Full Steam Ahead Into 2024

, Full Steam Ahead Into 2024

How many January newsletters start with the phrase: ‘Happy New Year, Everyone?’ Let’s face it: mine just did. 

Regardless of whether the coming year will be ‘happy’, it’s a seasonal bon mot we’ll utter to everyone we meet until it feels weird to repeat it. And from the outset, we can see that 2024 will be one doozy of a year with loads going on culturally, politically, and economically. And it’s a leap year, so there’s one extra day for mad stuff to happen.

So, how can we spin these multi-variant factors into a landmark year when so much is beyond our control? It’s challenging but try, we must. So, I thought I’d give a rundown of just a few of the events spinning our way in 2024 and add my perspectives to them. 

But first, let’s make some New Year’s resolutions as is traditional when the clock strikes midnight on 31st December. And rather than churning out the usual stuff about tax returns and business planning, I decided to look at some creative and arguably more helpful New Year’s resolutions for UK businesses in 2024. What do you think about these?

Innovation and Creativity

Maybe 2024 will be when you establish a company culture that encourages innovation and creative thinking among your team members. This might mean setting aside time for brainstorming sessions and idea generation or fostering an environment where you welcome new and unconventional ideas. It only takes one exemplary idea to be a game-changer, and 2024 could be a very happy year, indeed.

Engage More

Maybe engage more with your local community through charitable initiatives or partnerships. Implementing sustainable and socially responsible business practices shows your commitment to clients, customers and society and that you want to make a positive impact beyond just bottom-line profits. Think of it like free PR if you must.

Focus On Customer Experience 

Commit to elevating the overall customer experience by investing in personalised services, seamless interactions, and innovative tech-based solutions. Find out what your clients want by asking for feedback regularly and using it to make customer-friendly decisions that enhance the satisfaction and loyalty of your consumer base.

Agile Business Practices

We’ve all seen the predictions for AI and its impact on the future of work. Even now, this snowball is rolling and will only get larger. To counter this for the short term, try to drive agility into your business processes and decision-making. One significant aspect is encouraging a flexible work environment that allows employees to adapt quickly to changes and become as productive as possible.

Collaboration and Partnerships

Can you collaborate with other SMEs or startups in your industry or a related one? Fostering high-quality partnerships can lead to exciting joint ventures, resource-sharing, and beneficial business opportunities to enhance competitiveness. This is an aspect of Enso I want to work more on in 2024, and a great example of how I’m doing this is appended below. So read on…

Don’t forget to tailor your resolutions to the unique aspects of your business and culture. Crucially involving your team in the process will maximise buy-in, increasing the likelihood of successful implementation.

A Busy Year Ahead

The Sporting Scene

Paris is all set to launch the 2024 Summer Olympics, marking the city’s second time as host. The events will play out between July and August, and interestingly, the surfing competitions will take place in Tahiti, French Polynesia, so even the exotic sports will be on French soil. A noteworthy development this time is the introduction of AI for monitoring and preventing misconduct or cheating. Given how well VAR is working for the EPL, I predict controversy. Talking of football…

Euro 2024, the UEFA European Football Championship, will be held in Germany in June, and I, for one, can’t wait. Is it finally coming home? Please let it be so. France will be a strong contender after narrowly missing out in the last World Cup. But England are in with a shout if they can overcome our old enemy, the host nation. The tournament starts on 14th June with a match between Germany and Scotland. Will I be there for some games? You bet I will!

The Political Scene

Did you know that 2024 is one of the most significant years for global democracies we’ve seen in a long time? Over 2 billion people in 64 countries will go to the polls this year in countries including India, Russia, Pakistan and Mexico, plus there are the EU parliamentary elections. By the end of the year, the geo-political outlook could have changed dramatically. 

But there are two elections that I’ll be watching very closely.

A UK General Election is widely anticipated in 2024, although the latest possible date is technically January 2025. The PM has intimated he plans an Autumn poll, but the campaigning starts now, and the March Budget will be where the Tories attempt to buy back the country’s affections. All the UK’s political parties will be developing their manifestos and actively seeking support for the crucial ballot. It’ll be a wild ride, and the implications for businesses, even at this late stage, are far from clear. More on this when it’s all over and a new government, of whatever flavour, gets motoring.

Then there’s the 2024 US presidential election in November. Democrat Joe Biden will run for a second term, possibly against the embattled Republican candidate Donald Trump. If Biden secures a second term, he will remain in office until shortly before his 86th birthday – he’ll be the oldest ever POTUS (again). If 77-year-old Trump wins, we could witness a man running the country wearing an orange prison boiler suit. Until he pardons himself, and then it’ll get very exciting.

While the UK General Election and those of other countries are hugely consequential for their citizens and businesses alike, the US outcome has the potential to have far-reaching effects beyond the borders of the good ol’ US of A. We can only watch and see what happens.

, Full Steam Ahead Into 2024

It’s All A Bit Mickey Mouse

Did you know that every year on 1st January, works of art, film, literature and music enter the public domain as their copyrights expire? This makes them accessible for anyone (in certain territories) to use them commercially without paying licensing fees. For most of us, this fact slips by, and we remain ignorant that iconic cultural high points many of us know and admire are now royalty-free. Now you know.

But in 2024, the ante was upped for this under-the-radar event when some classic Disney intellectual property (IP) came up for grabs. In this case, it’s the earliest renderings of Mickey Mouse from the 1928 animation Steamboat Willie. This landmark film is now free to exploit after years of delaying tactics from Disney Corp. But use the content carefully. Get this wrong by using a version just a year or two older, and they’ll defrost Walt D quicker than you can say Captain Birdseye so he can testify against you in court. 

As well as Mickey (circa 1928), artworks like the racy Lady Chatterley’s Lover and the beloved Tigger character from the Winnie The Pooh stories are now copyright-free in the US. One interesting item is the 1923 recording of Frank Silver and Irving Cohn’s Yes! We Have No Bananas, which shops could use as their Brexit theme song!

If you want to know what else is up for grabs this year, check out this list.

I mention this to highlight the Enso Legal Services arm, which can help you with IP, trademark, copyright, etc. So, if you want to take the Mickey out of the mouse or if you want to avoid your innovations and ideas becoming royalty-free much sooner than Steamboat Willie, give us a call.

Squeezing The Pips

I talked about this in a recent LinkedIn vlog. More unwelcome taxation rules, I’m afraid, starting on 1st January this year. Those with online side hustles, such as selling second-hand stuff, renting rooms, etc., on Vinted, Airbnb, Depop, and eBay will now be subject to tax scrutiny. 

This so-called ‘Vinted tax’ is part of a global effort against tax evasion. New rules require digital platforms to collect and share user transaction details with HMRC, with tax enforcement starting in January 2025. So those earning £1,000 + annually must register as self-employed and file a tax return. 

Critics argue that the rule is unfair, especially for low-wage sellers who use these platforms for a little extra income. Considering the well-documented tax evasion and minimisation schemes used by the ultra-rich, they might have a point. What do you think?

OK, that’s it for this month. Please have a great 2024, and let’s see where this remarkable leap year takes us.

All the best, everyone.


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