Entrepreneurs should always be looking for trends and issues that could benefit or challenge their business. Be especially watchful when the calendar changes to a new year. The trends of a new year are often a continuation of factors that have been influential for some time.

 

Here are some tips to help you prepare and grow in the new year.

 

Efficiency is the key to maximizing small business profitability, productivity, and potential.  Small business owners tend to devote so much attention to processes and people, they often forget to develop their most important asset, themselves. Every day offers the opportunity to learn something that can improve the quality of your business. It’s simply a matter of being aware of what’s going on outside the walls of your store, factory, or home office.

 

In 2019 SCORE Port Charlotte will be assisting in four separate Lunch and Learn programs in our area. The first will begin in Port Charlotte on January 8th. Two programs begin in February in Punta Gorda and Englewood. The North Port program begins its eleventh year in March. Topics for the workshops have been suggested and selected by business owners in the area. As we finalize each program you can find the information at portcharlotte.score.org or follow us on Twitter, @charlottecscore, or, send me your email address and I’ll make certain you’re on the mailing list.

 

Create a board of advisors. Everyone needs good advice when starting and running a small business, even those who have done it before. Unlike a board of directors, an advisory board is an informal group that has no financial interest in your business. Select business professionals who can provide knowledge, skill, and experience to help you be more competitive, think strategically, and advise about specific issues. They can provide feedback on ideas, assist with a problem, or simply offer thoughts about what’s happening in the world, and how it might affect your business.

 

Make your business part of the community. Small businesses have a long and proud tradition of making a difference, particularly on the local level. The benefits of community involvement go beyond simply feeling good because you helped a worthy cause. It raises the profile of your business, creates a positive buzz, and opens the door to new networking opportunities. A good starting point for finding community involvement ideas is your local Chamber of Commerce. They frequently sponsor events that offer opportunities for advertising or in-kind service donations. And nothing beats the chance to meet and network with fellow small business owners!

 

There’s nothing like networking. It can be lonely at the top when you’re trying to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s a whole world of people ready to provide advice, information, brainstorming help, and sales leads. Some become customers; others become colleagues, mentors, and lifelong friends. It’s called networking; cultivating ongoing, informal relationships that lead toward sharing information that can ultimately benefit you and your business. Chambers of Commerce as well as business and professional associations are great places for building your network. Many localities have groups specifically for women entrepreneurs. You can find opportunities through internet searches, or by asking current members of your network.

 

Try some of these and let me know your thoughts at eddavis@scorevolunteer.org

 

For more information on starting, promoting and growing your business, or to request a mentor from SCORE Port Charlotte go to www.portcharlotte.score.org. Volunteers provide confidential one on one business advice to meet the needs of both start-up and existing businesses at no cost.  Follow us on Twitter; @charlottecscore