Small-Business Trends to Look for in 2024

Small-Business Trends to Look for in 2024

Another year has begun. For small-business owners, that means the time to get moving is now. While no one can predict exactly what the future will hold, there are plenty of trends entrepreneurs can monitor to stay prepared for challenges and opportunities in the days ahead. With potential impacts for both day-to-day operations and the long-term picture, the following trends should inform your small business strategy in the new year.

Artificial intelligence is here to stay. There’s no denying that AI is a hot button issue with implications that go well beyond the tech space. AI is at the forefront of many sectors, including business. In fact, according to Constant Contact’s Small Business Now Report, 91% of small businesses who are currently using AI say it has made their business more successful. With benefits for marketing, operations, and more, it may be worth looking into how AI can improve your business.

But don’t forget about the human touch. In a day and age that is becoming increasingly digital, soft skills are more valuable than ever before. Artificial intelligence may be the future, but emotional intelligence is still very much the now. A recent study by Redpoint Global found that more than three-fourths of consumers believe positive customer experience still requires human interaction — all the more reason to make sure you and your employees continue to hone your interpersonal skills.

Customer experience is everything. Price and product quality are important, but the concept of the “customer-experience economy” reigns supreme. What does that mean for your business? Creating a positive customer experience at every level, from research to point of sale. Meet the customer where they are, whether that’s online or in-person, and personalize their journey as much as possible.

Sustainability is important to customers. Few things are as critical to today’s customer as sustainability. According to a recent study by NielsenIQ, 78% of U.S. consumers say that a sustainable lifestyle is important to them, and they want to patronize businesses that share those values.

Cybersecurity is a must in a data-driven economy. As data collection and analysis become standard processes, consumers want to know that their information is secure and responsibly managed. Two-thirds of smartphone users are concerned about data security and privacy on their phones.

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration