When a panel of business owners and leaders who specialize in advising other business owners and leaders gets together to discuss planning for 2023, you pay attention.
Planning for the next calendar year is challenging in any year, but as 2023 starts to become a reality, there are many questions surfacing that require special consideration perhaps more this year than in years past. Will the country be in a recession, fighting a pandemic, on an economic upturn, battling for talent, or waiting for product?
And what about planning for the things you can control? What if a business owner is planning an exit in the next few years? Is it time to consider outsourcing key services due to labor shortages? Is it time to kick off that growth plan and grab market share through sales and marketing, or acquisition, or both? Will focusing on employee benefits increase retention? Do you have the right environment and accountability for your hybrid workforce? Is your banker truly your partner in these plans? Do you have a financial strategy to account for your goals and whatever plan B means in your business?
Panelists included expert advisors from the banking, finance, marketing, business brokerage, and benefits disciplines (listed below). Their advice spanned topics including supply chain, the economy, HR, marketing, cost control, and considerations for exiting a business – among many other timely planning topics.
To highlight a few of the takeaways from this session, we would be remiss if we didn’t begin with the supply chain issues facing many business owners since the 2020 pandemic. Panelists saw many of these supply chain issues smoothing out in the future, but noted that they’ve seen business owners tackle the topic head on in some creative ways. Offering to pay cash, pay in advance, or buy in greater bulk were options to get more attention from suppliers. Others saw creative ways business owners took advantage of supply chain shortages to expand their own business by investing in equipment to manufacture the materials and components they were sourcing from others.
On the topic of human resources and hiring challenges faced by many employers, the advisor panel focused on employee retention as a first step, building a resilient organizational culture that can keep both key employees and other staff happy during volatile labor markets. Key employees have the ability to not only keep the business functioning normally in turbulent times, but can actually accelerate growth. A combination of financial and non-financial reward systems can be applied to reward key employees, but stay focused on your long-term employee retention with any program you implement – bonuses are great, but employees sometimes collect bonuses immediately before departing. Instead, focus on systems that reward retention and tie greater financial reward to longer tenure.
Outsourcing was another topic of discussion that helped solve both labor and cost issues and helped provide a significant increase in capacity to those who take advantage of it.
What makes sense to outsource in today’s market? Anything you don’t have the time or expertise to do yourself. Outsourcing brings a wealth of expertise to your organization, with outsourced specialists who stay up to date on the best practices, latest laws and regulations, and algorithms that may be behind marketing tactics like search engine optimization or social media. HR, benefits, and marketing are areas business owners should consider outsourcing.
Business owners should also understand the value of their business – separate from your accounting statements. A thorough business valuation should be performed approximately every three years to help you understand where the value of your business stands, long before you decide to exit. You should begin working with a business broker and advisor 3-5 years before you plan to sell in order to maximize your business value and position your business for a successful sale. And despite what many business owners assume, you may not need to stay in the business for a year following the sale.
Finally, panelists were united in their advice to use your advisor partners as a strategic resource. Lean on your network of advisors to provide timely, expert advice for critical decision points in your business. It is important for business owners to have a strategic, advisory relationship with your banker and your financial advisors to help recommend potential solutions like funding sources and tools that will support your goals. Your HR and benefits advisors bring perspective on how to retain top talent, balance organizational culture with the strains of business growth, and control costs. Marketing partners can advise you on the best paths to business growth and can help you prioritize your marketing tactics in both turbulent and less-turbulent times.
For more information on planning for 2023, feel free to contact any of the leaders on the panel:
- Rich Cornell, Senior Consultant with RPS Benefits by Design. Learn from Rich how to bend the benefits cost curve while improving employee engagement.
- Katheigh Degen, Co-owner of Twin Financial. Benefit from Katheigh’s expertise in working with business owners to identify how to use the business to achieve their personal financial goals.
- Doug DeLisser, District Manager of Insperity. Doug’s insights and services will help you with your challenges related to human capital, risk and HR solutions.
- Mike DeMaio, Founder and Managing Director of Crown CFO. Identify opportunities for your business from Mike’s more than 20 years of varied experience and proven expertise guiding businesses with financial insight.
- Tricia Luedke, Vice President at Core Bank. Hear what can be done from a true concierge for everything businesses need, through Tricia’s very personalized community bank experience with expertise in business banking.
- Michele Markham, Owner of EAG Advertising & Marketing. From her experience running an agency that serves small businesses throughout Kansas City and beyond, Michele can speak to the marketing strategies and tactics for both B2B and B2C companies, along with the trends that could change everything.
- Valerie Vaughn, Certified Mergers & Acquisitions Professional with Apex Business Advisors. Planning to sell your business in the future? Find out what you don’t know from Valerie, who has been successfully consulting with business owners through the process of confidentially selling their business for the past decade.