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Lessons Learned: What 8 Business Leaders Are Taking Away From the Past Year in Business

As we settle into 2024, many business owners have begun planning for the year ahead. An important part of strategizing for the future is reflecting on business lessons learned the year prior.

From adopting new business practices to navigating unforeseen challenges, we asked business leaders across our regions to delve into the lessons that shaped their success and resilience in an ever-evolving economic landscape:

“In 2023, we saw a lot of extremes in the market. The rapid rise in interest rates, supply chain issues and pricing volatility for material and supplies. The older I get the more I realize that everyone has a tendency to run to one side of the ship, but sooner or later, they’ll all run back to the other side. In most cases you’re better off just staying in the middle of the boat and waiting for the crowd to come back to you.”
David Parmley, Owner, Chesterfield Hotels, Inc.

“In the trenches of 2023, M+H revealed some real game-changers that beefed up our professional arsenal. In response to the constant threat of commoditizing architecture, we continue to zero in on the importance of fostering our team's growth and ramping up our technological capabilities by investing in continuous professional development and promoting a culture of adaptability. The real eye-opener was the power of robust cost estimation practices and how we incorporated that into our creative process. This newfound proficiency has positioned our firm as even more adept architects and designers, making sound decisions that ultimately benefit both our creative endeavors and our clients' bottom line.”
Justin Bruce, AIA, NCARB, Principal, M+H Architects

“We learned that sometimes business opportunities can feel very uncomfortable. They challenge and stretch our capabilities, but many times these opportunities lead to higher revenues and clients for life.”
Christy Rogers, Owner, Instructor, Training Umbrella

“I learned the importance of a solid strategic plan with firm accountability, cost control, and staying ahead in technology and automation for improved client service. Additionally, I realized the necessity of utilizing the digital landscape to compete in an ever-changing market.”
Karen Spann, President & Owner, PEG Staffing & Recruiting

“The workplace is more diverse than ever before. With five generations of employees, companies faced unique challenges and opportunities. At every career level and stage, everyone wants to belong and have opportunities to be successful. We've worked with clients to help them grow their employees from potential to powerhouse, creating a challenging yet rewarding experience. We worked with our clients to embrace the diversity of the workplace and unlock the potential of every employee.”
Dr. Katie Ervin, Chief Executive Officer, Catalyst Development

“You can't have enough wise counsel when owning a business. The more you grow, the more important every decision is. Have a great vision and surround yourself with great people.”
Mark Trudo, President & Owner, Blue Haven Pools

“I learned that driving improvements in a company takes dedicated people. I believe that this is the necessary key to any successful company. In order for the spirit of improvement to catch fire, managers have to exemplify this spirit and invite others to take the lead in their respective departments.”
F Peter Bastasch, CEO, Elizabeth’s Food Company, Inc.

“My biggest lesson I learned in 2023 was resiliency, and the ability to rebound from challenges that come from an ever-changing business environment. I will continue to use the tools I learned in 2023 to stay ‘on-task’ despite any potential headwinds my business encounters and remain focused on being a leader our employees and clients can count on.”
Kevin Mullaney, CEO & President, PDF Print Communications Inc.

Connect with one of our bankers to help you strategize for the year ahead. Learn more about how a consultative banker and a relationship with Enterprise can make a critical difference to your business in 2024.