5 big things that will affect SMEs and the self-employed in 2024

January 25th 2024 – Written By Stephanie Sheargold

small business owner , personal assistant virtual uk

You’ve packed away the tinsel, finally taken down the Christmas cards and eaten the last of the Christmas chocolates (even the Orange Creams). Which means it’s back to business as usual. Or is it?

2024 is shaping up to be a busy year with lots of change and – to an extent – more of the same. And of course, this hits small businesses hard. Yet, forewarned is forearmed. Consider these things to ensure 2024 doesn’t take you by surprise.

A new government means more disruption

Rishi Sunak has hinted at a general election in the ‘second half’ of 2024. Whatever your political views, one thing is for sure – disruption. From legislative changes to currency fluctuations, operating during an election year is a rollercoaster ride for business owners. Even if the Conservatives remain in government, we’re going to see plenty of changes and lots of ‘wait and see’ as a result of the new cabinet and their actions.

The cost of doing business will remain high for SMEs

Without wanting to sound pessimistic, we’re probably looking at another year of supply issues and high costs. The Ukraine / Russia conflict and increasing tensions in the Middle East will continue to affect supply chains – bad news if you or your suppliers rely on imports. The cost of energy is likely to stay high – continuing to affect costs. Luckily, the UK energy marketplace has become more competitive and it’s possible to switch suppliers for a better deal. Your VA can handle this for you when your contract is up for renewal.

Private health care will become even more important

If you haven’t already got private health coverage for yourself or your team, 2024 might be the year to invest. Further strikes are adding to NHS waiting lists and workplace productivity is increasingly linked to long waiting lists. If you or your employees can fast-track a GP or specialist appointment, you’ll see fewer sick days and improve output. Private medical cover is also an appealing employee benefit that will attract high-quality applicants.

Cyber security is as important as ever

Cybercrime is more common than ever and small businesses are in the firing line. Government figures found that an incredible 53% of SMEs were the target of cybercrime in 2023. Arming yourself and your business is less daunting than it might sound. In addition to investing in appropriate protection software, it’s crucial to ensure your processes and systems are watertight with regular training for your team.

If you’re not sure about the strength of your cybercrime insurance, get your VA on the case. They can research and recommend the insurance with the best level of cover for your business’s situation.

Use the magic of AI to help you grow your business

Onto some good news. AI (Artificial intelligence) is becoming increasingly advanced and gives small businesses access to some amazing tools at minimal (or zero) cost. Rather than taking jobs, AI can help drive productivity and increase creativity making it a tool every small business owner can use. Not sure where to begin? Subscribe to Heather Murray’s weekly email ‘AI for non-techies’ – you won’t regret it. You can sign up here.

Whatever 2024 holds for you and your business, know that Timpi and our team of professional, dedicated VA are here for you. Want to get the most from your VA? Read this blog, ‘How to build a good working relationship with your Virtual Assistant’, for practical advice you can start using today.