5 Things To Do Now To Propel Your Business in 2023
January 11, 2023
By Tom Walker
Entrepreneurship is a daily leap of faith. In times of economic uncertainty, that leap may feel like a dive off a cliff. We are in one of those times.
With the right playbook, entrepreneurs can survive and thrive in whatever economic scenario. Here are five things you can do to propel your business ahead now and through the difficulties of business cycles for years to come.
Learn the lessons of more challenging times
A challenging economic climate offers a rare chance to make important business plan decisions. Analyze your product roadmap critically. Give top priority to features with the biggest margins that can be implemented in the upcoming 12 months. Reassign resources to projects that didn't make the list and push them out. Review the costing. Raw material and transportation prices are still significantly higher even as inflation slowly creeps back to its greatest levels in forty years.
Tighten your grip on cash
Venture capitalists are pulling back. In the third quarter, Crunchbase reported that funding for startups in U.S. and Canada fell 50% year-over-year. Valuations are down across the board. If you are fortunate enough to be a later-stage startup that benefited from VC largess in 2021, make your last raise last longer than intended.
Hold onto your dry powder and wait to start another round until the markets have stabilized. For early-stage businesses with less market validation and a longer time horizon before a potential exit, emphasize the fundamentals once more. Postpone all capital purchases. If at all possible, use the hybrid work style to cut down on office expenses like rent. Use Zoom or Google Meet to continue. The present is not the time to accrue travel expenses.
Talk to customers, in person. Now.
How have the business needs of your customers — whether paying or beta — changed over the last 18 months? Are there benefits to your solution that have more recognized value now?
For instance, almost all businesses, from established corporations to start-ups, have had to revisit the lessons of supply chain management. Startups who can give their clients access to artificial intelligence (AI)-based business decision support, cost savings via better inventory control, or out-of-stock protection from finding new, more regional sources of supply will have an advantage.
According to PitchBook, venture capitalists are showing greater interest in portfolio companies "whose satellite, robotics and software tools can do double duty" in military and commercial markets. International conflicts are one reason, of course.
Navigating the application process isn't for the faint of heart. A startup must be realistic about the work involved, but in many states, there are resources to help. Besides the funding, severe responses to agency requests for proposals are reviewed and evaluated by technologists. At a minimum, this can be terrific feedback and a great source of industry contacts.
Blue-chip cultures attract blue-chip talent
Company culture can be an asset or a liability. An inclusive, rich culture helps key hires say yes. Finding stakeholders that believe what you believe and are aligned with your team's values significantly improves the odds that they will stick with you in good times or bad.
After months of "great resignation" fever, the over-heated demand for talent may be cooling off.
Regardless, the search for great talent isn't a faucet that a young company turns off and on. A startup might modulate the timing or the number of hires but stand at the ready to recruit and filter for culture fit.