09.01.2024 | Nairobi
Given the low likelihood of economic recovery within the next 12 months, resources, including money, will likely remain constrained, and competition will continue to intensify. As a small business owner, here are some insights on trends and growth opportunities to consider for 2024.
1. The customer will remain the king – Offer Value
Creating value will help you as a small business build strong relationships with customers and stand out in a crowded marketplace. Here are three key strategies:
- Offer Quality Products or Services: Provide high-quality products or services that meet or exceed your customer expectations to differentiate your business from the competitors and build strong relationships with your customers.
- Embrace Technology: Introducing innovative products, services, or business practices such as offering online customer support, personalized communication, convenient payment options among others, will lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Communicate your product value: Market and showcase your product offering in various forums both online and offline. Talk about what you are offering customers and how you are doing it.
2. Small Business selling is shifting to social commerce (also called social media selling)
Many small businesses, like yours, are leveraging Social Commerce (selling through social media) to connect and interact with customers through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, TikTok, Google, and others.
Social commerce offers social proof – when customers see their friends and family members interacting with a business or product on social media, they are more likely to trust and make a purchase from that business. This word-of-mouth marketing can be incredibly powerful for small businesses looking to grow their customer base.
Complimenting Social Commerce with product listings on major marketplaces allows small businesses to reach a wider audience and compete with larger companies with a Zero or Small Marketing Budget.
3. Collaboration among Small Businesses will drive Growth
In 2024, the significance of collaboration among small businesses is expected to grow as a key driver of success. In a competitive environment with constrained resources, small businesses are recognizing the value of partnering with complementary businesses, such as a clothing business collaborating with a shoes or handbag business, to increase their customers and sales/ revenue.
One of the key benefits of collaboration among small businesses is the ability to pool resources. By working together, small businesses can share costs, offer a wider product offering, access new markets, and leverage each other’s expertise. This will help your business expand your reach and grow your customer base, ultimately leading to increased sales and revenue.
4. Every shilling will count – managing your business costs will be necessary in 2024
As a small business owner, keeping your business expenses in check will help you stay profitable, weather economic downturns, and invest in the growth of your business. Here are some tips for effectively managing your costs as a small business.
- Create a budget: The first step in managing costs is to create a budget. This will help you understand your income and expenses, and identify areas where you can cut costs or reallocate resources.
- Keep your personal and business expenses separate by opening a business account – consider opening a business account. You can visit a nearby Equity branch to set up a Lipa na Equity account or head to a Safaricom shop to get a Paybill or Till number.
- Track your revenue and expenses: Keeping a close eye on your expenses is essential for managing costs. Visit our Small Business Money Toolkit website to view some free bookkeeping tools – https://biashara.africa/money
- Negotiate with vendors: Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your vendors to get the best possible prices for the products and services you need. You may be able to secure discounts, bulk pricing, or better paying terms by simply asking.
5. Financing will mainly be through LOANS for many small businesses in 2024
Small business financing is essential for the growth and success of your business. Whether it’s to start a new business, expand an existing one, or simply keep operations running smoothly, financing is often necessary. While there are various ways to finance a small business, financing will mainly be loans for many small businesses in 2024.
Loans offer a flexible and cost-effective way to access the capital needed for growth and can be tailored to fit the specific needs of the business. However, it’s important for you to carefully consider various options and have a solid plan in place on how you will use the funds and repay the loan.
6. Small Businesses, Big Impact: Sustainability and Social Responsibility will be key in 2024
Small businesses have the potential to create a positive impact by adopting sustainable and socially responsible practices, benefiting the environment, society, and their brand reputation. To achieve this, businesses can reduce waste, use sustainable materials, and implement energy-efficient practices.
Supporting local suppliers, giving back to the community, and ensuring ethical sourcing and employee well-being are also crucial for sustainability. Transparency in business practices and customer engagement, as well as continuous improvement and goal-setting, are essential for building trust and making a lasting impact.