Many Small Business Owners See 2024 as 'Make or Break' Year

Nearly one-third aren't sure they'll make it through the year.

Ashley Crafton looks at tennis shoes at Shoe Stop in Wesleyan Park Plaza, Owensboro, Ky., Nov. 25, 2023.
Ashley Crafton looks at tennis shoes at Shoe Stop in Wesleyan Park Plaza, Owensboro, Ky., Nov. 25, 2023.
Greg Eans/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP, File

NEW YORK (AP) — About 40% of small business owners think 2024 will be a "make or break" year for their business, according to a survey by messaging service Slack.

After several years of dealing with the pandemic, rising inflation and a tight job market, some small businesses — 32% of respondents — aren't sure they'll make it through 2024.

Still, others are feeling optimistic about the future. Seventy-one percent of respondents said they are optimistic about the state of their business this year. But many are still facing tough issues like a volatile economy, a polarizing election on the horizon and declining sales.

In fact, 38% of small business owners said they're more worried about their business as they enter 2024 than they were as 2023 started. And only only 26% are less worried.

Despite those concerns, almost three quarters of business owners said they're taking steps to help improve their business. About half of the respondents said they're expanding marketing efforts to bring in new customers, 45% said they're setting money aside for emergency use, and 43% said they're exploring new technologies to increase productivity and efficiency.

"The state of small businesses in 2024 reflects a clear desire to maximize efficiency with limited resources," said Jaime DeLanghe, vice president of product management at Slack.

The survey included 2,000 small business owners — half of them in the tech or retail industries.

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