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Setting your business strategy for 2018

09/12/2017

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According to some leading voices in business media (ForbesFortune and CNBC) two of the big challenges facing business leaders in 2018 are staffing/retention and fighting cyber threats. Is your business struggling with these challenges? Do you have a plan for dealing with them? What new challenges might your business face in 2018?

Staffing and retention

Remaining competitive is a top priority for every company, and one aspect of that is attracting and retaining the best employees to serve your customer base. Losing employees is costly, both in terms of morale and the cost to recruit new workers. Some industries, such as manufacturing, struggle with a shortage of skilled workers.

According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Volunteer State experienced its lowest-ever unemployment rates in June (3.6 percent) and July (3.4 percent) of this year.

“A continuing decline in the state unemployment rate is great news for all Tennesseans,” TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips said recently in a press release. “Governor Haslam made job creation a top priority in the state, and the hard work of numerous state departments is moving Tennessee toward that goal.”

Low unemployment also means that in competitive industries some companies must get creative to keep their best employees from jumping ship to a competing business.

When it comes to recruiting/retaining a talented workforce, what has your company tried? Should you offer financial incentives (like paying down student debt) or engagement programs (like mentorships)?

Cyber security

What about cyber security? Businesses large and small are easy prey for online hackers.

Small business owners may think they aren’t targets, but they are just as likely as large companies to be attacked — we’re just less likely to hear about it when it happens.

Earlier this year, experts informed the U.S. House Committee on Small Business that 60 percent of small businesses will close within six months of a cyberattack. Back in November, a study conducted by IBM found that 68 percent of companies didn’t think they could recover from a cyber intrusion, and 75 percent of respondents said their company didn’t even have a formal plan in place for dealing with cyberattacks.

Will staffing continue to be a major challenge in 2018? How have companies — including yours — dealt with staffing in recent months? What worked? And, perhaps as importantly — what didn’t? Have your cyber strategies been successful? Are you looking to implement new ways of thwarting cyber threats? 

One way to identify and address business challenges like these — and to recognize potential opportunities — is by reviewing business trends and outlooks. That’s the goal of LBMC’s Business Outlook Survey — to collect key information from industry leaders and look at what has and hasn’t worked over the past year. It’s also a good way to forecast what’s ahead for 2018.

“This survey will help business leaders choose where and how to prioritize their resources for 2018. It will also give them a better understanding of where their industry is headed and what their competitors are planning,” says Suzanne Reed, director of marketing for LBMC, a professional business services company based in Tennessee. “As business leaders, we find it essential to continually evaluate trends so we can provide solutions that are relevant.”

The survey is asking business leaders to report how business conditions have changed in areas like revenue, employment, prices and company outlook. The answers will look at the past 12 months and forecast expectations for the next 12 months. Participants earn access to the trends and data revealed in the survey when the results are published in November.

Whether it’s addressing recruitment and retention, thwarting cyber security threats or attracting more customers, it’s easier to grow your business when you have a solid plan. The results of this survey will help key business leaders set goals and make strategic plans for 2018.

Business leaders are invited to take the survey and unlock answers that will be beneficial to business heading into 2018. The Business Outlook Survey includes 35 questions and takes 15 minutes or less to complete. That’s a quick and easy investment in your company’s future.

Wade Nelson is an LBMC data analyst.

Setting your business strategy for 2018

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