From technological advancements to changing consumer and employee demands, small businesses must continually adapt to market changes. As 2023 draws to a close, many entrepreneurs are looking ahead to 2024 and adjusting their strategies to meet the needs of the business environment.
To help entrepreneurs position themselves for success next year, seven business leaders share their predictions for how small businesses will change in 2024.
[Read more: 9 Small Business Growth Strategies]
AI will continue to be introduced
With the release of ChatGPT in late 2022 and its subsequent mainstream infusion into 2023, adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) by small and medium-sized businesses will only increase, said Sam, co-founder and chief content officer of Ammo.com. Jacobs said.
“expect [AI use among small businesses] We will see rapid growth in 2024,” Jacobs said. “AI implementation (marketing, human resources, customer service, logistics, etc.) and marketing automation can help small and medium-sized businesses reduce manual errors, save time and resources, grow faster, and benefit from increased efficiency and productivity. It will help you get it.”
Small businesses leverage AR/VR for more immersive experiences
Another technology that has grown rapidly in recent years is the area of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Jon Morgan, CEO of Venture Smarter, says that by 2024, more companies, especially those in retail, real estate and hospitality, will be using AR and VR to create immersive customer experiences. I'm predicting.
“Imagine being able to virtually try on clothes before a customer buys or give them a 360-degree tour of a property from the comfort of their own home,” Morgan explained. “These immersive experiences will revolutionize the way customers and businesses interact, leading to increased engagement and customer satisfaction.”
As a best practice, invest in upskilling your team in digital marketing and analytics. Platforms like Google's Digital Garage offer useful free courses.
Sergei Solonenko, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Algocentric Digital Consultancy
Business teams need to build digital marketing and analytics skills
Sergey Solonenko, founder and chief marketing officer of Algocentric Digital Consultancy, predicts that digital transformation will impact the landscape of small and medium-sized businesses in 2024.
“As a best practice, invest in upskilling your team in digital marketing and analytics,” says Solonenko. “Platforms like his Digital Garage at Google offer useful free courses.”
He also recommended that small businesses build a strong online presence through optimized websites, active social media profiles, and even mobile apps.
“This digital shift is not just about technology,” Solonenko continued. “It’s about changing the way we connect with our customers.”
More small businesses will permanently adopt remote operations
The pandemic began a global shift to flexible working environments, with many companies still maintaining remote or hybrid working. Bassem Mostafa, owner of GlobeMonitor Market Research Agency, predicts that decentralized and remote operations will become the norm for many small and medium-sized businesses.
“This change includes not only where employees work, but also how companies interact with customers, manage supply chains, and deliver products and services,” Mostafa said. “Remote operations allow small and medium-sized businesses to tap into a worldwide talent pool, reduce overhead costs, and provide 24-hour service without geographic limitations.”
According to Mostafa, this change will encourage greater focus on digital tools and platforms to manage business activities, providing SMEs with the agility to quickly adapt to market changes.
[Read more: Future Work Trends Small Businesses Need to Know]
The most successful small businesses will be those that put values first and profits second.
Skincare Stacey founder Fawn Bow believes sustainability and ethics will be the focus of the small business landscape in 2024, as more customers prioritize purchasing products that have a positive impact on society. I think it will increase.
“Consumers are increasingly attracted to brands that demonstrate environmental responsibility, and small businesses can capitalize on this trend to differentiate themselves in the market,” Bowe said.
Increasing competition from local and global players
In a digital-first environment, business opportunities are no longer limited to a single geographic region. Instead, the door is figuratively opened to international markets.
“As digitalization opens the frontiers of business to international markets, more local and global players will compete for visibility and profits,” said Noserider Surf Club founder and designer. Emma Bukowski explained. “Companies must differentiate, find their own niches, provide top-notch customer service, and embrace personalization to stay relevant, profitable, and grow.”
Customers have more control over their journey
Pepper co-founder Erin Banta says today's customers are accustomed to taking the purchasing process into their own hands, and expects this trend to continue into 2024. To meet this demand, companies need to offer products that meet customer needs, she said. The customer takes the reins.
“[Employ] Customer education and other resources help shoppers better understand why and how they can benefit from your products and services. Or creating a more customized consumer experience, from the way you interact with your customers to the ability to fine-tune your products and services to your customers’ exact needs,” she elaborated. “Success in 2024 is about giving customers more control over your involvement in their buying habits.”
[Read more: Creating a Superior Post-Purchase Experience to Build Customer Loyalty]
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