There’s always a lot of talk at the start of each new year of business trends and predictions.
But in recent years, so many are focused only on technology and speed.
Yes, there’s no doubt that technology has imploded in recent years, especially with the advancement in AI, but it feels to me that we are unnecessarily speeding up an economy and the way that we live our lives that is already spinning too fast for most of us to handle.
I want to shine the light on the small business trends that will help us slow down; to go at a pace that helps build deeper relationships, stronger resilience and enhance our joy we get from our work.
Here’s are the five small business trends that I see ready to fly this year …
1. Simplifying how you do business
We have had an implosion of digital tools in recent years, all designed to increase our reach, speed up our marketing and make it possible to do almost anything online.
But this has meant we have lots of ‘should do’ and ‘must do’ stuff marketed at us, particularly with the surge of AI ‘productivity’ tools.
We don’t have to have funnels to have a successful business.
And yes, you can decide to only work face-to-face or have a local business serving local people if this is what makes you happy.
Over-complication is out … simplification is in.
2. Happiness goals will trump revenue goals
We operate in a push-drive economy where progress and achievement is measured by 5-figure months or 10X-ing your income.
And this is often pushed upon us by people who can work like this, all the time.
But most of us can’t sustain our energy or motivation to work like that, especially if you are in your 40’s, 50’s or beyond.
This is how I tried to operate in my 40’s. I worked with mentors who incredibly successful, but they were teaching me ways of doing business that weren’t suited to me; they just burnt me out.
Happiness goals may not be seen as sexy as achieving 7-figure success, but this is changing and we are going to see more people celebrating businesses that give them joy and sustainability over big money goals.
3. Health goals will be critical to your financial success
Taking a ‘Health First’ approach will be more important than ever as we enter 2024.
There are positive signs that our economy is going to improve, but probably not until 2025 … and there’s a good possibility of a change of government later this year which could spin things further.
Keeping your head down and taking a ‘just work harder’ approach is not going to work anymore, which is why we are going to see more business owners incorporating health goals into their business plans.
We’ve been doing this with our clients for the past four years and the difference to their results has been amazing.
4. Small will become more attractive
When you look at business growth strategies, they often come with words such as scale, double or bigger. Business growth doesn’t always have to be measured in financial terms.
Look for other ways to measure your growth if you are very happy to stay small.
And staying small doesn’t mean you have to play small, and if working less hours or working with less clients or finding work that less stressful is important to you, 2024 is a brilliant year to celebrate your smallness as more people will want the personal, human relationship that small can give them.
5. Experience over transaction
Our High Streets were beginning to die way before 2020; the lockdowns simply accelerated the process that was already happening because of the ease and increased trust of buying online. But as most of us move over to the likes of Amazon for our every-day transactional buys, the demand for experiencing products and services have been steadily rising since we started to value human exchange and relationships again, and some food stores are even beginning to bring back cashiers again and doing away with the self-service tills.
The same trends are happening in the world of small business.
Whilst there will always be need for transactional buying for commodity services such as accountancy, HR, legal, coaching, marketing support and the like, we are craving more human experiences and a deeper connection for longer term services and human-led programmes.
Finding ways for your clients to access more of you without burning you out, and thinking about how to wow your clients with onboarding and customer service support, will grow you from strength to strength as we move away from recession in 2025 and your clients have bigger budgets again.
Which ones resonate with you?
Have you experienced any of these already in your business?
If you want to discuss how you bring any of these (or all of these!) into your business this year, I invite you to schedule a free call to talk through your plans for the year ahead.