Finance Leadership Blog

Here you'll find insights, trends and tools to help you excel as a finance leader.

2024 Predictions for Startups and Small Businesses

founders risks start-ups & fast growth businesses tech Dec 15, 2023

As 2024 approaches, start-ups and small businesses are poised to adapt and thrive amidst dynamic shifts in the business landscape.

The insights from various sources indicate a period of significant change and opportunity in this upcoming year.


Economic Landscape and Start-up Opportunities

The British Business Bank's insights suggest an encouraging environment for budding entrepreneurs. The combination of emerging technologies, changing economic scenarios, and the predicted increase in the number of new businesses signals a good time for launching start-ups.

Despite potential economic uncertainties, the falling inflation rates and technological advancements provide good ground for new ventures.


AI: A Game Changer in Business Operations

The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in business is becoming more pronounced.

AI tools, such as chatbots and automated systems, are transforming operations, offering start-ups a competitive edge through efficiency and innovation.

However, it's crucial to navigate AI with caution, considering aspects like data accuracy, privacy, and ownership.

Take a look at our prior article on How Finance Directors and CFOs can use ChatGPT.


Sustainability: A Core Business Value

Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword but a business imperative.

Consumer trends lean heavily towards eco-friendly practices.

Startups that embed sustainability into their core operations could see an increase in customer loyalty and brand trust, presenting a unique opportunity for growth in green products and services.


Soft Skills: The New Frontier for Startups (and leaders)

The demand for soft skills like communication and customer service is surging.

Startups investing in these skills could gain a significant advantage in understanding and meeting customer needs, as well as their teams.

This focus on soft skills could also open up new avenues in providing training and support services to other businesses.

5 Ways to Be a Trusted Finance Leader


Diverse Financing Options

The landscape of financing for startups is evolving.

Beyond traditional bank loans, various alternative financing routes are continue to emerge, including online lenders, crowdfunding platforms, and specialist lending platforms like Start Up Loans.

Navigating these options effectively can provide the necessary capital boost for new businesses and finance leaders.


Customer Experience as a Priority

Prioritising customer experience remains crucial for startups.

Engaging customers throughout the purchasing process and providing incentives for feedback can build a loyal customer base.


Technological Predictions and the AI Boom

Vertice's CEO highlights an expected boom in AI, particularly in finance functions.

This shift necessitates careful budget management and awareness of "shadow AI" risks, where unofficial procurement could lead to security concerns.

THE Most common type of Business Fraud I've seen


Price Strategies in the SaaS Market

The SaaS market is undergoing changes, with a move away from significant price hikes.

Startups will need to be vigilant about software costs, looking for value and efficiency in their software investments.


A Shift in Growth Strategies

The focus is shifting from rapid growth to more sustainable, cost-effective business models.

Startups are now more likely to overhaul their tech stacks, seeking specialised and innovative tools over comprehensive but potentially less effective solutions.


Cloud Cost Optimisation

With rising cloud costs, CFOs are increasingly focusing on optimising these expenses. The need for transparent forecasting and cost-saving initiatives is becoming more pronounced.


The Muted Outlook for Start-ups

Despite some stabilisation in the market, startup funding levels remain low, and costs are high.

This scenario will likely prompt startups to adopt more stringent cost-cutting measures, looking closely at software and cloud expenses as potential areas for savings.

Take a look at our prior articles on Cost control and Profit first.


Data as a Growth Lever Data analysis and actionable insights are becoming pivotal for business growth. The increasing use of AI to transform data into insights will see a rise in C-level positions dedicated to data management.


Quantum Computing: The Next Big Thing

Quantum computing is anticipated to go mainstream, with significant applications in financial modelling, price optimisation, and fraud detection.

How the accounting role is changing and what is becoming more important?

Different organisations or experts have either a general pessimistic or optimistic view, although AI and being more efficient seems to be consistent. 

More namely:

Optimism Among British Entrepreneurs: Virgin Start-Up's research indicates a positive outlook among UK entrepreneurs, with a focus on building greener businesses and addressing mental health challenges.

Economic Analysis by BCC, IoD, and CBI: However, Business confidence is also low, with limited growth expected.  High interest rates, trade barriers, and consumer spending limits are contributing to a low-growth climate.

John Chambers' (VC) Predictions: John Chambers foresees AI as a transformative force, with implications for tech regulation and social issues.

The U.S.-India partnership is expected to drive global innovation, and the economy and IPO landscape are anticipated to shift, reflecting evolving market dynamics.

Small Business Changes in 2024: The US Chamber predicts increased AI adoption among small businesses, AR/VR for immersive experiences, and a greater focus on digital marketing skills.

The trend towards remote operations is expected to continue, and businesses with a values-first, profits-second approach will likely be more successful.

Forbes' Business Trends for 2024: Forbes highlights generative AI, soft skills, sustainable business practices, and personalization as key trends. The data economy and customer experience revolution will shape business strategies, with a focus on remote and distributed work, diversity and inclusivity, and resilience.


In summary, 2024 will be a year of adapting to technological advancements, prioritising sustainability, and focusing on customer experience and data-driven strategies for start-ups and small businesses.

This year will challenge entrepreneurs and Finance Directors / CFOs to be agile, innovative, and resilient in an evolving economic landscape.


  1. Try our Quiz!  Financial Leadership Foundations Scorecard.  
  2. Work with me in the Financial Leadership Foundations course  that includes monthly Q&A sessions where we can discuss all of your questions and how to apply your learnings to your current role. 
  3. Work with me as a Founder needing guidance and support from experienced Finance leaders. Take a look at our guide on Outsourced bookkeeping.


Resources for finance leaders, delivered right to your inbox.

Sign up for the Fast Growth Consulting Newsletter to receive weekly tips and tricks, info on our latest courses, as well as trends and tools in the finance field.


We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.