For the next few days we are all going to inundated by gurus and fortune-tellers telling us what 2014 will be like for business and in the governmental and political arenas, since they are all so intertwined.
We know about some critical issues such as the integration of the Affordable Care Act into the structure of businesses and individuals affected, whether the economy continues to strengthen continuing the trend of increased hiring and whether governing bodies and businesses will increase their investment in infrastructure.
We don’t need a crystal ball to tell us these issues will be at the forefront determining whether next year will be beneficial for businesses and, by extension, everyone who participates in our economy. But we do need to consult the crystal ball to develop ways of dealing with them and many more.
A little proactive thinking and planning is called for. Take a look at the big picture issues that may have an effect on your industry and your specific business. Develop a contingency outline for the those you suspect can cause your business to be better or worse next year.
A couple examples:
- Sales volume increases causing a need for more staff, but if unemployment drops it will be more difficult to attract qualified applicants. What will you do?
- The price of gasoline goes up or down again. If costs drop maybe you can service a larger geographic area, but what will your strategy be if costs increase?
- The talk about increasing the minimum wage becomes a major initiative nationwide. How will it affect your business and what can you do to minimize it?
Whatever critical issues there are facing your business, the better prepared you are the more control you have over the way you meet them and react to them. Get out your crystal ball, shine it up, seek knowledge of the future and plan for the contingencies. It is far better to be prepared than caught by surprise because you will be better able to take advantage of opportunities or minimize challenges and that will make for the happy, healthy 2014 I wish for you.