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Updated: April 15, 2024 Know How

How Greater Worcester small business owners can find success in 2024

As the second quarter of 2024 begins, it’s a good time for Greater Worcester business owners to reflect on the state of their businesses and the factors mattering most to their success.

The most successful companies will be those with leaders who are keenly versed in knowing costs structures, focused on core competencies, and understand the market. These fundamental skillsets can equate to successful bottom lines, regardless of your specific industry or economic conditions. Here are a few steps to start the new year strong.

A portrait photo of a woman on the left and a man on the right.
Stephanie Martin is preferred business banking manager, and Chris Hudach is small business banking manager at Bank of America.

Update your business plan

Regularly reviewing and adapting your business plan is critical to ensure you’re operating in a realistic and nimble manner. Keep in mind these best practices.

• Compare last year’s business performance to prior years by checking sales results and marketing tactics to spot trends. This will help determine the best strategies in 2024.

• Keep your budget in mind, and ensure you are updating salaries, your projections, any fixed costs or money you’ve used to grow your business over the past year.

• Source feedback from others when updating your business plan. Speak with your employees, your customers, and fellow business owners to get a sense of what’s working well and what needs to be changed.

• Evaluate your customer service offerings. You want to make sure you’re keeping the customer happy, so look at your strategies, such as loyalty programs, to ensure you’re creating repeat customers.

Evaluate your working capital

One resource almost all business owners will need is capital, be it from efficiencies and cost reductions or from your bank or the U.S. Small Business Administration. Despite demand, entrepreneurs face difficulties accessing capital. Traditional bank loans may feel like the strongest capital source, but it’s important to consider it might not be the best fit for your business. SBA business grants not needing to be repaid can help bolster your small business finances. Community development financial institutions can be helpful sources of capital for underserved entrepreneurs.

Recruit and retain talent

It’s important to evaluate your hiring or retention processes, as nearly half of small business owners are impacted by labor shortages, according to Bank of America’s 2023 Women & Minority Business Owner Spotlight, often leading to entrepreneurs working more hours and raising wages. Whether it’s sourcing candidates, setting a clear employee growth timeline, or creating an internship program, businesses can explore various ways to bring candidates to the interview table. As talent acquisition grows increasingly competitive, our bankers have been working with more businesses to offer benefits packages as additional ways to recruit and retain top talent.

The new year is also a great time to recognize your current team to set a positive tone for the year ahead. Take time in the new year to set S.M.A.R.T. expectations and goals, meaning goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. If you didn’t already, it’s important to acknowledge the great work your team did in the prior year, which can serve as a motivating factor for growth in 2024.

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