Top 5 Small Business Trends

Top 5 Small Business Trends

Top 5 Small Business Trends

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you may not have time to stay on top of business trends. So we’re bringing them to you. Your business should evolve with changes in the world around you, both to make your strategy more effective and to make your life easier. Learn five of the top business trends in 2024 — and which your business might want to join in on — in this article from Nav’s experts.

What Should Companies Focus on in 2024?

There are several trending business ideas that are worth paying attention to for small business owners. Small businesses should make sure to pay close attention to their finances and budgets. New technologies, like voice-assisted technology, will also come into play. Keep an eye out for ways to make your customers’ experience more streamlined. 

Additionally, sustainability is a big factor in decision making for businesses big and small. Customers want the places they shop to pay attention to sustainability and their impact on environmental and human health. Consider how resilient your business is in regards to the future to make changes.

Another consideration comes from a recent Forbes Advisor survey that shows only 9% of Americans use cash more than any other payment method. If you’re still relying on cash for all your transactions, it might be time to consider adding digital or contactless payment options. 

Finally, continuing to focus on human resources and remaining compliant is one of the most important steps a company can take in 2024. There are more employment laws and requirements to track than ever, so make sure your business is compliant. 

Here are the top five business trends worth watching this year.

1. Big Data-Driven Decisions

Business leaders are using data more than ever to make decisions about their customer base, marketing, financing solutions, and more. This is called data-driven decision making and helps to improve results and focus adjustments you need to make. Small businesses can use business intelligence tools, like Google Analytics and Microsoft’s Power BI, to analyze data for them. 

There will also be a big focus in terms of data on the financial health of companies. Businesses need to understand exactly where they stand so they know what to do next, and data can help.

That’s where Nav comes in. Rather than tracking all your data yourself, Nav offers small businesses a real-time look into which financing options are right for them based on where they are today. Nav’s Cash Flow Health tool also helps you track your business’s cash flow to make your success easier.

2. Sustainable and Accessible Financing Online

Access to financing is one of the biggest factors affecting the success of small businesses. Many small businesses are turning to alternative financing for small business loans since traditional lending seems to be tightening.

Online financing providers often have less strict requirements and sometimes don’t require a credit check. Their application process is usually more streamlined, as well, since it’s often a fully digital application. And the time to get funding in your bank account can be much quicker than a bank loan. 

3. Remote Workforce

Following what’s known as the Great Resignation, when many people were “quiet quitting” after the pandemic, remote work has come to the forefront. Being able to hire from all over the country can help draw in great talent and give small businesses access to a pool of applicants they couldn’t find locally. Many potential employees expect to be able to work remotely today, so it might be an option you could consider offering, if possible.

But remote work has its hurdles, including lack of connection and digital burnout. Keeping high levels of connectivity with remote employees requires focused team-building initiatives. 

4. AI and Chatbots for Customer Experience

The digital transformation is only going to speed up when compared to last year. This transformation to digital includes technologies like the metaverse, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, blockchain, and more. These technologies can increase efficiency for businesses that understand how to utilize them for automation. 

You can use AI automation to improve sales with email campaigns or demand forecasting, to complete market research, or to support your customer service. AI can also make your client lead process easier and smoother. 

Using chatbots to answer basic customer questions can decrease your business’s dependence on hiring customer service representatives. As long as the chatbot functions well, customers may not know the difference — and you can always allow them to transfer to a live person when needed. 

5. Mobile Payments

Customers expect more and more to be able to pay in multiple ways, and the payment processing industry is expected to expand to $160 billion by 2028. Today, more and more customers want to be able to use their phone as their wallet. Working with a payment gateway is important, but you may want to consider adding mobile payment options like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Stripe to your offerings. Square Payments, Stripe Payments, and Shopify are three popular options that accept mobile payments.

There are several emerging business trends that will probably gain steam this year. Business models that will most likely be trending in 2024 are those focusing on:

  • Sustainability
  • Healthcare
  • E-commerce and online shopping
  • Data integration
  • Remote or hybrid work
  • Emerging technologies

Also, the focus on social media and partnerships with influencers may seem like it’s decreasing, but the industry is expected to experience an over $21 billion increase before next year. Although there are signs that celebrity influencers don’t have the same impact that they have in the past, businesses continue to rely heavily on social media for their marketing strategies. 

What Are the Key Challenges for Business in 2024?

The pandemic brought about unprecedented challenges for businesses, and although the global supply chain shortages appear to be stabilizing, many issues like high inflation remain. The war in Ukraine and other political factors 

Consumer prices have been dropping since the start of 2023, which started with the largest price increase since the early 1980s. That means business owners should have an easier time with supply for the products and supplies they need for business operations. But overall operating and startup costs will remain high for businesses in the post-pandemic era.

Hiring staff members continues to be an issue. There have been more job openings than people looking for work since mid-2021. These numbers create a challenge for small businesses who may not have the resources to provide perks that larger companies can offer to draw potential employees.

How Nav Can Help You Stay Ahead

Nav is here to use your business’s data to find the right solutions to make running your business smoother and easier. The more information you include in your profile, the better your recommendations will be. Nav Prime gives you up to two actively reporting tradelines reported to all major business credit bureaus to build business credit history this coming year.

This article was originally written on August 11, 2023 and updated on January 17, 2024.

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