As we enter 2024, the spotlight is on key predictions shaping the landscape for SMEs and global growth. With economic instability rife and technology evolving swiftly, SMEs must take proactive steps to manage resources and stay updated on market trends.
According to recent research from Three Business, UK SMEs are anticipating an average of 15% year-on-year revenue growth in 2024, with plans to invest £252bn during the year. Optimism prevails, with 73% feeling more confident in their businesses and 68% feeling better equipped to withstand shocks.
Several notable predictions driving growth include:
Gen AI and technology advancements
In the new report Future of Professionals: C-Suite Survey, C-Suite executives reveal their perspectives on Gen AI, the game-changing innovation impacting companies today.
Laura Clayton McDonnell, president of corporates at Thomson Reuters says, “C-Suite leaders are clearly recognising the potential value of integrating AI into their businesses, seeing that it can play a critical role in driving growth, innovation, and efficiency.”
This sentiment is echoed in Deltek’s Digital Trends Unwrapped: Tech Powering Architecture and Engineering (A&E) Project Success in 2024 report, revealing that 40% of A&E firms believe that investing in new technologies is key to profitability in 2024.
A value-based selling strategy differentiates offerings and drives revenue growth, rather than engaging in price wars.
Showpad’s CEO Hendrik Isebaert says that by demonstrating how a product can solve specific problems or improve efficiency, sales teams can justify a higher price point, reflecting the value it delivers.
“Value-based selling differentiates an organisation’s offerings from competitors,” he says, “focusing on unique benefits rather than engaging in price wars. This strategic focus on value rather than cost will help cultivate a brand image of quality and reliability, further driving revenue growth opportunities in 2024.”
In response to the cost-of-living crisis, companies must focus on supporting employees with increased emphasis on communicating benefit packages to employees.
“The needs of the workforce are constantly shifting, and 2023 has only thrown this reality further into the light,” comments Bar Huberman, head of HR strategy and practice at XpertHR. “The ongoing cost-of-living crisis, changing employee expectations following the pandemic, and social shifts are forcing organisations to reconceptualise how best to remain competitive when it comes to attracting and retaining employees.”
According to the Benefits and Allowances Survey, 39% of companies currently use some flexible benefits. These are likely to become more relevant in 2024.
Embracing bold decisions
Ed Reid, managing director at business advisory The Alternative Board, encourages SMEs to leverage their entrepreneurial acumen to make bold decisions in 2024.
“My message to them is simple, remember that early drive and use it to make bold decisions in 2024. Keep an eye on external forces but don’t slow down or delay decisions.”
Going for green
ESG metrics are no longer exclusive to big corporations. To encourage growth, SMEs must also strategise for ESG success. In 2024, ESG success is crucial for attracting conscious consumers, recruiting top talent, and increasing revenue.
These actions underscore the multifaceted strategies SMEs can employ to navigate and capitalise on the opportunities and challenges anticipated in the year ahead.