No matter what business you're in, it's prudent to be ready to take advantage of any foreseeable economic improvement.
Invest in your employees again
One solid place to begin may have received short shrift in a sour business climate -- employee training. If that's so, think about retooling your employees' skills so they can handle an increasing and possibly more diverse workload.
"Be willing to invest in employee hiring and training," says Joel Gross, CEO of Coalition Technologies, a West Coast-based design and marketing firm. "When any increase in business comes, you may want to have cross-trained employees who can fulfill multiple functions and tasks."
Further, if hiring new employees seems likely, it may be wise to jump on that task as soon as possible. As unemployment drops and more companies look to build employee rolls, the most talented people may not be available for long. Prioritizing any planned hires for early in the year can help shove you to the front of the line.
Give some thought to optimal positioning of employees, both existing and new. Mary Hladio, president of Ember Carriers, a Cincinnati organizational performance firm, says it's critical to balance current decision-making with long-term planning to fully leverage economic growth. "Small and midsized businesses need to identify and develop key employees into a leadership team that can run the day-to-day operations of the company, make tactical decisions and free the business owner to focus on long-term growth and sustainability," Hladio says.
Prepare for growth across the board
Next, review your company website -- another part of your business that may have been put on the back burner. In particular, check to see if your website is equipped not merely to be easy to use and navigate, but also to smoothly handle any increase in traffic levels.