to see some very innovative digital products come into this market over the next decade. Watch this space.
4. Working Remotely or From Home Will Become a Regular Practice
If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught businesses, it is the fact that even with restrictions, efficiency and productivity can still be achieved.
Now more than ever, working remotely or working from home has become significant.
Business leaders and owners used to be hesitant about allowing employees to work remotely, but now they know better. Working from home can even save businesses money.
With fewer overheads to take care of and a smaller number of physical liabilities, moving a business completely online is likely to make investors happier and ensure organisations remain lean.
A study conducted back in 2017 revealed that employees who worked remotely diligently complete their tasks and sometimes even go beyond their expectations.
Employees who work from home also report feeling happier. Happier employees make better employees.
Managers can take advantage of this. However, it’s important to ensure that the right process is in place.
Without a productive and efficient working model, the reality is that employees that work from home could abuse the system.
Startups that plan to move forward with a work from home model must make sure they are prepared to monitor their employee’s output data and use the right platform and tools.
This scenario will continue to make a mark in the tech startup industry in the years to come.
With Covid 19 forcing more startups to consider a more digital and remote workplace, future companies should consider building a company with a work-from-home culture from the beginning.
Doing so will reduce the need for a long transition period, and the technologies would already be in place to monitor employee performance.
Businesses will slowly make working from home their new normal.
5. New Creative and Innovative Ways to Improve Employees’ Wellbeing Will be Introduced.
Businesses are not the only ones affected by the pandemic. Employees also had to go through a lot of changes.
They had a lot of adjusting to do. This is why companies will invest more focus and value in their workers’ well-being.
Many SAAS tech companies will introduce new creative and innovative programs related to work-life balance.
This is an investment that is well worth the capital funding.
Keeping an employee’s happiness on the agenda, especially that of a sales team tasked with bringing in new business revenue, can only add to the potential growth of startups.
They will craft activities that keep employees’ spirits up for their general wellness. Some businesses will put together a variety of activities like;
- Virtual meditation & yoga sessions,
- Critical thinking virtual icebreakers,
- Virtual hugs,
- Online games & dance parties,
- Zoom buddy calls, and
- Hackathons, hack days, or continued education.
Keeping employees engaged and encouraging them to embrace a positive outlook will greatly help improve their health and mental wellbeing.
In the U.S alone, 57% of remote workers say they are satisfied with their job, while 50% of in-house employees say they are.
Private companies can improve employee happiness and lead by example to offer initiatives and creative ways to improve an employee’s well-being, which will ultimately benefit the company.
In 2021, companies will continue to develop programs that cater to the needs of their workers.
This special focus on employees will carry on through the coming years as more and more businesses realise the value of their workers in ensuring the company’s success.
Demand for employee well-being businesses is likely to increase as companies outsource employee development to professionals to attract better talent and stay ahead of the competition.
Lest we forget, the workforce is just as important as the products, services, and customers.
You can’t create a million or even a billion-dollar company without your employees.
Capital investment in the development of employment growth is money well spent.
6. Resiliency Will Become An Essential Element For Tech Startup Success.
One vital thing the pandemic has taught businesses – and the general population – is the importance of being resilient.
When the challenges are too overwhelming at a time of great need and companies are forced to find ways to survive, the ability to recover is what counts the most.
This resiliency is for the management and the workforce and the company‘s business strategy and technology structure.
Companies that fail to be flexible and resilient are the ones that are likely to disappear first. Often, a key feature of startups is their ability to be resilient, which comes from the personality and character of the founder.
When an entrepreneur attempts to venture into a new market, whether, through innovation, sales, or tackling saturated markets like fintech, it’s important to be resilient.
This common trait of successful startup entrepreneurs often helps to separate the failing businesses from the successful ones.
It is vital to have a solid IT resiliency program if businesses want to increase customer engagement and especially when the goal is to survive strong even in the most difficult situations.
In this article, we’ve discussed six changes and trends tech startups should expect.
Tech startups will continue to hog the industry limelight next year and in the years to come.
With each new company looking to take advantage of growth opportunities and investors looking to part with venture capital in various industries, 2021 is set to be an exciting year without much business competition.
However, to ensure efficiency, sustainability, and success, adjusting to expected changes and embracing trends should be prioritised.