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Challenges for SMBs in 2023

Challenges for SMBs in 2023

As 2022 comes to a close, we reflect on the successes of the coming year and look forward to the new year and the promise it can bring.  At times, it can be difficult to look forward, acknowledge, and address those things that may pose significant challenges to your business.  Here are some challenges I see facing the market in 2023 and how we can begin to address them.  

Business Silos 

The Challenge:  Although an even larger concern for large business enterprises with many departments, small businesses can experience operations being siloed within the company.  Lack of communication between departments, and leaders of those departments, can cause issues.  

The Fix:  Look at how departments can collaborate more on projects or in overall business communications.  Sharing information and projects within a collaborative culture will improve team proficiency, improve workflow when overlaps or project handoffs occur, and build ownership of the business workings.   

Security 

The Challenge:  With the explosion of data being collected within businesses, the environment is ripe for cyber threats of all kinds!  Ransomware is becoming a common occurrence. Cybercriminals are craftier and more sophisticated than ever.  

The Fix:  Businesses need to be forward-thinking, anticipating these issues and evaluating their current cybersecurity for areas of vulnerability and to see what is needed to improve those areas.  Revisiting and improving backup and disaster recovery plans and processes is also critical to keep businesses up and running no matter what security issues may come their way.  

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Customer Experience 

The Challenge:  Customers today are looking for a positive and memorable experience, whether they come into a brick-and-mortar shop or shop online for a product or service.  Additionally, there is a focus on sustainability and how your services and products are good for the environment.  

The Fix:  First and foremost, know your customers and what they need.  Utilize customer satisfaction surveys in a meaningful way and truly listen to where their experiences are positive and what detracts.  Make their shopping experience easy and convenient, by providing options for payments, virtual spaces to try out the products, easy returns, etc.  Consider what you can do to add value to the customer experience.  Though it is harder to keep loyal customers these days, taking proactive steps to ensure that your customer will leave happy will go a long way in improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.   

Hiring and Keeping A-Team Players 

The Challenge:  We hear a lot in the media these days about the war for talent and mass resignations post-COVID-19 and in general.  However, everybody wants to have the best and the brightest workers, or A-Team players, on their roster.  So how do you get them, and more importantly keep them?  

The Fix:  A first step is the concept of “love the one you’re with”.  That is, provide support and training to your existing employees, reskilling, or upskilling, to give them the tools needed to become A-Team players if they aren’t quite there yet.  In today’s market, work environments must be flexible, accommodating, and attractive to the workers or they will continue looking or leave to go elsewhere.  Additionally, think about the ”perks” of working for your company and play up these features to attract the right workers to your specific company.  Provide tailored onboarding to new employees and have clear processes to support them in developing skills, additional training, and what is needed to help them succeed.  Plan for how to avoid or manage signs of burnout before your key players consider leaving.  Recognize and nurture your rising leaders and innovators. Of course, competitive salaries help as well!  

Recessionary Context 

The ChallengeEconomists have been talking about upturns and downturns and the possibility of a recession for a while now.  If you aren’t listening, you are missing the boat.  Supply chains are already experiencing backlogs, shipping issues, and labor shortages, all of which impact our ability to do “business as usual”. 

The Fix:  No matter what the size of your business is, you need to prepare for this possible, maybe even likely, scenario.  Resist the urge to compensate for these problems by overstocking inventory.  Anticipate difficulties getting products and increased prices.  Keep your focus on LONG TERM recovery strategies and anticipatory measures to help you stay ahead of the competition. Businesses must be resilient and plan strategically.  

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Changes in Tech 

The Challenge:  Changes in technology are happening quickly.  We now have things like the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and Predictive Analytics. People across the world are collaborating with cloud-computing environments and improved data storage methods.  Cybersecurity measures that once worked are becoming obsolete with things like Quantum computing   

The Fix:  As with the other challenges, be proactive.  The status quo is not enough in today’s fast-rising technology environment.  Try to stay up to date with all the new-fangled tech gizmos and gadgets that enhance productivity and address your business needs.  Learn about AI and Machine Learning and how they can contribute value to your current business practices.  And don’t be afraid to try something new, as old dogs can learn new tricks, especially if it means staying competitive in your market!   

Reach out to Klik Solutions for your managed IT, cybersecurity, cloud storage and computing, and data analytics needs.  We are here to help you as we kick off 2023.  

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