Are you nervous? Worried about economic chaos? Concerned about the level of uncertainty that the lingering Covid19 pandemic may cause?

Or are you optimistic? Convinced that your business will grow and that you will find lots of opportunities for growth and success in the 12 months ahead?

If you know me, you’ll know I am a rebellious optimist. So, unsurprisingly, I fall into the second of those two categories. But when I began the research for the Tips & Trends series of content that I am currently posting each day on Actually’s social media channels, I had a twinge of nerves. What if all the experts said that the year ahead would be a catastrophe? What if every entrepreneur I spoke to laughed at my optimism? What if every marketing guru, sales genius and communications virtuoso said that it’s going to be a terrible year and we should all just hide under the duvet and hope for it to end?

Fortunately, that didn’t happen. If you’ve been following the series, you’ll know that there are LOADS of insights, ideas and prompts to help you plan for the year ahead. But just in case you’ve not been following along, here are five of the things I uncovered in my research.



My vision is a world in which EVERY business is driven by purpose; where all business owners understand that you don’t need to choose between purpose and profit – that you CAN make money and make a difference. In fact, I imagine a world in which all owners, CEOs and shareholders know that it is our responsibility to grow businesses that have a positive impact, that create a better world for us and for future generations.

That’s why Actually exists – to support values driven, purpose-led business owners to grow their business and their impact! That is my purpose.

And it seems that for the first time in my life, I am ‘on trend’!  Many commentators, future gazers and existing business leaders – like Actually Partner Joanna C Martin, Founder of One of Many, are predicting that 2021 will be the year of ‘purpose’.

The brands and companies that flourish in 2021 will be those that have a reason to exist beyond making money for their Founders or shareholders: companies with a ‘Big Why’ that transcends the purely financial or transactional; businesses that make a deliberate and positive difference; entrepreneurs whose raison d’etre encompasses social impact.

Understanding your purpose, the purpose your business exists to deliver and being able to clearly articulate that will be more important than ever in the year ahead.



Ahhhhhhh….remember the good old days?

Nostalgia marketing evokes strong positive emotions in the audience and gives a sentimental boost to the business or brand.

According to research, during times of uncertainty and in particular when there is an economic downturn, we see more nostalgia marketing as consumers look to connect with happier times. For example, nostalgia marketing was used more during the 1920’s depression and the post 2008 recession.

Apparently, when social and travel restrictions were put into place, mentions of keywords on social media related to nostalgia or remembering the past shot up from a baseline of around 13 million mentions to 24.4 million: an increase of 88%.

So we can expect to see a surge of nostalgia in the economic downturn in 2021.

How can your business connect with nostalgia?



I spend a lot of time talking to my clients about their business strategies – as well as their communications. One of the things we look at is derisking their revenue streams which is just fancy management jargon for creating guaranteed income so that they can worry less about money and start really focussing on impact. We look at a range of options to create this baseline income including memberships or subscriptions – getting steady revenue streams just makes more sense than intermittent sales.

The subscription based business sector has been growing by 100% plus year on year for the last few years. Think Netflix, Mindful Chef, Bloom & Wild. In 2021, I predict we will see another huge surge.

In his book Subscribed, Tien Tzuo argues that subscription-based models are the future. He went further – saying “if you’re not shifting to this business model now, chances are that in a few years you might not have any business left to shift.”

So, a question to ponder ahead of 2021, how could you build a subscription model or membership offering into your business?



Think back over 2020. Beyond the pandemic. And the number one issue in society and business has been inclusivity – or rather, the lack of it.

According to Accenture, this cultural shift is already affecting purchasing behavior in the retail sector: 41% of shoppers “have shifted… their business away from a retailer that does not reflect how important [identity and diversity] is to them.” The same study showed that 29% of consumers are willing to switch brands completely if they don’t showcase enough diversity—and that percentage just goes up for ethnic minorities and the LGBT+ community.

And this isn’t only the case in retail. Your consumers, clients and potential clients want to see a more optimistic depiction of equality in the content they consume and the businesses they buy from.

Doing nothing was never an ethicallly sustainable position. In 2021, it will no longer be a commercial option either.

How will your business walk the talk of inclusivity in 2021?



If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us it is this: successful businesses know how to cope with risk and uncertainty. They have the right plans in place; they have contingency built into their model; they have reduced dependencies. They are prepared and agile enough to respond quickly.

I am an optimist but I am not naive! Right now, I am reviewing every aspect of my business to look for the weaknesses that might undermine my ability to respond to further risk or chaos. Do I have sufficient cash reserves to keep my business afloat and pay bills if my income were to reduce unexpectedly? Can my systems and processes cope with a significant increase (or decrease) in demand? Am I overly reliant on one platform, one channel, one sales funnel for my business? Do I have plans in place to deal with particular types of crisis eg: complaints, illness, loss of a key client?

I was never a Scout (clearly!) but being prepared is a business necessity and one that should be at the top of your priority list going into 2021.

How prepared are you for the risks as well as the opportunities of the year ahead?


The Tips & Trends 2021 series is a post every day in December – these are just five of the ‘tips’. If you want to find some more, follow along by joining the Actually Facebook Group or you could register for the Tips & Trends 2021 free masterclass on Tuesday January 5th at 6pm AND get a copy of the Actually report. Here’s the link.

Sara Price

Founder, Actually




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