How to Craft Your 2023 Business Strategy in the Not-So-Roaring 20s

Here's how to build a strategy for your business in the face of the giant question mark that is 2023.

2021 business strategy

Building a business strategy is always a challenge—but it’s especially challenging during a very turbulent year.

Obviously, there’s hope that 2023 will be less disruptive than 2022—but there’s also the potential for continued inflation, supply chain disruptions, tech industry layoffs, and other uncertainty-inducing events looming on the horizon. So, as a business owner, how do you plan for your small business’ future when you don’t know what that future is going to hold?

Let’s take a look at 5 tips to help you build a solid 2023 business strategy—and make sure it can carry you through the uncertainty of the upcoming year.

table of contentsTable of Contents

    Tip #1: Acknowledge How Your Business, Industry, and the World Have Changed

    Strategy planning in 2023 is going to be completely different from years past. In order to craft a successful and realistic strategy for your business, you need to acknowledge the ways your company, your industry, and the world at large have changed—and work those changes into your business plan.

    For example, how has customer demand for your product or services changed with inflation? How have rising prices changed the ways in which you’re able to serve your customers? How has your community changed as a result?

    As you’re crafting your strategy, it’s important to acknowledge all the changes your organization, your industry, and your customers have experienced as a result of the economic events of 2022—and how you can adapt to those changes to set yourself up for success in 2023.

    But it’s not enough to acknowledge the changes that have already happened. You also need to acknowledge the change that could be ahead in the upcoming year.

    That’s where scenario planning comes in. It’s a strategic structure that forces you to examine all the things that could happen within your organization by:

    work life balance
    • Examining current trends
    • Exploring assumptions you have about your company, competitors, and industry as a whole
    • Identifying unknowns that could influence business outcomes

    From there, you forecast a number of likely scenarios that could play out in your business in 2023—and develop different strategies to deal with each one.

    There’s no denying that the pandemic changed the economy as a whole, and world of small business as we know it—and that more changes are likely ahead. But by acknowledging the changes that you’ve already experienced—and anticipating and planning for potential new challenges—you can ensure that your business is as prepared as possible for whatever 2023 throws your way.


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    Tip #2: Focus on What’s Within Your Control

    There’s a lot that’s out of business owners’ control right now. You can’t control whether your suppliers raise their prices. You can’t control whether new restrictions are rolled out in response to another COVID wave. You can’t control when things will back to some semblance of “normal”.

    But focusing on all the things you can’t control isn’t helpful or useful for your small business. Instead, shift your focus to what you can control.

    Look at the areas of your business where you still have power and influence to help you make decisions that will set your business up for a more successful 2023 and beyond. For example, if you own a restaurant, you can’t control whether in-person dining is restricted in your city. But you can decide which operational areas to focus on—and make the decision to start marketing delivery and takeout options in order to better serve your customers and drive sales.

    Having so much up in the air is tough for small business owners. But by shifting your focus to the things you can control, you can build a strategy that drives results regardless of any challenges that may come your way—and set yourself up for the best results possible in 2023.



    Tip #3: Embrace All Things Digital

    While most people were excited to meet face-to-face again this past year, it’s safe to say working and connecting remotely is still here to say. According to this McKinsey study, 75% of consumers will still continue (and prefer) to use digital communications post-pandemic.

    So, if you want your business to succeed in 2023, having a solid digital strategy is non-negotiable.

    Regardless of whether it becomes easier to conduct business in person this year, the shift to digital is here to stay. If you want to connect with customers and drive revenue and growth in the upcoming year, you need to have a solid strategy for how you’re going to make that connection in the digital space.

    For example, if you own a brick-and-mortar store, you need to have a clear e-commerce strategy. Even if you typically meet with clients in person, consider also providing a virtual option as well. However you conducted business in person pre-pandemic, you need to account for that in your digital strategy.

    If you’ve kept your business moving forward throughout the past 2 years, chances are, you’ve already crafted a solid digital strategy. But now that it’s a new year, it’s important to review what’s working, what’s not, and how you can continue to adapt to best serve your customers online.

    Tip #4: Have a Clear Strategy for How to Support Your Team

    It’s no surprise that 2022 was tough on your team. Employees are likely feeling stressed, underpaid, and burned-out from all the economic changes of the past year. So while it’s important to strategize how to best support your customers in 2023, it’s just as important to have a clear strategy on how to best support your team.

    When you’re crafting your 2023 business strategy, make sure that you acknowledge any potential issues your employees may be struggling with—and then develop a plan for how you’re going to support them in dealing with those issues.

    For example, what’s your policy on how to support an employee if they or a loved one are diagnosed with COVID-19? Or, if your team has transitioned to remote work, how can you ensure that they’re maintaining a healthy work-life balance—and not glued to their email 24–7?

    Think of the kind of structures you can put into place to help your employees better navigate the stress of an uncertain economy, such as rolling out a wellness program or offering paid sick leave.

    Employees are the backbone of businesses—and if you want yours to stand strong in 2023, you need a strategy in place to support them as they support you.

    Tip #5: Have a Plan B (and C…and Maybe Even D)

    As mentioned, in many ways, 2023 is one big question mark. So while you’re definitely going to want a strong strategy in place for the upcoming year (let’s call it plan A), you’re also going to want to prepare a plan B (or C…or even D) for if and when it’s necessary to pivot.

    Let’s say you’re planning to launch a new suite of services for spring 2023. Craft a strategy for a May launch—but also have a backup in place in case supply chain disruptions make a May launch unideal and you have to push things back to the fall (plan B) or into 2023 (plan C).

    Or maybe you’re hoping to expand into a new market by opening a new brick-and-mortar location of your retail store in a new city by the end of the year (plan A). Start by crafting a strategy to expand your market reach by EOY. Just don’t forget to brainstorm other ways to drive revenue in case that expansion doesn’t happen (plan B) or figure out how to gain exposure in your new market in the event that you have to push the opening back (plan C).

    Ideally, your plan A strategy will work out. But with so much in the air, having a plan B, C and even D ready to go—and being willing to pivot fast if necessary—will ensure that you’re prepared to succeed no matter how the year pans out.

    Make the Best of the Year Ahead

    Building a corporate strategy isn’t easy when there are so many unknowns. But with some hard work, proper planning, and a willingness to be open, flexible, and adaptable, you can craft the plan your business needs to succeed.

    It’s time to get out there, craft your strategy, and make sure your company is ready for whatever is next in 2023!

     

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    Deanna deBara

    Written by Deanna deBara, Freelance Contributor

    Posted on February 11, 2021