3 tips for small business success in 2024

Author: Nick Reese

While small businesses are used to navigating an uncertain world, 2024 is the year when they could be truly put to the test. There is uncertainty about the direction of inflation, interest rates, the stock market and economic growth. On top of this, many are grappling with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the future of remote work, meaning that small businesses can only expect the unexpected.

Don't get caught off guard. Based on the recent Verizon Business Fourth Annual State of Small Business Survey, here's what small business owners and decision-makers are focusing on in 2024.

1. Reducing financial stress

If you're worried about the state of the economy, you're not alone—90% of small to midsize business owners share similar concerns. But there is good news: a majority (54%) also predict that their business will be doing much or somewhat better in 2024.1

So what's behind this optimism? Small businesses are taking steps to mitigate the impact of inflation and reduce their financial stress. Here are the top ways other small business owners are preparing for rising inflation in 2024:2

  • 59%: Raising prices on goods and services
  • 57%: Reducing spending on non-essential items
  • 39%: Taking advantage of free resources to manage daily operations
  • 37%: Stocking additional products now while prices are potentially lower than in the future
  • 35%: Investing in employee retention to avoid the extra expense of hiring

This shows that your colleagues will be keeping their finger on the pulse in 2024. Maintaining a close eye on business financials, not to mention economic indicators like the inflation rate, can help with anticipating potential issues with rising costs, customer demand, or employee expectations that might impact operations.

An example of a free resource for small business owners is Verizon Small Business Digital Ready. This program is designed to grow your confidence and your business by offering personalized online courses, tools, coaching, networking opportunities and grants. This can help you feel more empowered and provide more resilience while building your confidence if times get tough.

We've previously discussed how technology can help small businesses combat inflation. Some key points include:

  • Digitize and automate manual, repetitive tasks
  • Enhance operations and customer experiences with analytics and AI
  • Incentivize your workforce, wherever they are
  • Optimize your spending to maximize return on investment

2. Keeping pace with AI

Small businesses depend on the latest technology to power their business, empower employees and meet customer expectations. In 2024, the technology to watch is artificial intelligence.

However, how small businesses integrate AI remains to be seen. Just over 1 in 10 (14%) say they currently use AI,3 while almost half (45%) say they're concerned about integrating AI solutions.4 In 2024, here are the business functions where small businesses already or would consider using AI most:5

  • 50%: Social media/marketing
  • 46%: Order processing
  • 46%: Data analysis
  • 46%: Inventory management and supply chain operations
  • 44%: Customer service/digital personal assistant

Given that AI is so new and untested for most small businesses, why are so many planning to integrate it in 2024? Follow the money: 43% say that AI can help generate new revenue streams, while 35% think it will help them operate regardless of headcount issues due to a hot hiring market or hiring freezes. Nearly half (45%) say it will help them save time so they can focus on their core business instead of manual busy work.6

To take advantage of this 2024 trend, small businesses can look for use cases where AI can be easily integrated into operations. Social media is a great place to start. With more than 3 out of 4 (77%) saying they already or are planning to use social media marketing to increase customer engagement and online traffic,7 an AI-powered social media solution can help businesses create content and connect with customers more effectively so they can drive their business goals faster.

3. Embracing the future of work

Remote and hybrid work is here to stay, and will only continue to increase as employees choose employers that accommodate work from home.

If you want to compete for and retain employees in 2024, you'll need to have a plan in place, along with the technology to accommodate it. Nearly half (49%) of small businesses say they already have challenges hiring new employees to fill open positions, while 45% have challenges retaining top talent. With only 27% saying they've implemented new systems or technologies to allow for remote collaboration in the past year, 2024 will likely be the year where businesses go all-in supporting remote and hybrid work to overcome their headcount issues.8

Start 2024 off on the right foot by exploring how your business can leverage communications tools to connect employees no matter where they work. Along with leveraging cloud-based storage and applications, this creates the foundation required to enable collaboration no matter where employees work. Remote work solutions can help ensure your network delivers the connectivity and security required to make the future of work as seamless as possible.

To learn more about the dynamics that will shape the 2024 small business landscape, check out the full Verizon Business Fourth Annual State of Small Business Survey findings.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.

Verizon & Morning Consult, Verizon Business' 4th Annual State of Small Business Survey, August 2023, page 8.

Ibid., page 12.

Ibid., page 33.

Ibid., page 35.

Ibid., page 34.

Ibid., page 35.

Ibid., page 20.

Ibid., page 9.

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