Big Picture

Growing in 2021: 5 Key Considerations for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

The business landscape is constantly shifting, creating challenges and opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in their efforts to grow and scale. A small size can be advantageous in the market due to inherent flexibility and adaptability. It allows for quick innovation and frequent adjustments without the need to consider a long chain of decision-makers.

2021 has been a fortuitous year for many reasons. The unpredictability of a pandemic, instability of social patterns, and external regulatory pressure have put many business growth plans on pause. Here are five key considerations for your small to medium-sized business growth in 2021.

  1. Know your customer
    Customer expectations and demands are always shifting. It’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of trends and how they affect your customers specifically. Understanding and using the consumer data you have access to will help you make valuable choices in terms of your products, services, and partner choices.
  2. Take care of your team
    In 2021, staffing has taken the spotlight. This year has brought what is being termed the “Great Resignation.” Employees are no longer accepting of working conditions that do not align with their expectations. For this reason, there has never been a better time to consider your team, how they view your company and what they’re looking for in a career, and make adjustments accordingly.
  3. Encourage communication
    2020 has reiterated the importance of maintaining seamless communication in order to withstand disruptions. You should focus on improving your process for both internal and customer-centric communications and strengthen IT security accordingly. This will help you find opportunities, track critical information both internally and about competitors, and take your business to the next level.
  4. Solidify your competitive edge
    Keep the focus on the core aspects of your business to solidify your competitive edge while allowing your business to continue building on its strengths. Build out a strategic ecosystem to support these core functions. Find complementary strategic partners and products. Complementary partners are those who can add value to your business while you add value to theirs in return. This will help you optimize your competitive advantage.

  5. Think outside of the box
    Businesses that build perspectives can stay ahead of the curve. Take a critical look at your necessary functions and seek help where you need it. Sometimes, the best way to think creatively is to listen to an outside perspective. Perhaps your infrastructure is a business risk and you need IT consulting, or perhaps you could use a fresh eye on marketing. Figure out where your weakness lies and aim to strengthen it.

For small and mid-size businesses, the last two years have been a roller coaster. However, this is an opportunity for growth if you plan carefully. If you are looking to grow in 2021, consider reviewing your data to gain insight into customer expectations, encouraging internal and external communication, taking care of your team, looking outside of the box for creative solutions, illuminating and solidifying your competitive edge.

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Anna Papadopoulos
Vice President & Executive Editor. Anna Papadopoulos is the Vice President and Executive Editor of the CEOWORLD magazine. In that role she resumes responsibility for the CEOWORLD magazine newsroom, setting daily news priorities, and directing all of CEOWORLD magazine's news-gathering teams. Previously, Anna was the senior supervising editor of CEOWORLD magazine's International Desk. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or connect on LinkedIn. Email her at