The Key Small Business Trends for 2024 You Need to Know
Anticipating the future is crucial for small business success. But it may be especially challenging this year since there are so many innovations and potential changes in areas like community building, personalization, finances, marketing, and technology. To help figure it out, I asked several small business experts to share their insights on 2024 trends to better prepare you to navigate our ever-evolving entrepreneurial world.
One of the key small business trends for 2024 will be the commitment to communities as a strategic imperative. Businesses of all sizes will make fostering the growth of their local communities a top priority in 2024. It’s of strategic importance and can provide a competitive advantage. As businesses, we are all responsible for building stronger economies and more resilient communities.
Maintaining a strong brand identity and foothold within the market boils down to how you manage your customer relationships. In 2024, businesses of all sizes will invest more in the customer experience to keep their clients happy and returning. Entrepreneurs will seek tools to help them go the extra mile for their customers, investing in customer experience (CX) teams to ensure clients are happy from start to end and, most importantly, return for future and repeat business.
Small businesses continue grappling with significant challenges impacting their growth and sustainability. According to insights recently gathered by Hello Alice, the struggle to secure capital or find accessible loans remains a pressing issue, with a substantial 31.4% of small business owners reporting this challenge. The elevated rate of inflation poses a considerable hurdle for these businesses as well. Unlike larger competitors, small businesses often lack the purchasing power to handle this escalating issue, facing a dual challenge: navigating inflation’s impact while competing in a market where larger counterparts possess greater financial leverage.
This will be a good year for franchising, as there will be continued interest in franchise ownership, especially from people who want to change careers. Today’s employees want more control over their hours and their lives, with a good number of them wanting to continue working from home. So, look for more home-based franchise concepts to be developed and for the franchise sectors of food, fitness, and businesses that service the senior population to be the strongest this year.
From the creator and sharing economies to e-commerce and traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, 2024 is the year that SMBs go global. For businesses of all sizes, the mindset has largely shifted beyond the local neighborhood to the global digital economy.
Marketers must continue to innovate and stay ahead of the curve by examining how companies strategically utilize the tools at their fingertips. 2024 marketing trends will include the use of AI, zero and first-party data, and new advertising and content formats to stand out from the competition.
Independent businesses will continue to adopt and embrace innovative tech to augment their businesses. AI will not completely replace workers but will augment independent businesses and help them become more productive, giving back time to focus on doing what they love.
SaaS companies will shift their focus to more inclusive technology with intuitive points of entry to cater to older business owners. SMBs will embrace AI and scale back on SaaS providers as they start to invest more across the tech sector, with a large focus on manufacturing advances across the supply chain.
Change is the only constant in the small business landscape, and 2024 is sure to bring new challenges and opportunities for business owners. Entrepreneurs will continue integrating new technologies into their companies in 2024.
Generative AI will transform SMBs across various domains, and small business-focused technology companies will focus on products that meet older business owners where they are, as generation X and baby boomers made up 86.8% of all small business owners in 2023.
In conclusion, the business landscape is always changing, and staying ahead of the trends is essential for small business success. Regardless of the challenges, small business owners are resilient and will continue to find innovative ways to navigate the ever-evolving entrepreneurial world. The future presents both opportunities and challenges, and it’s crucial for small businesses to stay informed and prepared for the road ahead.