It’s a fresh start! As we leave 2023 behind and dive into the exciting possibilities of 2024, your business goals might be swirling in your head, feeling a little different than they did a year ago. That’s okay! Change is inevitable, and with it comes the opportunity to re-evaluate and evolve. Let’s explore three key ways to keep your small business moving forward in the new year:
- Take stock, pivot, and refine
Before charging ahead, take a moment to check in with yourself, asking the following questions:
- Acknowledge your experiences: Reflect on the lessons learned, the skills gained, and the challenges conquered. How did these experiences shape your business vision?
- Revisit your goals: Have your business goals changed? Reassess your goals, prioritize, and adjust course if needed.
- Know your worth: Get a ballpark estimate of your business’s value. This helps set realistic growth targets, plan for future investments, and understand your competitive position. A fresh look at your accounting and assets will give you a clearer picture.
- Diversify for resilience:
- Expand your horizons: Explore adding new products, services, or even targeting different markets. This can mitigate risk, open new revenue streams, and keep you ahead of the curve.
- Customer insights: Conduct surveys or focus groups to understand your customers’ evolving needs and desires. Can you offer complementary products, cater to a new niche, or adapt your services to changing trends?
- Competitive landscape: Research your competitors. Identify opportunities to differentiate yourself, fill in gaps, or capitalize on emerging trends.
- Seek inspiration: Network with fellow business owners, attend industry events, and join relevant associations. Learning from others’ experiences and exploring new markets can spark innovative ideas.
- Embrace the future:
- Invest in technology: Automation, AI, and data analytics can streamline operations, improve customer experience, and fuel growth. Research and implement tools that align with your business goals and budget.
- Understand Generation Z. Generation Z is now entering the workforce, and they’re a different breed of employee than any we’ve seen before. They’re tech-savvy, social justice-minded, and they value work-life balance. Make sure your workplace is welcoming and inclusive for Gen Z employees.
- Upskill your team, if applicable: Invest in training and development programs for your employees if you have them. Equipping them with the skills needed to navigate new technologies and adapt to changing market dynamics will boost your business’s agility.
- Prioritize Employee Wellness: Recognizing the significance of mental health in the workplace is no longer on the periphery; it’s an essential element for enhancing employee well-being, productivity, and retention. It’s about creating a supportive and positive work environment while balancing the essential tasks at hand in the dynamic landscape of a small business.
- Sustainability matters: Consumers and investors are increasingly prioritizing environmentally and socially conscious businesses. Evaluate your current practices and identify ways to operate more sustainably.
Remember, change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity. By taking stock, diversifying strategically, and embracing the future, you can ensure your business keeps moving forward and thrives in 2024 and beyond.
The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center is here to help! Our team of experienced consultants can provide guidance on goal setting, diversification strategies, and navigating the ever-evolving business landscape. Call us at (570) 941-7588 or visit www.pasbdc.org/scranton today.
Let’s make 2024 your year of growth and success!