The adjustments small UK businesses need to make this year

2023 was a tough year for small business owners, with the cost of living crisis and the rate of inflation still standing at over three times the Bank of England’s ideal of 2% – everyone has been feeling the pinch. As a result, people have naturally been tightening their purse strings, which has made scaling small businesses all the more challenging.

However, with 2024 in full swing, there are some changes and movements at play in legislation and consumer trends that the savvy small-business owner can leverage. Here, we take a look at three adjustments small UK businesses need to make this year.

Tax changes

There are some important changes to small business taxes that you need to consider this year. Firstly, Class 2 National Insurance contributions are going to be abolished from April 2024, meaning you will only pay Class 4 contributions from then onwards. The rate for Class 4 National Insurance contributions is also being reduced, from nine to eight percent for the 24/25 tax year, but you’ll only need to pay these on profits over £12,570.

Secondly, platforms such as Etsy, Airbnb, Deliveroo and others that many small businesses use to offer their products or services will now be compelled to report any earnings directly to HMRC on your behalf from January 2024 if you’re earning over £1000 in a given tax year. It’s essential that you’re thorough with your accounts and are completely honest on your self-assessment tax return to avoid any discrepancies here.

New technology

There seems to be a never-ending stream of new technology, apps, software and programs lately, and the recent surge in AI capabilities has only supercharged these developments. No matter what industry or niche your business is in, staying up-to-date with the emerging trends in AI will help set you apart from those who choose to ignore it.

Data-driven, decision-making AI can give your organisation a real edge when it comes to pushing forward in 2024, so be sure to consider how and where you can make use of this innovative technology. From cloud-based AI solutions that take the guesswork out of managing your AI to complex data analysis done in the time it takes a human to make a cup of tea – the potential benefits of getting on board with new technologies are huge.

Authentic marketing

Social media has become an important part of modern marketing, allowing consumers to connect with brands on a personal level. This builds loyalty and has helped many small businesses grow in leaps and bounds over recent years. However, as wonderful as most of the developments in AI are, the surge of inauthentic content being churned out by bots has caused distrust in the consumer market.

As a result, algorithms across search engines and social media platforms are updating to prioritise authentic, human-created content that offers quality over sales-focused spam. To avoid losing out to these changes, be sure to focus your marketing efforts on creating high-value content that offers a personal story or authentic message to your customers.

Stay consistent

As always, staying consistent is a crucial part of the success of a small business. But it’s important to also keep an open mind and remain flexible and adaptable so that you can welcome new trends and technologies with ease. With these tips in mind, you can start 2024 on the right track and tweak your strategies to stay ahead of the curve.

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