Small-business owners have been dealing with ever-changing regulations, cash flow shortfalls, and general economic uncertainty since the COVID-19 pandemic. Inflation, rising interest rates, and staffing shortages are just a few of the many challenges 2022 presented.
However, entrepreneurs remain optimistic and resilient about the year ahead. According to a Bank of America report, 66% of small business owners anticipate that their revenue will increase in the next 12 months, and 52% intend to expand their operations over the coming year.
What will 2023 bring to business owners?
NerdWallet’s small business writers share their predictions and advice for the new year.
1. Banks invest heavily in customer experience
Kelsey Sheehy – Online banks and neobanks will be offering better interest rates for checking and saving accounts, and other business-friendly features as they compete in a highly competitive market. Businesses should look for accounts that go beyond the standard deposit account to add value to their business.
You might be able to do more for your company by asking your bank. Look for business bank accounts that have lower fees and integrate tools (e.g. invoicing, accounting software). You might also consider a high-yield savings or checking account to help you earn interest on existing funds. Talk to providers to learn more about your options.
2. Inflation demands adaptability
Hillary Crawford: Business owners may need to think about ways they can increase efficiency and save money over time, in order to combat inflation. This could mean buying electric vehicles, reviewing shipping procedures and improving the energy efficiency of their buildings.
3. New employees are attracted to tailored benefits
Lisa Anthony: In 2023, the labor shortage will likely continue. Offering benefits like hybrid workplaces or other options that allow workers to be more flexible may give small-business owners an advantage when recruiting new talent.
Discover new and innovative perks that your business can offer, such as mentorship programs and growth opportunities.
4. The cost of borrowing remains high
Kelsey Sheehy – Business owners will need to find a way of balancing high interest rates and tight lending markets, which is likely to continue into 2023. In the next year, business credit cards will be highly in demand.
For the moment, borrowing costs will be expensive. You may be unable to obtain a traditional loan for your business, but you might consider other funding options such as business grants and credit cards that offer rewards.
5. Customer relationships are built on communication
Hillary Crawford: It will be vital for brick-and mortar shops, restaurants, and online businesses to engage with customers via social media, particularly in situations where they have to increase prices or change their hours. Consumers are also affected by inflation. Customers will be more likely to relate to businesses that are open about their struggles. They’re likely to be more understanding.
Communicate clearly and actively with customers to maintain your relationships even when there is uncertainty. Find the most effective communication channels, whether they be social media or other channels, and reach out to your customers wherever they are.
6. The cost of doing business is on the rise
Rosalie Murphy: Although small-business insurance prices have slowed in 2022, costs continue to rise fast according to The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers. Prices have risen most dramatically in property and cybersecurity insurance. Some insurance costs may continue to rise even though inflation slows as natural disasters and cyber security breaches become more common and more severe.
Lisa Anthony: Small-business software will cost more this year. Some providers might increase their prices while others may change the features available in their base plans. This makes it more likely that you will be able to upgrade to a cheaper plan to get the tools that you need. Businesses will need to compare the pricing and features of competitors in order to find the right services at a price that suits their budget.
It’s a great time to review your operating expenses at the beginning of each year. You can identify areas where you could save money or where a better product might work for you.
Murphy states that comparing quotes from different providers is the best way to save money for your business insurance. She suggests that if your insurance costs have risen significantly in the past year, you should set aside some time in 2023 for online quotes from other companies, or talk to your agent to find out if you can get lower coverage.