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New Year, New Business Opportunities

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | January 9, 2024
new year 24

A calendar change often presents the opportunity for a symbolic shift in attitude. A reset button that corresponds with a clock striking midnight can be a great thing for business owners and organizational leadership. It’s time to take a brief assessment of the past year and then look to the future. Here are a few things to check off your final “to do” list for the year:

  1. Get your inventory right- An accurate accounting of what you have is critical to determine business value, taxes, and an accurate assessment of what worked in 2023. CLICK HERE for some inventory best practices.
  2. Problem identification must be coupled with strategic solutions- 2023 was often the year of the gripe. Complaining about issues without a strategy to alleviate problems has negative and cascading consequences for your mental health and staff morale. It’s okay to list what went right and wrong in 2023, but it’s more productive to record strategies to grow what went right and mitigate what went wrong.
  3. How is that staff training program looking?- Staffing was an issue everywhere in 2023. How do you plan to attract quality applicants that are productive within your work environment? How can you enhance your training in 2024? What do you need to do from a business perspective to improve your competitive position with current and prospective employees?
  4. Does anyone know your story?- Improving loyalty from customers, creating “top of mind” awareness, and enhancing your destination quality starts with your story. Why do you do what you do? What makes you unique and special within your industry? Why should the public care? Look back at how your story evolved in 2023, and think about how to communicate that story more effectively in 2024.
  5. No surprises; check that calendar!- 2023 was the first year since the pandemic where all events and activities went on without restriction. We had a lot of weather impediments in 2023, but traffic enhancers still caught people off guard. Think back about activities in 2023 that brought people to town. How will you capitalize on those consumer groups in 2024? How will you better prepare?
  6. How did you, and how will you collaborate?- Small businesses aren’t large enough to “go it alone”. Collaborations share customer contacts and create mass interest. Who will you collaborate with in 2024? What steps will you take to get more involved for the sake of your business? What collaborations worked in 2023, and what opportunities were missed because collaborations didn’t occur?
  7. Tech check; where is your tech at now, and where do you need to go?- One of the ways small business owner are finding time, efficiency, and improvements in effectiveness is through the use of new technology. 2023 brought massive advancements in AI business tools that can improve planning, communication, and other areas of business. What tools did you use in 2023? What are your plans to learn and implement new technology in 2024?
  8. How are you doing?- My standard answer is “livin’ the dream”, but this is a serious consideration. Small business owners have absorbed a lot of extra hours, duties, and stress in 2023. Building a resiliency plan for yourself by noting your stressors and coming up with a realistic and implementable plan can improve your mood, effectiveness, and health. For examples of a resiliency plan, CLICK HERE.

With some smarter approaches, we can get the 2020’s back to the “roaring” basis we thought they would be. Finish your year strong by completing your tasks and assessing your year, and then let’s more ahead together into a better and brighter 2024.

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.