Small Business Growth Strategies

8 Essential Growth Strategies for Small Business Owners in 2024

The beginning of the year is an excellent time for small business owners to set New Year’s resolutions that lay a strong foundation for the year ahead. However, it’s just as important for small business owners to reassess and reevaluate goals throughout the year for maximum impact.

Continue reading for a dose of inspiration and discover Woligo’s eight essential tips to bolster small business owners and help propel their growth throughout the year.

  1. Update your business plan
  2. Re-evaluate business insurance needs
  3. Test a new marketing strategy
  4. Improve your customer experience
  5. Enhance employee incentives
  6. Embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  7. Invest in skill development
  8. Give back to the community

Update your business plan

Has your business plan been working? Have you been meeting your goals? Are there areas where you can improve? If you don’t know the answers or don’t even have a business plan, now is a great time to change that.

A well-crafted business plan is a comprehensive document that can help keep your business on track by setting goals, strategies, and milestones that you can measure and adjust as needed. From marketing strategies to financial projections, your business plan should be regularly evaluated and updated.

There’s no right or wrong way to write a business plan. What’s important is that your plan meets your needs. Small business owners should set specific, measurable, and achievable goals aligned with the business’s vision. Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and a clear roadmap with actionable steps will make it easier to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments throughout the year.

As a career coach and solopreneur, I’ve realized that the true essence of growth lies in the clarity of our vision and the agility of our actions. For small business owners, the process of reevaluating your goals is like charting a map for the journey ahead—ensuring that every decision, no matter how small, helps you to deepen our mission and navigate the waves of change with purpose.
– Kimiko Ebata, Career & Executive Coach, Ki Coaching

Re-evaluate business insurance needs

Small business owners should re-evaluate their business insurance needs at least once a year to ensure adequate coverage and protection. Growth, expansion into new markets, hiring new employees, or changes in operations might render existing insurance coverage inadequate.

Meeting with your insurance broker regularly is a great step to take if you aren’t doing so already. This proactive approach serves as an opportunity to evaluate if the existing insurance adequately protects against potential risks and aligns with the business’s growth trajectory. By discussing new goals, expansion plans, or modifications in operations, business owners can collaborate with their insurance broker to tailor coverage, potentially saving costs and mitigating gaps in protection.

Test a new marketing strategy

In today’s digital world, the marketing environment is constantly changing. We can look to TikTok as a prime example, a social media app that exploded in popularity around 2018 in the United States. Today, TikTok is the 4th largest social media platform in the world1, with estimates of 73.7 million monthly active users in the United States alone. This is forecasted to reach 88.7 million by 2024.2

Now, why should business owners care about TikTok? Business owners should care because TikTok’s influence on shopping habits is undeniable. Let’s take a look at some numbers:3

  • 58.2% of TikTok users said they used the platform for shopping inspiration
  • 39.1% Tiktok users actively look for products to shop
  • 48% use Tiktok for information gathering on product purchases
  • 45% of Tiktok users shop based on paid influencer recommendations
  • 55% of TikTok users made a purchase after seeing a brand or product on the platform

Now is the perfect time to test out that marketing strategy you’ve had rolling around in the back of your mind. Beyond digital platforms like TikTok, there may be traditional marketing methods you’ve considered trying, such as print ads, local sponsorships, or community events that can help reach audiences that might be less active online. No matter the marketing strategy– 2024 is a great time to try it out.

Improve your customer experience

Do you know why someone completes a purchase with your business, or perhaps more importantly, why they don’t? There’s always a way to improve a customer’s experience, and 2024 is your year to do just that.

Gathering customer feedback can provide valuable insights into business areas that need improvement. Whether through surveys, reviews, or direct interactions, understanding customer sentiments is critical to improving your customer journey.

Once patterns are identified, it’s essential to take actionable steps. Whether it’s refining products, streamlining processes, or enhancing service delivery, acting on feedback showcases a commitment to continuous improvement. Moreover, openly communicating these improvements to customers demonstrates that their feedback is valued, fostering a sense of loyalty and trust while solidifying the business’s commitment to an exceptional customer experience.

