Planning ahead is critical to businesses so we asked our business staff and academics to identify the top 5 business trends in 2024.
Taking advantage of the AI revolution
Tom Mundy, new Marketing Manager at STEAMhouse
According to The 2023 State of Social Media Report, 97% of business leaders agree that AI could help companies significantly improve decision-making. While everyone is talking about AI as it fast affects even more aspects of our life, how it can benefit small and medium-sized businesses is less clear than for big businesses. We know from our STEAMhouse community that small businesses are so busy running their operation that when it comes to creating and managing marketing campaigns, they can easily feel overwhelmed just trying to get the job done.
That’s where AI and analytics come in, with AI analytics being able to extract meaningful insights from various data sources such as social media listening, review websites, customer forums and survey data.
These insights can help with marketing and sales, product research, human resources and PR allowing staff to perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently. So, expect in 2024 to see SMEs increasingly using AI analytics and more social media, content, and email marketing campaigns being driven by AI technologies, so that people in smaller businesses can get on with powering growth.
Increasing business value through short courses
Dr Ann Cameron, Lecturer, College of Business, Digital Transformation and Entrepreneurship, BCU
I deliver Value Propositions, a business-focussed short course, whose objective is to help SMEs and owner/operators uncover and deploy the distinct aspects of their business that distinguish it from competitors in its market. The point that keeps coming up in our group conversations is that Value Propositions and short courses more generally, create an opportunity to step back and work on improvement outside the day-to-day running of the business.
A short course enables an owner/manager to develop new ways of looking at what they do and how they do it, presenting opportunities to improve and therefore grow. Value Propositions is specifically helping the participants to better communicate the value they offer to their customers.
Making business truly sustainable
Sarah King, Sustainability Bootcamp Co-ordinator and Materials Researcher
Taking a proactive approach to Sustainability in your business today offers the best prospects for long-term growth and success in many increasingly challenging and overcrowded market sectors. All businesses have a role to play in the transition towards a just and more sustainable future.
Growing concern for the planet is being seen through increased consumer demand for sustainable alternatives and transparent reporting. This demand offers businesses the opportunity to look at their long-term strategies and develop innovative approaches to sustainability. Innovation in this area offers the prospect of better solutions for the planet, stabilised supply chains, stronger brand identity, and improved customer relations. Acting now puts businesses ahead of the curve and in a strong position to lead in this growing area.
Diversity driving business success
Diane Kemp, Director, Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity
At BCU we believe in the importance of diversity in every aspect of society. In business there’s evidence that diversity unlocks innovation and drives market growth. A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies;
‘In the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 36% more likely to have above-average financial returns than companies in the bottom quartile. Similarly, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 25% more likely to have above-average financial returns than companies in the bottom quartile.’
These are yet more compelling reasons why any business should intensify their efforts to ensure that their staff embody and embrace the power of diversity.
Remote working is here to stay
Steven Mccabe Associate Professor in Strategy, Management and Marketing
Though working from home on a full or part-time basis has, because of the development of broadband, been occurring for many years, the pandemic vastly accelerated its use – in this country workers spend an average of 1.5 days a week now working from home. For employees the main advantage is avoiding the daily commute, for employers there are potentially huge savings on expensive office space. We hear regular stories of firms demanding their staff spend more time in the office but remote or hybrid working is here to stay. This is reflected in the fact that approximately 90% of firms offer this choice.
However, there is a downside associated with working from home as not being seen in the workplace can detrimentally impact on your career. What we’re likely to see in 2024 is a plateau in the number of employees taking advantage of this facility. We will see an increasing trend of younger workers who, as well as seeing benefit in regular interaction with their peers, are more likely to be in work to enhance their career while older workers who, having established strong working relationships and thinking they have less to gain, prefer to continue working from home.
To find out how BCU Advantage can help you achieve your business goals through collaborations with our experts, business specialists and recruitment professionals along with partner organisations and funding bodies click here.