A new year is an exciting time for many business owners. It marks another year of growth and new goals. However, preparing for it can feel overwhelming. How can you make the most out of your prep time?
“You have to reflect on the prior year, what the goals and objectives were, whether you’re successful or not, and then think: What’s 2024 going to look like now?” says Scott Gnau, Commercial Lending Team Leader at First Federal Lakewood.
Smart Business spoke with Gnau about what businesses need to do to prepare for 2024 and how to start off on the right foot.
What can a business do to prepare for a new year?
The planning process starts when you set time aside to sit down and strategize about the upcoming year. Look at your growth strategy, figure out if you have people in the right positions and if you need to bring new employees on. Are there new markets or sectors you want to explore? What is your focus? These questions need to be answered to have a successful year ahead.
Some more questions to consider are: What worked this past year and what didn’t? What are we doing differently next year? What do we want to change? What do I need money for? Where am I going to get the cash to make strides in the new year?
Since interest rates are a hot topic right now, many companies are figuring out how to navigate this rocky time. Interest rates have an impact on overhead and can lead to less customer buying power, and businesses should be prepared to budget.
Additionally, it’s important to re-evaluate your plans and strategy. Think about if you need new resources like equipment or working capital, especially if your business is growing or you’re outgrowing your current space. If you’re looking to expand your company, start strategizing now on a new facility to own, lease, or lease to own. Health care practices may consider upgrading their existing equipment or furniture to provide a better experience for clients. It should be part of your business and strategy plan.
Who should businesses work with as they prepare for 2024?
As a business owner, your day-to-day is busy. Your team of advisers is essential when it comes to reaching your objectives because they’ll help streamline your wishes and look at your goals in a big-picture view. Schedule time to meet with your key management team — your CPA, attorney, financial adviser, banker and insurance agent — to reflect on your goals from the past year, what you achieved and where you fell short. After strategizing together, this will help you get a good sense of what 2024 will look like going forward.
Your advisers will also be able to guide you through creating a 2024 plan. For example, your CPA will have a good sense of the financial forecast, and your business banker, also known as commercial lenders in some financial institutions, may suggest treasury management tools like Positive Pay to help prevent fraud. Plus, if you want to grow your business through acquisitions or purchase a new building, your banking partner will be able to help with that process.
If you’re looking for a team of advisers, find recommendations from other business owners. Business bankers can be found in mutual banks, where they’re looking to build relationships with their customers, understand those customers’ unique circumstances and offer solutions that support them. You can have peace of mind that they’re in it for the long run and are ready to help your company succeed both now and well into the future.
Through the process of getting your key advisers in place during the strategy phase and asking the right questions, you’ll be sure to go into the new year with a clear vision to reach your goals. ●
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