Let’s Talk Business for February 23, 2024

The start of the year is a good time to take stock and plan your next business moves. Whether you’re starting a new venture, reaching the next stage of growth, or simply looking for an investment opportunity, you can make 2024 your best year yet.

If you’re looking to start a new business in 2024, begin by researching the types of products and services that will be in demand. Explore the consumer trends that will impact buying behavior over the next year and try to match your skill set or business model to these preferences.

Entrepreneurs often work longer hours than traditional employees and can burn out if they’re not careful. Plus, entrepreneurship is often a solo pursuit. Joining an industry group, signing up for a networking event, or finding a business partner can help avert isolation and further your business idea. One of the biggest themes in 2024 is human connection: Consumers and businesses alike are focusing on building relationships to combat the intense prevalence of tech in our everyday lives. Try to meet people offline — not just on social media sites.

At some point in your entrepreneurial career, you may need to apply for a loan or pitch your idea to investors. One of the biggest factors influencing whether your pitch is successful is the financial model you include in your plan. Traditional lenders may also examine your personal credit to determine whether to extend business credit. The bottom line: It’s important to learn how to manage finances. There are dozens of online courses that can help you learn more about financial management. Alternatively, you can always outsource this expertise to a trained financial planner.

Networking gives you access to the right partners, investors, and potential customers. Financial management will help you backup your idea with the right data. But it’s speaking skills that really make your business idea stand out. Toastmasters, Ignite, and PechaKucha offer opportunities to get in front of an audience and deliver your idea with confidence. Or you can work with a mentor who can give you direct feedback on your speaking skills.

Many people believe entrepreneurship is all about hustle: The harder you work, and the more energy you give, the more successful you will be. Starting and running a business takes a lot of time and dedication. But getting a new venture off the ground is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to take breaks to avoid burning out.

Make time for work-life balance throughout the year. Finding time to step away from your idea can help refresh your energy and focus to make 2024 a great year.

The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce offers many resources to help you start, run, and grow your business–including our annual Leadership Emporia Academy, monthly Group Lunches, Ribbon Cuttings, Business After Hours events, Legislative Dialogues, and more. Stop by the Trusler Business Center at 719 Commercial St., call 620-342-1600, or visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org to learn more.

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“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or chamber@emporiakschamber.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org.