PGP Advisory certainly hopes you had a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year. As we enter into 2023, here are some of the challenges we anticipate and our strategic advice on how to combat and prepare for what may be a rocky and windy road ahead.
How to Prepare for Business Challenges in 2023
Reflecting on 2022
Business owners have faced huge challenges and undergone an incredible amount of change over the past few years, and this won’t slow down in 2023. Businesses will have to deal with the aftereffects of the global pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, economic challenges, as well as an ever-faster development of technologies.PGP Advisory has several years experience of ongoing change and evolution of the industry. Below are key challenges to watch out for in the new year and insights into how business owners can prepare for obstacles they may face in 2023.The Looming Recession
As a recession for 2023 is likely probable, entrepreneurs will need to begin preparing their businesses now for the challenges ahead. Sales could slump, budgets could tighten, and securing capital could become a lot harder. Entrepreneurs will need to adjust their expectations from the big venture deals of the past decade.
How to Respond: PGP Advisory highly suggests meeting with your accountant. Now, is the time to audit your books and ensure you have the cash reserves to weather the bad times. Accounting can be an afterthought for new founders, PGP Advisory recommends hiring a third party to audit your books. Business owners should also consider auditing their processes too. When a company is in a high-growth stage, it might adopt ad-hoc systems that are fine for the moment but will need to be revamped in slower months to be sustainable and efficient.
Downturns in Sales
Business owners will likely continue to deal with price adjustments well into 2023. Inflation and interest rates often indicate how willing people are to spend. Consumers are shifting their focus to items they deem essential and highly valuable.
How to Respond: Business owners should consider adapting their business model or figure out the right pricing structure so they can continue to survive. This is a great opportunity to connect with customers to understand their needs. Perhaps there are new avenues for sales opportunities to explore.
Employee Retention, Engagement and Productivity
We’ve been hearing about the “War for Talent” for years, but now it feels like the war is deepening. Companies across industries are facing massive gaps for vital future skills, and they will need to re-skill or up-skill massive sections of their workforce to get ready for the 4th industrial revolution. On top of that, the pandemic has made many people reevaluate their jobs, leading to mass resignations in many sectors.
How to Respond: Create clear channels where employees can raise concerns and health issues. Stay up to date with emerging issues. Perhaps your business can allow flexible working hours to allow employees to attend to personal issues. Encourage employees to keep strict working hours to avoid the common burnout issue. Find out what you can provide for employee mental health support. Additionally, taking steps like hiring people straight out of school, employing low-code or no-code software for critical needs, and instilling cultures of continuous learning.
Accelerated Digital Transformation
Artificial intelligence (AI) is already starting to augment all of our businesses, and that trend will continue to accelerate next year. This is rapidly creating a world of ever-faster technological developments.
How to Respond: Every business must think of itself as a tech business. Companies need to re-design their processes and ensure their people have the skills needed for a world where we increasingly collaborate with and work alongside capable and intelligent machines.
Summary – Stay Flexible
It’s important to keep in mind that there will always be unexpected disruptions in our lives. Businesses should plan for these disruptions and make sure everyone knows how to respond when things go wrong. These unprecedented challenges provide opportunities to stay flexible in the months ahead. The most successful businesses, will be those that adapt quickly.
What to Expect When You’re Ready To Sell
There are several reasons small business owners decide to sell their companies — they want to move to another city or state, sales are down, they’re looking for a new challenge or it’s time to retire.
The prospect of selling your business can feel overwhelming, and you want to receive a fair price for the assets you’ve worked so hard to create. To make the process as easy and profitable as possible, you’ll want to start planning early. Whatever the reason, once you decide to sell, you can’t just hang up a “for sale” sign and wait for the offers to come rolling in. Selling for the right price takes time and preparation.
What’s Your Goal in Selling?
Owners often focus primarily on the question “How much can I get for my business?” However, the first question an owner needs to be prepared to answer is, “What results do I want to get from this transaction?” Business owners will typically focus on what they think their business is worth or how much a peer recently sold their business for, even if that business was in a different industry.
PGP Advisory suggests focusing on the owner’s personal needs and goals. For example, consider these questions:
- Do you want to transition the company to the next generation of your family or to employees?
- Is your goal to find a willing buyer in the open market and maximize the sale price?
- Do you plan to retire and live off of the proceeds from the sale for the rest of your life?
- Are you looking to invest some of your equity with the buyer and work with/for the next owner?
- Are you looking to reinvest in a different opportunity?
- What other goals do you have (e.g., paying for college educations, contributing planned amounts to charity)?
Understanding the Realistic Timeline is Essential
In an ideal situation, the questions above would be asked and answered several years before the owner wants to take their business to market. This timeframe would allow for appropriate estate and investment planning. Plus, having a longer timeframe allows owners and their advisors to consider what actions can be taken to increase the value of the company before going to market and leaves ample time for implementation.
Having time on your side can really pay off when selling a business. Whether you’re ready to retire or simply want to move on to a new venture, it’s imperative to keep in mind, that the completion of a sale can take well over a year, so keep that in mind as you plan your exit strategy.
At PGP Advisory, we explain to our clients that it’s reasonable to prepare for this to be a 2-year process, roughly from the time you decide to sell, all the way to the completion of the sale. Wrapping your head around this realistic time frame is a necessary first step. This critical preparation will help you to improve your financial records, business structure, and customer base to make the business more profitable. These improvements will also ease the transition for the buyer and keep the business running smoothly.
Selling a business requires an enormous amount of planning. As you begin the process, it’s important to focus on the step you’re in and the long-term objective. Otherwise, you may end up making short-term decisions that go against your ultimate plan.
Knowing what you want/need as a result of the sale and understanding the realistic selling timeframe, will set you up as much as possible for a smooth and successful transaction.
In our next segment, PGP Advisory will walk you through the first steps owners will want to take to begin the selling process from an advisor perspective, including helping you construct your transition team.Read More