Small Business Owners Fear 2024 as a “Make-or-Break” Year, Survey Finds

Small Business Owners Fear 2024 as a "Make-or-Break" Year, Survey Finds

A recent survey reveals that nearly one-third of U.S. small business owners are concerned their businesses may not survive through the end of 2024, citing inflation, economic conditions, and increased competition as top concerns.

2024 is shaping up to be a critical year for small businesses in the United States. According to a survey conducted by Slack, nearly one in three small business owners are worried that their companies might not make it through the year. While the majority of respondents expressed optimism about the state of their businesses, concerns about inflation, economic conditions, the need to raise prices, and increased competition weigh heavily on their minds. This article delves into the survey findings, exploring the challenges faced by small business owners and the role of technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), in their operations.

The Thin Margin for Success and the Need for Resilience

Running a small business is no easy feat, and the margin for success is often razor-thin. Small business owners must be forward-looking, resilient, and adaptable, especially in the face of current economic challenges. Jaime DeLanghe, Senior Principal of Product Management at Slack, emphasizes the need for small businesses to continuously seek ways to improve results despite limited resources and technological capacity. While the survey revealed that most businesses performed better than expected in 2023 and remain optimistic about 2024, the concerns and uncertainties loom large.

Technology as a Game-Changer for Small Businesses

Technology, including AI, has played a significant role in helping small businesses exceed their owners’ expectations. Almost half of the respondents reported that their companies performed better than anticipated, with one in five experiencing worse outcomes. The survey found that more than a quarter of the small business owners surveyed utilized new technology in 2023. Among the top tools adopted were AI, which was cited by 50% of respondents, followed by tech for productivity or collaboration (41%) and communication (34%).

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The Excitement for New Tech Tools in 2024

Looking ahead, more than one-third of small business owners expressed excitement about adding or updating new tech tools to their operations in 2024. Over half of these owners indicated that new software is on their purchase list for the year. The AI frenzy from the previous year is expected to continue, with entrepreneurs recognizing its ability to enhance productivity and optimize work processes. AI offers small businesses significant value by enabling them to focus on more complex projects, surface insights faster, summarize messages, and eliminate tedious tasks, ultimately forging new customer relationships.


As small business owners brace themselves for the challenges and uncertainties of 2024, the survey results highlight the importance of resilience, adaptability, and leveraging technology. While concerns about inflation, economic conditions, and increased competition persist, small businesses are recognizing the potential of AI and other tech tools to drive growth and success. The coming year will undoubtedly test the mettle of small business owners, but with the right strategies and technological advancements, they can navigate the path to success in an ever-changing business landscape.