3 Things To Track To Keep Your Business Competitive In 2019

In a constantly changing global economy, keeping up with each economic indicator that could impact your business can feel like an impossible task – but not tracking with these critical points before it’s too late can create wasted time and energy as the world changes around you.

Check out a few key insights here to help you strategize and stay on top of things in 2019. A don't forget to check out this recap from the Chamber’s Inaugural State of the Economy event, with insights from local experts including TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe, Cushman Wakefield | Commercial Advisors President & CEO Larry Jensen and David Waddell of Waddell & Associates.

Prepare for the Impact of National Policy Change

Policy changes on the national level have potential for a significant impact on the economy in 2019, especially for smaller companies, who are often some of the first to feel those impacts as consumer habits and prices evolve.

Nationally, interest rate increases, inflation, minimum wage increases, and tax code changes are four of the biggest factors that businesses should be prepared for in 2019, according to Fundera (follow this link to see their full piece on these issues, with tips on how to ready your organization for potential changes).

Globally, tariffs have already begun to impact Memphis business. While regional impacts for now are primarily in industries like paper mills, cotton, and tobacco producers, the implications will quickly begin to reach the broader economy of U.S. consumers, farmers, and businesses. Preparing for this impact will be critical for all U.S. companies in 2019. The Chamber recently partnered with the TN-China Network for a panel focused on how the U.S. relationship with China specifically impacts the Mid-South – get the highlights here on this important indicator.

Make a Key Investment in Digital Transformation

In 2019, investing in the right digital tools that will make your work more efficient and effective is vital for businesses to stay competitive.

If this goal feels overwhelming, change your mindset from struggling with limited resources to appreciating the freedom and flexibility a small business allows when implementing big changes. This adaptability is a luxury larger companies often don’t have, even with big budgets.

Not sure where to start? Look into utilizing blockchain technology to target the right demographics and evaluate your company’s impact on the market, utilizing data-driven insights to save time and money. Or, find ways that your company can use digitization to improve customer experience – a competitive factor second only to quality in today’s marketplace. Improving digital touchpoints for customers can set your business apart and significantly extend your brand reach.

Keep Tabs on Consumer Sentiment

Understanding the spending habits and sentiment of local consumers can be hugely beneficial for any company in the Mid-South market. The Outlook 2018 Economic Study, presented by Paragon Bank and prepared by researchers at the Sparks Bureau through the University of Memphis offers insights on financial stability, future spending, the job market and more, focused specifically on consumers in Memphis and the Mid-South.

Are there other key indicators you’d like to understand to prepare your business for a successful 2019? I’d love to hear more.

How have you leveraged Chamber resources to reach your growth goals? I’d love to hear from you.Patricia McKinney is the Chamber’s Member Engagement Specialist, dedicated to helping Chamber members grow their businesses and take advantage of all the benefits of Chamber membership.