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Top 3 business trends for 2023 and how to prepare

Making time to work on your business

By Scott Beebe 

Business owners with two to fifty employees were uniquely affected by the roller coaster of the three years since the pandemic set in and not in ways that most predicted.

Forecasters promoted a simple, linear market decline. What we received instead was a cocktail that was one part bust (primarily the food and beverage and entertainment industries), two parts supply chain and pricing disruption and three parts overheated market demand, all nestled on the rocks of a workforce that was skeptical and staying home.

Something else was brewing under the surface that we all felt: a generational war. The “fight” among the generations will be both confusing and filled with opportunity.

Greedy Boomers are feeling frustrated and overrun by entitled Millennials, while skeptical Gen Xers are interviewing, and unaware Gen Zers are scrolling TikTok in a job interview. For the first time we are all working together in the same businesses.

In his new book A New Kind Of Diversity, author Tim Elmore highlights these generational challenges, saying, “the generation gap is more distinct because new technology creates subcultures. Hence, generations often don’t have to connect to survive.”

There is a noticeable shift in generational culture that already is affecting the place we spend a significant amount of our time and the majority of our headspace: work.

Headed into 2023, you have two choices: resolve to settle for surface-level cliche changes in your life and business that struggle to gain momentum, or muster the courage to build principled, repetitive responses to situational challenges that we know are coming our way. 

Here are three trends that owners will face in 2023:

Employee and generational realities will be front and center. 

During our one-on-one coaching, we are having frequent conversations with business owners to set the expectation that their tasks activity will decrease as their business growth increases. Instead people decisions will begin outweighing task decisions as employees begin to own the tasks that the owners once oversaw. 2023 will be a year to own the reality that people are not cogs, and a person is not the sum of her tasks.  

People will demand engagement, and leadership must learn how to respond. Determine a list of intentionally repetitive questions that will provide you with a level of engagement that will speak to all generations and allow their voices to be heard.

Accounting and financial reporting will be non-negotiable business skills.

Over the last three years, as the market revved up and money was flowing, many owners grabbed all they could and sacrificed basic accounting and bookkeeping. This cash flood led some to leverage future customer deposits as payment for past bills. 2023 will be a year where the tide of cash moderates, leaving some without enough of tomorrow’s money to pay yesterday’s liabilities. A disciplined solution for business owners is to subdivide their bank accounts so they can immediately subdivide their cash upon receipt and know exactly the destination of every dollar before it is spent. 

Once subdivided and swept into your directed accounts, track them weekly on a spreadsheet to watch the flow of cash up or down. Each trend will be a new bit of information you can leverage to make healthy decisions.  

Motivation will be driven by meaning rather than money.

History is filled with reminders of the scattered, disjointed reality that exists in a vision vacuum. It is also true that where the vision is not written, it does not exist. 

Write a thoughtful, multi-page vision that includes an end date, personal desires, financial desires and details around your ideal team, product, customer and culture. Turbulent seas are now reality for business owners. The challenge will be to make the time to build a better boat while growing one’s skills in navigation. 

Example questions to use for leadership engagement

How have you seen our mission and values lived out this week/month? (Purpose)

What are you seeing and thinking?

What blind spots do we have? 

What do you need from me?

Here is what I see and what I need from you.

Scott Beebe is the founder of MyBusinessOnPurpose.com and author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, and Build A Business That Matters. Scott hosts the Business On Purpose podcast, sharing real stories of how he and the BOP team work with business owners and their key leaders to build systems, process, and purpose, using the Business On Purpose Roadmap to liberate businesses from the chaos of working in their business and help them get their lives back.

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