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The Business Blueprint: Mapping Opportunities in the New Year

Published on March 5, 2024 | Webster Bank

With economic growth1 predicted to continue slowing before picking up in 2025, it is time to pay close attention to what lies ahead for your company and how to seize growth opportunities.

Predictions to watch:

  • During periods of slower economic growth, companies often cut jobs and unemployment rises. The predicted economic slowdown is expected to drive up unemployment by an average of 10,000 jobs per month in 2024 before adjusting to an average of 6,000 jobs per month in 20251.
  • Inflation2 will continue to decline as the Fed gets closer to meeting its stability goal. Whether the central bank will impose further interest rate hikes will be determined in the year’s remaining meetings.

Against this backdrop, what does it all mean for business leaders? What prospects does 2024 have in store? And what modifications are necessary to be best positioned to capitalize on new possibilities?

Here are a few observations that can help put 2023 in perspective along with some action steps to prime your business for a crop of new opportunities in 2024.

1. Look for ways to adapt and grow.

Well-managed companies can optimize their potential through mergers and acquisitions. Strong businesses that continue to find efficiencies and innovate operations are getting great valuations and will continue to do so in 2024. And many family-owned businesses, with succession plans at the ready, are poised to pass the torch from their retirement-ready owners to their next-gen principals.

The quest to become greener is also contributing to continued acquisition activity. Well-capitalized organizations focused on this goal will likely target firms for possible acquisition with established sustainability to help evolve and complement their own businesses.

2. Consider tech solutions to gain efficiency.

Digital payments

Companies that continue to adopt contactless apps and other digital technologies will benefit from streamlined payment processes, more predictable cash flow, and increased opportunity to optimize income and expenses. Given the benefits of real-time or instant payments, companies are likely to find ways to leverage payment technology to further improve processes and operate more efficiently.

Online banking

Companies of all sizes are increasing demand for online banking solutions. To simplify cash management and liquidity, many will continue to seek services and solutions, such as:

3. Remain vigilant about fraud protection

The cost of business cybercrime is escalating, causing reputational and financial damages. The cost of cybercrime is predicted to grow to $10.5 trillion3 by 2025. As you continue to incorporate remote work, be vigilant about monitoring and implementing better controls and services that will thwart hackers attempts to steal your data and money.

Fraud protection solutions that can help maximize cash flow, as well as security, will be key, including:

  • Check Positive Pay to protect commercial checking accounts against potential check fraud.
  • ACH Positive Pay to guard against unauthorized and potentially fraudulent ACH debit entries and restrict access to funds/accounts.
  • Two-Factor Authentication to require an extra layer of security to verify users and passwords before providing access to accounts and systems.
  • Remote Deposit Capture to scan and deposit checks from anywhere.
  • ACH Services to push/pull payments electronically without paper checks.

How can you become better positioned for opportunities in 2024?

Take a step back to assess the current state of your business, level of demand, and your financial and business resources. Then talk with your banker and other trusted advisors to see what services and expertise they can offer in terms of cash management, financing, lending, fraud protection and cybersecurity.

Taking steps now can confidently prime your business to most of the possibilities ahead.

Ready to take the next step?

Connect with Webster Bank today.

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The opinions and views herein are for informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. Please consult professional advisors with regard to your individual situation.

1 Congressional Budget Office
2 Reuters
3 Forbes

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