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This year has been a game-changer for businesses throughout a broad range of industries. As 2020 came to a close, we were faced with the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns that sought to help manage the spread of the virus. This past year, new vaccines allowed a return to normalcy in many ways. While the Covid-19 pandemic still restricts us, the U.S. economy has started to rebound in a few key areas.

There Was More Financial Support

Small businesses all across the country were able to stay afloat throughout the pandemic by utilizing support from the government. In particular, the Paycheck Protection Program helped business owners ensure their employees were paid their wages on time. This, in turn, helped to support the economy by allowing wage earners to pay their own monthly bills. Business owners also made use of other resources to help them keep their businesses operational. While traditional loans weren’t really a feasible option, grants, crowdfunding, and peer lending opportunities helped small business owners meet their financial obligations throughout 2021.

Increased Social Media Use

Even though the digital marketing industry grew from $4.75 billion to $11.44 billion over the past seven years, social media marketing has also increased. Small business owners found that they could build their brands at a significantly lower cost by leveraging their social media accounts. By creating original content, hosting live online events, and offering rewards for loyalty, businesses grew their customer bases significantly in 2021 without spending much from their marketing budgets.

Tech Grew by Leaps and Bounds

The tech industry helped lead change in multiple other industries by offering countless innovations. In the past 12 months, virtual and augmented reality technology was significantly improved, making these tools useful in real estate, healthcare, construction, and a multitude of other industries. Artificial intelligence was also improved in 2021, making it more useful for website design, smart electronics, and many more uses. We have also seen 3D printing become more advanced, leading to an entirely new manufacturing process called additive manufacturing.

While it’s difficult to predict what will happen with a virus that seems to be here to stay, the U.S. and the rest of the world are returning to business as usual. Improved safety measures and new treatments will help us to continue restoring our economy. In the coming 12 months, it’s expected that more industries will adapt their business models to help them thrive in 2022.