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What’s on the Small Business Radar for 2024?

By: Mark Kleinschmidt

As the CEO of your business, it’s vital to stay ahead of the competition and maintain a forward-looking mindset. However, with emerging technology and unpredictable economic conditions, what key areas should you be looking at?

It is a good idea to check the radar screen for new opportunities and challenges for your business. But are you ready for them? Perhaps a better question is: What new challenges and opportunities will be coming down the pike in 2024?  

While the specifics may differ from one business to another, the Small Biz CEO has identified 5 trends that deserve your attention. Each one of them can have a significant impact on your business.

  1. Economic Uncertainties
  2. Finding and Keeping Employees
  3. The Customer Experience
  4. Implementing Technology
  5. Updating your USP


Preparing for Economic Uncertainties

Many economists were predicting a recession last year and it did not happen, but what about 2024?  Interest rates will come down but the impact  of inflation has increased the cost of doing business and if you have not done so, you may need to consider increasing your prices to ensure you have a growing bottom line.

And don’t forget how economic challenges may impact your employees. The cost of living  has gone up, affecting both employees’ salaries and employers’ budgets as they try to remain competitive and keep great workers. This leads us to the other area of concern for 2024.

Finding and Keeping Employees

Over the past few years, we have faced enormous hurdles, undergone a vast amount of change in how work is done, and we have become more adaptable and flexible with our employees, particularly with new work from home movement.   The days of quiet quitting and the Great Resignation may be behind us, but businesses are still vying for top talent and looking for effective ways to hire and keep great employees. Employers must differentiate their brand from competitors by creating positive candidate and employee experiences.

The survey data shows that many small businesses ae struggling to find workers with the right skills and experience. If you plan to hire new people in 2024 you may need to rethink your compensation package.  It is not just about the pay.  Flexible work schedule, benefits and company culture are more important than ever. How do you stack up in these areas.  What can you do to become the employer of choice?

The Customer Experience

Customer shopping habits are always changing.  Technology is a big driver of  changes and we are still trying to figure out the changes caused by the pandemic.  The digital experience has to be seamless and many customers are looking for a memorable in-person experience for shopping and dining.  But how do you provide this, especially if you have a challenge finding quality staff?

To ensure success, small business owners should have a mobile-friendly, easy-to-navigate website with e-commerce options that allow consumers to quickly find what they want and purchase products or services from their mobile devices. The same attention to detail should be applied to traditional shopping methods. Look for ways to continue the convenience of blending the two, such as curbside pickups, and make sure your in-store service leaves customers with a positive experience.

Take Advantage of Technology

It seems every year there are some technological innovations that can impact your business.  What does 2024 have in store for you?  There are three trends that you may want to factor into your business operations.

Cybersecurity risks: The growing dependence on online technology and cloud computing has significantly increased the risks of cyberattacks. Pandemic-driven growth of remote workers has also increased the risks related to cybersecurity and costly data breaches. Maintaining stringent security protocols is a top priority for businesses that are prioritizing data security and mitigating cyber threats.

Artificial intelligence. AI is certainly getting a lot of headlines but what does it mean for your business?  The successful integration of AI into your businesses requires a shift in mindset and a commitment to digital transformation. You can use the AI chat functionality on your web site, have AI generate customized ads to your targeted customers or use it in the automation of HR activities.

Alternative  methods of payment. There is a growing demand to move away from cash transactions to a contactless payment system.  If you haven’t already done so, you should research alternate payment options using popular online payment platforms, create an app or use a  mobile wallet.  Bottom line, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customer to pay.

How is your USP?

In today’s dynamic economic landscape, the success of a business hinges on its ability to continuously innovate and adapt your Unique Selling Proposition.  Constant revisions of your USP to stay in line with economic conditions and customer demands can put your business strides ahead of the competition. Updating the USP can help you to stay relevant and attuned to consumers’ evolving priorities.

 

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