WORK MATTERS COLUMN BY PATRICIA KRAUSMAN
Americans are applying to start new businesses at a record rate, according to the White House, up about 30 percent compared to before the pandemic. In addition, a recent Bank of America survey of more than 1,300 small business owners found that 66 percent believed their revenue will increase in 2023, while 77 percent of respondents believed their business could survive a major economic slowdown.
Demand in many sectors is high as we transition into 2023. Regardless of industry, the small business world is ever-changing. Optimism is obtained through recognition of the ability to not only survive, but thrive.
During the pandemic, many small businesses capitalized on changing market needs by adjusting their operating model and distribution channels. In a post-pandemic economy, businesses are keenly aware of the importance of flexibility, market awareness and real-time demand adjustments. Out of adversity, comes opportunity.
In my position as Center Director for the Kentucky Small Business Development Center in Elizabethtown (KSBDC), I am in regular contact with aspiring and established regional entrepreneurs. In the Lincoln Trail region, this sense of entrepreneurial optimism is heightened by new opportunities and growth.
With major developments in the industrial sector, including the announcement of the BlueOval SK Battery Park in Glendale, our region is poised to experience a strong economic boom. This equates to small business opportunity and economic vitality in 2023. Based on client feedback and market opportunity, I anticipate increases in startup and existing business growth this coming year.
With these new economic developments, there will be a strong demand for products and services that support the industrial sector and secondary suppliers, along with increased consumer demand. Recognition of opportunities and providing solutions to needs and problems is entrepreneurship at its best.
This inevitable growth in entrepreneurship will be built upon an already robust small business community that has yielded plenty of success stories in recent years. Last year, the Elizabethtown-based digital therapeutics business BehaVR was selected as one of 43 companies nationwide that made it on Parity.org's 2022 list of the Best Companies for Women to Advance, also known as the ParityLIST. In addition, Meade County-based defense contractor Universal Spartan was listed in the prestigious Inc. 5000 in 2021, an annual list that tracks the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.
No doubt, community support for local small businesses is important. We have a dynamic regional small business support infrastructure and referral network that works together with a common goal. Support is there throughout the life of a business, whether starting, growing, or addressing challenges. Communication and collaboration among partners is key.
However, regardless of how advantageous economic conditions are, small business startup and growth never comes without risk. Factors such as hiring problems, supply issues, unexpected expenses, and irregular cash flow are challenging. The key to sustainability is acknowledging uncertainty and identifying the things we can control. Adequate planning, financial awareness and having a “plan B” can account for hurdles along the way.
Through every step of the way and at no cost, KSBDC is available to help small business owners, whether they are looking for a competitive edge in the market or are just starting out. We work together one-on-one with our clients to develop an action plan for their specific needs.
Our Elizabethtown office has been assisting the small business community in the Lincoln Trail region for more than 35 years. We provide no-cost consulting and minimal-fee training services that help existing business owners and potential entrepreneurs succeed. Our services include: one-on-one consultations, training workshops, market research, loan packaging help, assistance with financial projections and information needed to make informed business decisions.
To ensure that we are positioned to meet growing community and economic development needs, KSBDC is currently taking part in a new collaborative effort to provide one-stop small business services for the region. We are working alongside other economic and business development groups in the newly-formed Center of Kentucky Entrepreneurship, located at 1201 North Dixie Highway, Suite 112, in Elizabethtown. We work by appointment with small businesses – established or starting – in Breckinridge, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Larue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Taylor and Washington counties.
Through the Center of Kentucky Entrepreneurship, we are excited to now provide a central dedicated meeting location for confidential coaching and training with a suite of services that foster dynamic growth and development.
In addition, the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail (KCC-LT) is an invaluable part of our local small business support network, especially in today’s labor environment. Small businesses often do not have in-house resources, and KCC-LT bridges that gap. We connect our clients with KCC-LT to ensure they have access to low or no-cost employee recruitment, training and education. They match companies with qualified, skilled workers through recruitment services and resources.
To learn more about the services provided by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center in Elizabethtown, visit kentuckysbdc.com/elizabethtown. To learn more about the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, visit ltcareercenter.org.
Patricia Krausman serves as Center Director at the Kentucky Small Business Development Center in Elizabethtown, which serves a 10-county area, and is a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. She can be reached at 270-765-6737 or firstname.lastname@example.org.