How to tackle business challenges in 2023

Harvard Business Review calls them “uncertainty shocks”1 and the past six years have seen plenty of them. They are the events that create global turbulence and, more often than not, result in economic uncertainty for businesses both large and small. There was Brexit and Donald Trump’s rise to the US presidency in 2016 followed by the tensions of the China-US trade war. Then came COVID-19 in 2020 and, just as life seemed to be returning to normal, 2022 saw Russia’s invasion of Ukraine send energy and food prices soaring.
How to tackle business challenges in 2023 | Probe CX
“These uncertainty shocks have real consequences for companies and they’re becoming more common,” Stanford University economics professor Nicholas Bloom wrote in the esteemed journal 2.

With uncertainty becoming the new normal in recent years, organisations have shown remarkable resilience to continually overcome the hurdles put in front of them. Unfortunately, the need to be innovative and adaptable does not look like it’s easing in 2023 as grand challenges for businesses loom on the horizon. A recent study of more than 250 Australian small-to-medium-business owners and decision-makers showed 90% expected their operations to face challenges in FY233 including:

  • Fast-rising inflation (42% of respondents)
  • Reduced consumer or client spending due to inflation and rate rises (41%)
  • Fast-rising interest rates (28%)
  • Needing to pay higher wages (22%)
  • Inability to fill roles due to candidate shortages (19%)
  • Accessing financing or servicing loans (11%).

Having navigated local and international business challenges in 2022, Australians are now preparing to do more of the same. While uncertainty does present business continuity challenges, it is also a chance to prioritise strategies and technologies that enable long-term adaptability. Here are a few ways businesses can give themselves every chance of not just surviving but thriving in 2023.

Increase brand awareness: In uncertain times, consumers go in search of certainty and that includes the businesses they engage with. Studies have shown that 46% of people would pay more for brands they trust4, which is why every effort should be made to build a familiar and trusted brand that attracts a loyal customer base. Start by revisiting one of your best marketing tools - your website - and developing an SEO strategy that will bring more traffic to the site. Content such as blogs, podcasts and social media visuals are another great way to showcase a brand’s point of difference.

Invest in technology: While some executives are reluctant to allocate additional budget in the current economic climate, they should seriously consider doing so when technology enters the conversation. Any initial outlays will be soon offset as implementing modern technology solutions can increase efficiencies, improve productivity and deliver long-term savings. Intelligent automation and interactive voice response (IVR) systems are just two solutions that are helping to enhance customer experience and, in turn, help businesses stay ahead of their competitors.

Consider outsourcing: The past year has been a tough period for recruitment and things do not look like they are getting better any time soon. Between labour shortages and social phenomena such as The Great Resignation, nearly a third of all Australian sectors are facing serious worker shortfalls5 and many businesses are being forced to increase wages to mitigate shortages. Amid such uncertainty, partnering with a quality outsourcing provider is an appealing option as they have access to large and highly skilled pools of talent and look after the logistics of recruitment, onboarding, training and payroll. Looking offshore can even mean saving up to 70% on fixed costs thanks to the lower cost of living in outsourcing destinations such as the Philippines.

2023 has indeed posed several challenges for business owners, but it's important to recognise that it doesn't have to be a bleak year. In the midst of ongoing uncertainties, the key lies in managing what is within your control. This encompasses a wide spectrum of actions, from optimising flexibility and investing in brand recognition strategies to deploying technologies that enhance customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, the prevailing economic conditions have made it even more crucial to address financial hardships in 2023. Discover strategies to handle debt recovery with a mindful approach, recognising the unique circumstances and challenges that this year may bring.

Reference
1 Visualizing the Rise of Global Economic Uncertainty (hbr.org)
2 Visualizing the Rise of Global Economic Uncertainty (hbr.org)
3 What steps are Australian SMEs taking to combat their biggest challenges in FY23? (smallbusinessloansaustralia.com)
4 https://www.salsify.com/resources/report/content-2022-salsify-consumer-research-the-value-of-building-brand-trust
5 Australia suffering dire skills deficit with occupation shortages doubling in 2022 - ABC News

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