What Small Business Owners Need to Focus on for 2023
With 2022 shortly coming to an end, we as small business owners need to start putting our plan together for 2023 and beyond. As any good plan needs to start with looking at the conditions that we face for the next 12+ months, it’s time to look at those conditions and evaluate what strategies need to be emphasized to maximize our effectiveness. What worked in 2022 may not work in 2023 and beyond. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the concept of “Lather, rinse, and repeat” when things have gone well and believe that everything will stay basically the same. So, let’s look at 3 conditions I believe will happen in 2023 and your strategy to adapt to these conditions.
Condition: Mild to moderate recession in 2023. It is apparent that the Fed will continue their counter-inflation strategy through 2023. We may not see multiple 75 basis points increases like we saw in 2022, but I don’t see them lowering interest rates until there is demonstrative proof that the inflation monster has been tamed. This will drive our economy into a recession, although I don’t believe it’s going to be on the same level as 2008-2009.
Strategy: Up your marketing game. Businesses have gotten lazy with marketing as many of them reached capacity and had to turn business away due to lack of staffing. With the end of PPP and EIDL money flooding the market, drawing customers to your business becomes paramount. Look at increasing your marketing budgets and start testing and measuring new marketing strategies and improving your current marketing programs.
Condition: Softening Employment market in 2023. The last 3 years have been a nightmare for business owners to hire talent. The continued exit of Baby Boomers from the work force was exacerbated by millions of workers who temporarily left the work force due to COVID and government funded programs that allowed them to stay home. Now, many of these people have reentered the workforce, and some Baby Boomers may slow down their exit as retirement funds are not performing as in years past.
Strategy: Aggressively look for talent. I know what you are thinking “But Kevin, I don’t have room in my payroll for additional employees. Are you insane?” Remember, if you are playing the long game in business, you know that we’ll come out of a recession sometime in 2024 and getting talented employees will become exponentially harder in the years to come. If you must sacrifice profit to get employees who will stay with you for the coming years, you do it now. This is the time to think 3 steps ahead.
Condition: Global instability with the collapse of The Russian Empire. Ok, I’m going out on a limb here. I believe that 2023 will look a lot like 1917 in Russia, with the collapse of the Putin regime and massive instability in Russia and beyond. This will have massive downstream effects in terms of oil, natural resources, and shifting alliances.
Strategy: Refocus supply chain priorities to North American providers. Yes, I know it may be cheaper to source products and equipment from overseas sources, but that beautiful and less expensive piece of equipment coming from China may not be showing up at your doorstep. Supply chains will start reconsolidating into regions so make sure your critical items are made here in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Health Success and Business Success – They go Together
Many years ago, I had a client I was working with. He was struggling big time and could never seem to get on track. He started missing coaching sessions due to his multiple health ailments (most of them self-induced) so I gave him an ultimation; “You need to work on your health before we continue any coaching program. I won’t let you throw away good money if you can’t implement the program.” I never saw him again.
So, I’m driving on my way into the office today and I see a van on I-90 approaching downtown Spokane. It’s a Security Company I’m not familiar with and the tagline on the van says, “We make it happen.” What?! Make “what” happen? What a totally confusing and disjointed slogan.
Here are some other bad business slogans that have been put out there:
Your convictions are what drive you. Each one of us has a deep-seated values system that points us in the right direction. What you need to have with those convictions is courage. Courage to take a chance on something. Courage to make a hard decision. Courage to make an investment of your time, money, and resources with no guarantee of success.
Take your deep seated convictions, and add a large dose of courage for you to overcome any challenge in your business and in your life.