Muve’s 2023 Small Business Forecast
The last two years have seen sweeping changes in the world of business. As we step further into the post-pandemic world, it is difficult to imagine a recent time when there have been so many challenges to contend with. A cost-of-living crisis, double-digit inflation, ballooning energy costs, Brexit uncertainties and a stalemate in the war in Ukraine. Stormy seas indeed! But the best businesses always seem to chart a course to keep an even keel, and even to sail ahead. Here, in our 2023 small business forecast, we discuss the emerging trends that UK companies need to be aware of this year.
Inflation of the cost of goods and services is currently running at 10.7% over the last year. This has caused huge pressures for many businesses. Although economists (including the Bank of England boffins) are confident inflation will contract sharply from the middle of 2023, it’s likely we’ll remain in a lengthy recession.
To keep above water, SMEs are looking for solutions. A key 2023 trend will involve businesses taking an in-depth look at their supply chains. Opportunities will be identified to reduce the strains of market volatility with certain commodities and better safeguard against rising logistical costs. It remains a competitive world and there are always options!
If your business is long overdue a look at its supply chain, then you’ll need to map out all existing chains to find potential inflation or shortage issues. By doing so, risks and costs can be reduced by finding alternative supply options.
Technology continues its advancement, providing ever-increasing value to businesses, big and small. Growing development in areas including artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), network speed and cloud computing are helping to fuel the current trend of businesses finding ways to become more efficient and effective.
2023 will be the year these technologies blend together, helping to increase their capabilities even more. As a result, tasks will become more streamlined with modern systems and process support.
To take advantage of this fast-moving trend, you need to make sure the right technology is embedded across all operations of the business. In the modern age, there’s no excuse that stops companies from implementing AI and other technologies mentioned to add amazing benefits. From enhancing sales and marketing, improving customer service and better tailoring products or services, there’s a lot to think about. Not to mention the improved admin!
The global calamity of Covid-19 spelled out just how mankind can lose control of the environment around us. More of us than ever before are aware of the enormous challenge posed by climate change. Whatever the view of some individual commentators, there is little doubt of where the mood music of the British people is – the threat of climate change is real.
Consumers and investors are increasingly turning their eyes towards companies that are promoting good environmental policies. It’s naive to say that climate change isn’t already a factor that a lot of businesses take seriously; however, as we go into 2023, it’s clear that sustainability is becoming a core feature that every business must implement where possible. It’s not only a small business forecast for 2023, but one that we’ll see every year over the next decades.
If your SME needs to enhance its current environmental strategy, it must first identify the current effect it’s having on society and the environment. Following this, transparency is essential to keeping stakeholders in the loop about how the business operates to improve customer trust. Next, you should develop a plan to set vital goals that lessen environmental impact. It’s great for the planet, and increasingly, good your bottom line too.
One major small business forecast in 2023 that we expect to see is further talent acquisition changes. As we all know, businesses have faced major challenges when it comes to their employees over the last three years. Trends such as the “great resignation” and “quiet quitting” have become commonplace, especially for the over 50’s. Meanwhile, the demand for “hybrid” working, although not for everyone, is a permanent reality.
2023 will see these trends embed themselves as employees strive for better working conditions. There has been pushback from some major UK organisations demanding staff return to the office. But, long-term, employers must adapt, or they will lose the ability to attract talented individuals. Whether that be hybrid-working, good company culture or a supportive work environment, businesses need to listen to staff feedback to improve the experience and entice new candidates.
Even the process of interviewing must evolve. Instead of a long-winded procedure that deters great candidates, using technology, such as shortlisting AI and video call software, will mean you remain competitive when acquiring the right people.
So, hopefully our 2023 small business forecast has given you some food for thought as we enter the new year.
There’s a lot of work to be done to stay competitive in a future that looks unpredictable. Small businesses truly need to keep their wits about them in order to thrive. This includes looking at both internal and external factors that we’ve listed. Businesses that have the confidence of both consumers and employees are on the road to overall success.
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