Are you planning a reset for your SME in 2024?
With economic instability and social change continuing next year, UK SMEs should be prioritising right now how they are going to navigate through an uncertain landscape. All our operations need to be more tightly aligned to sharpened customer expectations whilst shielding against external issues, and that puts more pressure on all of us, as business leaders, to properly consider what might need resetting.
I wondered how best to aid that discussion so I thought of 6 key questions that might help with your planning…
1. How can I improve brand purpose and relevance in line with current trends to improve customer relationships?
Customers and consumers increasingly demand business accountability, so purpose should anchor brand messaging. Our clients are looking for more than just services or products. They seek alignment with brands that share their values, particularly regarding social and environmental issues. This is a call for authenticity. And for actions that speak louder than words.
Our commitment to these causes must be woven into the very fabric of our business strategies, reflecting a shared ethos with our clients.
Sharing the human stories inside your SME also builds authentic connections during tricky times. Ultimately, conveying active care for customer lives beyond purely the transactional will underpin your purpose and earn loyalty.
2. How can I support thriving talent development given the current economic, social, political, and work practice uncertainty?
Remote and hybrid working preferences will persist through 2024, therefore talent will expect greater location flexibility alongside skill development. How does your SME facilitate autonomy, purpose, confidence, and growth for talent who are feeling personal and professional uncertainty?
Supportive leadership with all of the above, and compassion around current financial stress retains loyalty.
3. How can I embrace ethical AI implementation and automation?
Carefully assess where technologies like predictive analytics, chatbots, machine learning and automation can drive efficiency, forecasting, and personalisation without compromising humanity in your business. Set clear policies on the use of customer data and algorithms.
Transparent AI communication, ethical audits, data dashboards and hybrid bot-human workstreams assure customers while sustaining employment. The key is enhancing human values alongside technology.
4. How can I boost customer experience (CX) through innovation?
Have you plotted your customers’ journey with what you offer as a product or service? How do you know it’s efficient and if there are pain points for your customer? Using emotional and value analysis and journey mapping reveals innovation gaps before customers call them out.
The future of customer experience is frictionless, flexible and feelings driven. Current trends like predictive analysis, hyper-personalisation, AI integration, virtual and augmented reality enhancements and real-time feedback might be pertinent to your business.
5. Should I prepare for the next General Election?
UK elections breed uncertainty on economic impacts and policy shifts around issues from taxation to net zero regulation. It’s probably wise to insulate against downsides rather than rely on upside promises. Customer sentiment analysis and micro-targeting via data partners keep messaging relevant amid electoral volatility. Having cash reserves will help too.
6. How can I continually scan the horizon for what’s next?
Create an internal/external team to focus on foresight on all trends affecting your sector and business. Tap think tanks, academic insight, and tools aggregating signals from as wide a range of relevant sources as possible. You could first use AI to examine datasets to spot emerging threats and opportunities. Then your team could translate findings into agile ideas, pilots, and prototypes for future-proof operations.
As B2B brands in the UK move into the new year, it’s not just about adapting to change; it’s about being the change. It’s about deep empathy, connecting heart-to-heart with our clients, understanding their challenges, aspirations, and values. Our journey through this changing landscape is one of partnership, innovation, and shared commitment to a brighter, more connected future.
Asking the right questions is just the first step.
Here’s to a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year – and wishing you every success in your business.
For further insights, to join the conversation, or to find out more about how we work with businesses to help them flourish, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01908 980 400 or leave a message here.
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