Why 2024 is the year to start your own business - X-Forces Enterprise
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Why 2024 is the year to start your own business

Although rising costs and economic uncertainty might make budding business owners hesitant to take the next step, there is evidence to suggest that now could be the perfect time to get started, as our partner British Business Bank explains… 

 

The Centre for Economics Business Research forecasts that the number of new businesses in the UK will increase by 342,000 in the next two years.

With falling inflation rates and emerging technologies, 2024 could be the year to start your own business.

However, each start-up business owner is different – and you’ll need to invest time in developing a sound business plan to help give your new venture the best start.

Thanks to emerging trends that new business owners could capitalise on – as well as universal reasons for striking out on your own – 2024 could be the year your start-up dream comes to life.

 

2024 business trends

Here are five trends for 2024 that could help your start-up succeed or open up commercial opportunities through new ways of working in the year ahead.

 

1. Artificial intelligence

According to a UK government study, one in six UK businesses use artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as chatbots and generative text platforms to support various activities, such as writing, coding, and producing images.

AI and automation tools such as ChatGPTGoogle Bard, and Zapier can be invaluable to new business owners because they give access to expertise you might not have and can produce content and information quickly.

Some tools can also automate tasks, speeding up the process and helping you focus on the things you do best.

However, results produced by AI tools can be incorrect, and there are other commercial considerations, such as ownership and privacy issues, that you may want to investigate.

 

2. Sustainability

More than half of UK consumers say that sustainability is important to society, and 18% said that they make it a priority in their daily lives.

According to Deloitte, 40% of consumers shop specifically from brands with environmentally sustainable practices and values.

Small businesses can use this drive for sustainability as a selling point to attract new customers.

This could turn into increased sales, lead generation, and brand trust.

While the economy hasn’t been growing rapidly, interest in green products, sustainability, and reducing energy usage is still important as consumers and businesses look to reduce costs and lower their environmental impact.

This has led to trends in upcycling, repairs, restoration, and recycling services – from furniture restoration to collecting commercial waste – and opened up a new avenue for new business ventures.

 

3. Soft skills upskilling

Recent evidence suggests that soft skills such as communication, customer service, and management are in short supply.

You can improve your start-up by investing in training courses or guides to improve these soft skills, which might help give your business an edge.

Improving your people skills can make it easier to understand customer needs and provide a positive consumer experience.

Alternatively, you could consider how to deliver soft skills training and support to other businesses, such as via coaching and training.

 

4. Alternative financing

New businesses often need extra financing to purchase equipment and inventory, pay suppliers, or expand their operations.

Many start-ups think their only choice for funding is to receive a business loan from a high street bank or credit lender, but there are plenty of other options – and many more alternative routes to raising money for your new business than in previous decades.

You might secure a loan from an online lender, a crowdfunding site, or a specialist lending platform such as Start Up Loans.

 

5. Prioritising customer experience

To turn one-time shoppers into repeat business, you could prioritise the customer experience – with customer service continuing to be a key part of business operations.

One way to do this is by gathering feedback throughout the purchasing process and identifying opportunities for improvement.

You might also provide incentives for customer input, with rewards programmes and prizes.

These actions might make your customers feel listened to and valued, making them more likely to return.

The good news is there are lots of free or cheap tools that help you get valuable feedback – from customer review sites to online surveys – that can help you get useful insights over the year ahead.

 

When is the right time to start my business?

While annual trends may open the door to new business opportunities, starting a business can happen at any time – though it pays to ensure you have the relevant skills, support, and plans in place.

But how do you know when everything is in place and whether 2024 could be the year you get your business off the ground?

Here are some signs that 2024 is the right time to get started.

 

> You know how to be your own boss

Starting your own business means managing yourself and staying on top of a range of tasks.

Before beginning your start-up journey, you need to be sure you have the determination and organisational skills to lead your project.

A strong support network, such as family or a mentor, can also help you manage your business.

You may have also developed self-motivation and organisational skills thanks to increased working from home where, as an employee, you have to operate your own virtual office.

You may be able to capitalise on that trend in 2024 and move from employee to business owner, operating initially from home.

 

> You have a strong business idea

Every successful start-up begins with a business idea.

This should be something you know a lot about and are passionate about, but it also needs to be profitable.

Customer demand and costs are the two biggest factors determining whether your start-up could make money.

To better understand if you have a strong business idea, you could look at existing businesses and estimate your start-up costs.

You can also use tools such as AI platforms to generate ideas to consider, using trending technology to launch an AI-generated business idea in 2024.

 

You’ve conducted market research

Market research can tell you if there is a demand for your product or services, which could help you refine your business so that it fills customers’ needs.

You can look up information about potential customers and your competitors to discover where your business can fit in.

Access to information – from official filings with Companies House to checking out the social media profiles of your competitors – makes this research easier to reach than previously.

 

> You have a realistic business plan

A business plan explains your objectives and how you might achieve them.

It might highlight potential problems, identify gaps in the market, and provide information on securing a loan or investment.

 

> You have adequate funding

The most common reason start-ups fail is because they run out of cash or fail to raise new capital.

This often happens because they underestimate expenses or don’t take advantage of funding opportunities.

It can be a good idea to consider a business loan to help launch your business idea.

Start Up Loans is a government-backed programme that can provide business loans up to £25,000 to help you kickstart your small business.

 

> You know how to promote your business

It can be difficult for your start-up to succeed if no one knows about it.

Luckily, there are more ways to market and promote your business in 2024 than ever before.

You can use social media, influencers, online networking resources, and traditional advertising campaigns, such as flyers, billboards, and signs.

Look at emerging trends such as the rise of the metaverse and virtual reality to offer new, innovative promotional opportunities that capture customer imagination.

Some marketing methods will be more effective than others, so you need to know how to make the most of your time and resources.

 

Next Steps

If 2024 is the year you’ll consider starting your own business – and you’re connected to the Armed Forces – a wealth of support is available from X-Forces Enterprise, including business finance, free training workshops and events and peer-to-peer networking and knowledge exchange. Get started on your journey today.

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Thank you to British Business Bank for this article.

 

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