In recent years, the ever-evolving landscape has compelled many small business owners to refine their adaptability skills, with a continuous stream of challenges expected to persist into 2024. According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), optimism among small business owners has shown a consistent decline.
However, amidst these challenges, there are opportunities for growth and expansion. For those seeking insights into what lies ahead in the coming months, we’ve identified five anticipated business trends to invigorate and guide you in the new year. Additionally, we’ve included recommendations for insurers who can help tailor your business coverage to align with these emerging trends.
Enhanced User Personalization through AI Personalization remains a crucial trend for businesses, whether it involves tailoring customer recommendations or fine-tuning email and paid ad segmentation. A report by Accenture highlighted that many small businesses are scaling back the necessary infrastructure for creating highly personalized experiences. This reduction hasn’t gone unnoticed by customers.
While managing short-term cash flow is important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of long-term customer retention. Embracing AI-powered services like chatbots, email segmentation, and product recommendations can significantly benefit your business’s long-term growth.
When integrating various AI services into your operations, approach experimentation with intentionality. Gartner, a technology research and consulting firm, suggests establishing performance metrics similar to any new venture. Tracking the return on investment (ROI) from AI services and employee time allocation helps strike a balance between customer experience and revenue generation.
Business Insurance Recommendation: Liberty Mutual stands out for its exceptional customer service. They offer personalized assistance when updating policies and handling claims. Moreover, their five-year collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) focusing on AI and other domains showcases their commitment to innovation.
Increased Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Efforts Inclusivity is poised to be a significant trend in 2024. A recent piece from Insurance Thought Leadership underscores the importance of businesses serving diverse populations and having teams that reflect this diversity. Moreover, efforts in diversity and inclusion are pivotal in attracting and retaining younger employees who often prioritize values in their decision-making.
Consider reviewing existing HR policies or creating new ones if they’re lacking. Solicit feedback from your staff to identify necessary training programs, suggested policy enhancements, and improvements to onboarding processes.
Concentrating on DEI initiatives not only safeguards your employees but also fortifies your company against potential risks.
Randy Storms, director of small business insurance solutions at Aon, emphasizes, “As discrimination and harassment claims surge among small business owners, there’s a growing need for employers to be more mindful of their internal policies to ensure a safe and inclusive workplace for their employees.”
Business Insurance Recommendation: State Farm boasts a commendable record in fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. Since 2020, the insurer has been lauded for its strides in diversity, including women, multicultural women, disabled workers, and members of the Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities.
Focus on data transparency
While business owners bear the responsibility for compliance, collaboration with expert vendors streamlines adherence to these areas. Additionally, vigilance regarding data privacy regulations across different jurisdictions is crucial. While the US lacks a comprehensive federal policy on handling customer data, individual states have enacted privacy laws. Complying with these regulations, especially concerning a nationwide mailing list, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, is imperative. This Act grants consumers rights to delete and opt out of personal information collection in most cases.
Implementing a clear “unsubscribe” button in your email template serves as a simple starting point for managing user data. Establishing a schedule to clear saved data from unsubscribed and inactive users limits vulnerability during data breaches and ensures engagement solely with actively interested users.
Business Insurance Recommendation: Among the insurance companies reviewed, Hartford stands out for its exceptional online tools. Their user-friendly interface enables easy access to information and management of data preferences through your online account. This allows for initiating policy changes, obtaining quotes, submitting claims, and obtaining certificates of insurance.
Continual Resilience Resilience, defined by Insurance Thought Leadership as the ability to shield your company from diverse threats, remains a critical aspect for small business preparedness. Small business owners face a myriad of risks, including a surge in theft, prompting a reconsideration of protective measures and insurance coverage strategies in the event of a potential operational shutdown due to burglary.
Moreover, inflation persists as a pressing concern, with nearly a quarter of small business owners citing it as their foremost challenge, according to the NFIB. Inflation not only impacts the cost of goods but also influences insurance coverage, as Storms notes: “Inflation has notably affected policy prices due to rising material costs, necessitating property coverage adjustments to align with actual cash values for replacement or repair.”
Business Insurance Recommendation: Amidst escalating policy prices and claims, an insurance company’s financial stability becomes paramount. Travelers hold top ratings from AM Best, securing an A++ (Superior) for financial strength and aa+ (Superior) for its long-term issuer credit rating.
Irrespective of your company’s industry, Wix underscores the significance of cultivating a community as an indispensable trend in 2024. Engaging in the creation of valuable content and fostering meaningful connections with leads and customers not only amplifies brand visibility but also demonstrates your company’s proficiency.
Wix advocates for various assets to entice and expand your online audience, such as:
- Online courses
- Live streams
- Blog posts