Enhance employee incentives

Companies of every size and industry face unprecedented staffing challenges, which are only expected to worsen. If you haven’t updated your employee offerings recently, 2024 is the year to enhance those incentives and make your business a more attractive destination for top talent.

Competitive incentives, such as referral perks, performance-based bonuses, comprehensive healthcare packages, or professional development opportunities, can help retain current employees and serve as a magnet for prospective candidates. But if you don’t have additional funds to spend on these incentives, non-monetary incentives can be equally impactful.

For example, opportunities for flexible work arrangements or access to voluntary benefits where employees can purchase insurance for their loved ones at a group rate can demonstrate a commitment to work-life balance needs. Additionally, team-building activities or employee appreciation events can foster a sense of camaraderie and satisfaction.

Investing in employee incentives not only helps attract and retain top talent but also cultivates a motivated and engaged workforce, ultimately driving the success and growth of a small business.

Embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI)

It’s easy to understand why folks have resisted artificial intelligence (AI), especially concerning job displacement, privacy, and ethical considerations. However, embracing AI is pivotal for small business owners to stay competitive and thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape.

Rather than being seen as a threat, AI should be viewed as a powerful tool that can augment human capabilities, streamline operations, and drive innovation. By integrating AI into business strategies, small business owners can automate repetitive tasks, gain deeper insights from data, and enhance customer experiences, ultimately optimizing their operations and fostering growth.

Embracing AI doesn’t mean replacing human input but rather leveraging technology to empower decision-making, boost productivity, and unlock new opportunities for success in an increasingly digital-driven economy. Even adopting simple AI applications like ChatGPT can yield substantial benefits for small businesses in the long run.

Invest in skill development

Small business owners who invest in their own skill development are simultaneously investing in their businesses. If you’re looking to be a better business owner in 2024, consider choosing a skill to develop, such as:

  • Leadership Skills: Being able to inspire, motivate, and lead a team is vital. This includes communication, decision-making, conflict resolution, and strategic thinking.
  • Financial Management: Understanding cash flow, budgeting, basic accounting, and financial planning is essential for the health and sustainability of the business.
  • Marketing and Sales: Acquiring customers and retaining them is pivotal. Skills in marketing strategy, digital marketing, sales techniques, and customer relationship management are indispensable.
  • Adaptability and Problem-Solving: The ability to pivot, adapt to changing market conditions, and solve problems creatively is vital for resilience.
  • Technology Proficiency: Staying updated with relevant software, tools, and technology to streamline processes and stay competitive is essential.
  • Learning and Continuous Improvement: Cultivating a mindset of continual learning and improvement in various aspects of business ensures staying ahead in a dynamic business environment.

From free online courses to workshops and industry conferences, small business owners have a plethora of learning opportunities to choose from. It’s important to remember that a well-rounded skill set that combines technical proficiency, leadership abilities, and strong interpersonal skills can help small business owners thrive in today’s competitive marketplace.

Give back to the community

Small business owners can reap numerous benefits by actively giving back to their communities. If you’ve thought about adding philanthropy or community involvement to your business plan, this is the year to get started!

Community involvement can foster a positive brand image and build trust among local consumers. Supporting local causes, volunteering, sponsoring community events, or initiating philanthropic endeavors not only demonstrates a commitment to social responsibility but also establishes a strong rapport with the community. Customers often appreciate businesses that are actively involved in giving back, leading to increased loyalty and a positive reputation that can differentiate a small business from competitors.

Moreover, community engagement can open doors to new opportunities and partnerships. By participating in local events or collaborating with community organizations, small business owners can expand their network and forge connections with other businesses, potential customers, and influential figures within the community.

2024 small business growth strategies

The importance of reassessing growth strategies throughout the year cannot be overstated. It’s not just about setting resolutions at the beginning of the year but actively adapting and refining them to meet changing business needs and challenges!