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Published 05 January 2023
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5 Top Tips to Help Your Business Succeed in 2023

Last year was tough for businesses, and 2023 may be even tougher. So how can you ensure your business performs as well as possible in the face of the new year’s litany of challenges? Below are 5 tips to help you succeed in 2023.

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From the UK energy crisis to the cost of living crisis, 2022 was a tough year for consumers and businesses alike. And, unfortunately, 2023 is set to be just as tricky, with the UK facing the ‘worst and longest recession’ out of the G7 nations, according to a poll of 101 economists for the Financial Times.

It is scary stuff. Yet in periods of hardship, savvy entrepreneurs can innovate and thrive. To find out how businesses can try to ensure a successful 12 months, we asked two business coaches for their top tips.

1. Avoid ‘Superman syndrome’

The first tip for business owners is to realise that you cannot do it all on your own. A lot of entrepreneurs have ‘Superman syndrome’ – the feeling that you have to cover every aspect of your business yourself. But that is the wrong approach, explains entrepreneur coach Jake Smolarek: “Delegation is the number one skill for entrepreneurs.”

Business and executive coach Phil Drinkwater agrees: “You need to give people the authority to go and solve problems themselves. We have excellent software for task management. The kinds of tools we have access to today can make a really, really big difference to both people’s productivity and their ownership.”

There is another pitfall to Superman syndrome that goes beyond avoiding delegation. “Entrepreneurship can be lonely,” Smolarek says. “When I work with entrepreneurs, very often they don’t have anyone to talk to.” By building a team you can trust, you will not only improve your business, but you may find there are potential mental health benefits as well.

2. Hire well

You may feel like your time is better spent elsewhere but hiring right will pay dividends. You can only delegate when you have the right team in place. And to do that, you need to design a hiring strategy that works.

“People hold themselves back when hiring. They might do a half-hour interview and make a decision based on that, and just ask about the task and not the person,” says Drinkwater. But that approach will result in just as many unsuccessful hires as successful ones, which is costly for any business.

So how can you avoid this happening? After the more traditional aspects of the process, such as an initial call, an in-depth interview, and a skills-based test, Drinkwater recommends inviting the candidate back to meet the team.

“You don’t want the person turning up and within two days deciding this was the wrong company for them. Let them talk to the team, let the team ask them questions, get to know each other a little bit. Interviewing is a two-way process – they are interviewing you as well.”

3. Know your clients

Getting your house in order is half the battle. But just as important is how you interact with your customers and clients.

“A lot of entrepreneurs and business owners make the massive mistake of thinking everyone is their client,” says Smolarek. “But if everyone is your client, then no one is your client.”

That’s a big problem when heading into a recession. “What tended to happen in the last recession was that people became very focused on the value they were getting,” explains Drinkwater. If you don’t know who your customers are, you are going to struggle to deliver the value they expect.

“Businesses in 2023 will need to be taking a more customer-focused approach. What value are you really delivering to that person?” Drinkwater continues. “People don’t canvas their customers regularly enough but that will become particularly important in 2023, as people become more focused on spending money on what really makes a difference to their lives.”

Getting this direct feedback from your customers will give you the best idea of what you need to change to maximise the value you provide, at a time when budgets remain squeezed across the country.

4. Don’t hold your business back

Success in 2023 may also involve you as a business owner doing some tough self-reflection. “We might not like this answer, but we are the ones that always hold ourselves back,” says Drinkwater.

According to Drinkwater, business owners often end up working within their weaknesses and not meeting their own needs as people, which leads to negative emotions and negative work outcomes.

“Understanding yourself, and having more awareness, can lead you to better decisions and calmer emotions. If, for example, you’re someone that isn’t very creative or doesn’t like creativity, but your business requires that, you need to start looking for other ways to make that happen,” he explains.

Have a think about which areas of your business you struggle with, or don’t enjoy, and how that might be holding your company back. Working out these weaknesses, and crucially taking the steps to address them, may well be the secret to growing your business in 2023.

5. Embrace making mistakes

While understanding yourself and your needs as a business owner may help you make fewer mistakes, just as important is how you deal with any mistakes you do make.

Smolarek encourages business owners to embrace making decisions faster, even if it leads to a mistake: “If you don’t make a decision because you are procrastinating, you are actually making the decision to procrastinate. A wrong decision gives you feedback. It’s the wrong F-word – not failure, but feedback.”

Embracing your mistakes means doing away with the idea of perfection. Instead, you should be striving for excellence. And as Smolarek says: “How can you be excellent at something? You make mistakes, you fail, and then suddenly you succeed. You only have to succeed that last time.”

Image source: Getty Images

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