If the last three years have taught SMEs anything, it’s to be ready and prepared for everything. From inflation, to sizable supply chain interruptions and a new way of working, 2022 brought plenty of changes we didn’t see coming. So, what lies ahead for 2023?

The good news for SMEs is that the market remains optimistic, i.e., online sales and consumer expenditure is expected to increase steadily in the new year, something that has been reinforced by the latest e-commerce data, with Australian online sales estimated to have grown 8.4 per cent in 2022 (after a 24 per cent growth the previous year).

However, supply chain pressures are expected to keep driving up costs and creating instability in availability, and price. The key here is to have full transparency around what your supply chain looks like, and having plenty of leeway for the unexpected (or expected) hiccups.

The big issues for business owners heading into 2023

1. Finding and keeping skilled workers

First, immigration was driven to a standstill, thanks to the pandemic. Then there was the “great resignation”, as workers reassessed their career goals and moved overseas. At the time of writing, unemployment and underemployment in Australia is at its lowest, since 1982 – all of which make it harder for SMEs to find and retain skilled staff. But there are some indications that this might start to change in 2023.

With borders now open, and a large cohort of skilled workers in the tech industry having been laid off by multinationals in the last three months, 2023 could be the year for SMEs to acquire highly skilled employees. It’s also no secret that workers are looking for more flexibility – both in terms of working hours and where they work (remote working). Businesses that offer a more balanced and trusting approach to their employees are likely to win out in the long run.

2. Keep up-to-date with technology and cyber security

For decades, advancements in technology have been rumbling along at a bellowing pace, and since the pandemic, this trend has only sped up. Innovation is every SME’s friend, and if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you must ensure your technology is not only up-to-date but also has the potential to grow (scale) alongside your business.

With the rapid expansion of the online world, comes a greater risk of cyberattack. The latest report from data leak detection service, Surfshark, states that Australia is the worst country in the world for data breaches, with an estimated 22 accounts being hacked every minute, on average.

In 2023, it’s likely cyber-attacks will continue, so make sure you protect your business, the details of your customers and vendors by investing in first-class security measures.

What are the trends to watch out for?

  • Mental health challenges

The past few years have taken their toll. Businesses are now expected to take care of their employees’ physical and mental health. Make sure your business offers mental health support, and regularly checks in with employees – a healthy workplace goes a long way to improving mental health overall, and ultimately affect the bottom line.

  • More COVID waves

We all want it to be over, but COVID looks like it’s here to stay. It’s in your best interest to have a good plan to accommodate absences when new COVID waves arrive, and to limit further spread where possible.

  • Cyber security heartache

We’ve already spoken about how vulnerable Australia is to cyberattacks, and unfortunately, this trend is likely to continue. Creating first-class security options now, even simple things like two-factor authentication, may save a lot of heartache later.

How can businesses minimise any negative effects and make 2023, their best year yet?

In short, planning for the worst and hoping for the best will serve you well in the year ahead. Plan for interruptions with both staffing and supply, plan for interest rates to rise and cost of living to continue to put pressure on your potential customers.

Remember, if you find yourself in need of fast cash, have a backup plan in place. Bizcap offers small business loans of between $5k and $2m, deposited into your account in as little as three hours.

If you need help accessing capital quickly, call 1300 922 223 or alternatively, apply online via our simple application form.