By: Jessica Jansen, Small Business Banker Manager, Bank of America, Nashville

This is a Content Corner guest article. Learn more here.

As the second half of 2024 comes into focus for small business owners, Nashville entrepreneurs are confident in their businesses despite any lingering uncertainty. 55% of small business owners are reporting higher business revenues in 2023 than in 2022 and are anticipating the trend will continue, with 65% of small business owners expecting revenue increases over the next 12 months.

According to new Bank of America research, Nashville business owners anticipate revenue growth for the year ahead and are feeling confident in the overall economy, despite economic concerns. Across all categories of small business credit card spending, levels have come down since 2023, suggesting small businesses are taking steps to manage spending and reallocate or optimize their cash flow.

Entrepreneurs’ concerns around several key economic factors remain elevated nationwide but are down from last year. While concerns around supply chain issues and a recession are down significantly, concerns around inflation and interest rates only slightly dropped, as the Federal Reserve holds interest rates at a 23-year high until inflation becomes more manageable. Additionally, the political environment and health care costs are top of mind for small business owners, both seeing increases since 2023. Despite these concerns, the majority (65%) expect their revenue to increase in the next 12 months.

So, how can business owners meet their revenue expectations as we head into the second half of 2024? Here are three strategies small business owners should consider implementing to ensure success and growth this year:

  1. Conduct a Swot Analysis

It’s always smart to conduct routine evaluations of your business, but especially ahead of any upcoming shifts in the economy or impacts from the political environment. Consider finding time to analyze your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).

A SWOT analysis not only helps evaluate the state of your business but will help identify what changes and tradeoffs are needed to ensure success. In fact, 70% of small business owners say they have made tradeoffs to maintain profitability, including personal sacrifices, such as working more hours or reducing their own salary, and operational changes, such as increasing prices or reducing marketing costs. Before implementing any similar adjustments, make sure your decisions are informed by your SWOT analysis results so you can continue to strengthen and build your business.

2. Monitor your Cash Flow

By tracking current and anticipated revenue and comparing it with your business’ expenses, you can anticipate when to adjust your business model to avoid unnecessary costs. Digital tools can be helpful to future-proof your business.

According to our research, 71% of small business owners have digitally optimized their business and operations in the past 12 months, and over half of those small business owners are using mobile apps or business banking online. These digital tools enable easier financial tracking, as business owners have more flexibility to access their finances wherever they are, whenever. When faced with economic uncertainty, this can be particularly useful, allowing for faster and more informed decision-making around cash flow management.

3. Reconnect with Customers

While the year may feel tumultuous for your business, remember that a worrisome economy impacts your customers as well. Take time to connect with your customers and build brand recognition so they continue to show loyalty even when times are tough. Eighty-two percent of small business owners have implemented tactics to engage with their clientele, whether that’s personalizing interactions with customers, taking steps to implement customer feedback, or hosting community events. Consider if any of these options are viable to help your business stand out in your community.

You can also look to social media platforms to help humanize your business. 65% of small business owners use social media to interact with customers and promote their business through responding to comments, posting about themselves and their employees, and promoting upcoming sales.

Whether your small business has been around for decades or is just opening, there are always steps to take to strengthen your business, especially in an uncertain economy. Bank of America is committed to providing the resources necessary to operate and grow a business at every stage, in every circumstance.