The last year was filled with concerning headlines and challenges for people running SMEs. There were also some opportunities too. The cost of living crisis and the knock-on effect to industry from the war in Ukraine were some of the main headline makers. As we move into 2023, many of us will be looking ahead to the next 12 months to establish where the growth lies and what we can do to make our businesses a little more stable in both the medium and long-term. With this in mind, we’re here to help with a guide on what businesses should look out for as trends in the coming year.
Continued Cost of Living
Looking at all the recent news about striking public sector workers should come as an indicator that the cost of living crisis we’re in still has some ways to play out. In terms of how this might affect your business, the biggest consideration is around the spending power and disposable income of your target customer base, particularly if you operate within the B2C sector. Have a look at industry trends to understand how the market will play our and if cost-cutting exercises will be required to bring your prices in line with what people can afford.
The Value of CSR
Corporate Social Responsibility is by no means a new concept, but in this heady decade of climate crisis and business scrutiny, some of the biggest opportunities for your business might lie in its ability to appeal to those who take CSR values seriously. A recent survey identified that 46% of customers consider the environmental credentials a business has in the consideration phase. Bringing your CSR up to standard shouldn’t just relate to gaining more customers, it should be a moral motivator as well.
The war in Ukraine is an indicator for all businesses around how quickly things can turn and an event on the other side of the world can have unintended consequences towards the minutiae of business that goes on back home. There isn’t any specific advice that we can give to cover those unexpected events, but a bit of contingency planning goes a long way. This can also relate to some of the adverse weather conditions we’ve seen in the last few years, coupled with the possibility of power cuts.
Securing Good Staff
The conditions of the last few years have shown the job market to be very much in the favour of employees. A lot of businesses are willing to pay top salaries to get the right people in for the job. With this in mind, coupled with the cost of living crisis, as a business you might have to consider wages and taking more of an investment perspective with your employees. Those who bring talent into your business in the long-term will drive better value, even if you have to foot a greater upfront cost when hiring them.
The final point we want to raise in today’s article centres around the fact that a strategy you create for your business in January won’t necessarily be the same strategy you’re working to by the end of the year. You need to take into accounts the external trends and forces that might require you to review and adapt. Whilst it is useful to have ongoing goals and objectives for your business as a whole, your strategy should have a degree of flex to account for any adjustments that you might have to make throughout the year.
Read the latest on how to best achieve this. We hope this guide has been useful in showing you some of the ways that 2023 is set to be a more manageable year than what has just passed!