The 6 biggest business challenges of 2023 (and how to survive them)

It is already very evident that the year 2023 will not go any easier on company owners and HR specialists than 2022 did. Several obstacles can be expected, some are more unavoidable than others, but here’s the key: they can be expected. When you have an idea of what you might be up against, you can take the necessary precautions. Let’s take a look at the most expected challenges and some tips on how to survive them!

1. Inflation & economic challenges

Addressing the elephant in the room: it is near impossible to avoid the plethora of headlines and reports talking about the skyrocketing inflation. In its World Economic Outlook published in October, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) cited rising risks of financial instability and recession, warning that the “worst is yet to come”. Businesses are advised to prepare for stagnating and shrinking economies worldwide. 

💡 How to survive it?

It’s time to pay extra attention to your budget: as inflation rises, businesses can prepare themselves by improving operational transparency into every aspect of spending across every department, function, and cost center. Continuously measuring results is key in deciding where cutting costs might be necessary. While we at Blue Colibri have reason to be optimistic about our financial and business future, we have also reviewed the plan and are planning for the coming years assuming the worst-case scenario.

2. The acceleration of digital transformation

Machine learning, metaverse, NFTs, 5G, AI, blockchain: it’s been a challenge on its own to keep up with all the buzzwords and technological advancements of recent years. In addition to brand new developments popping up seemingly every other week, the rate of progression is astounding, and not even during the pandemic did it show signs of slowing down. Companies risk falling behind their competitors if they don't keep up. To prepare for a future in which humans regularly work alongside these technologies, businesses must rethink their current methods of operation.

💡 How to survive it?

At this point, it's obvious that going digital is our best option. By transforming outdated communication methods and administration processes, we are already able to increase the speed and efficiency of our day-to-day operations. And even though, as mentioned above, it's true that businesses need to keep an eye on their finances, investing in digitalization can give them a significant leg up on the competition. 

Platforms like the Blue Colibri App offer comprehensive digital solutions in internal communication, training, administration, and even employee engagement. Here are some examples and case studies of how this could benefit any organization:

3. Increasing data security threats

As a result of digital transformation, data security threats are expected to increase as well. The more digital a company is, the more data it will have, making it a prime target for cybercriminals who could use this information to blackmail the business for ransom.

💡 How to survive it?

First and foremost, businesses need to check the security features of the digital solutions and tools they intend to implement. This factor should be at the top of your list of considerations when making such a decision. It's also preferable to use tools that collect as little personal information as possible. One feature of the Blue Colibri App that our partners really like is that it doesn't require any kind of contact information like email accounts or phone numbers to get started.

4. Qualified talent shortage

The requirements of employees regarding their workplace environment have changed drastically during the pandemic, and many people have reevaluated their jobs, leading to mass resignations—a challenge companies have already had to face in 2022. In order to compete for top talent in today's market, businesses must provide a modern workplace with features like remote work options, adaptive scheduling, authentic leadership, a welcoming culture of diversity, etc.

 In 2023, however, a new issue is expected to emerge as a result of the aforementioned technological developments: a shortage of workers with the appropriate digital skills across all industries. As opposed to implementation difficulties, high costs, or security concerns, a lack of talent is the primary obstacle to widespread use of new technologies.

💡 How to survive it?

Companies need to be able to equip their employees with the appropriate knowledge and abilities to better support their digitization strategies. We’ve even found that 94% of employees would stay with a company longer if it invested in their training, and 70% would consider leaving their current job for one that invests in employee development. 

New and innovative training programs are crucial in talent retention (here are our detailed insights on the topic), so that businesses are able to recruit and educate employees who are interested in advancing their careers, both from within and outside the company.

5. The demand for more immersive experiences

Providing customers with memorable and engaging experiences is becoming increasingly important when they are deciding where to return. This is another result of technological progress. Take online clothing stores as an example: customers can now virtually try on items using extended reality technology without leaving the house. In 2023, it won't be enough to simply provide products or services; businesses will also need to provide significant value to customers through their interactions with those products or services.

 💡 How to survive it?

Of course, you don't have to drop cash on VR software and hardware just to enhance the customer experience. For instance, putting in the effort to create a website that is both useful and easy to navigate can yield excellent results. 

At Blue Colibri we decided to rebuild our website from scratch in order to fully prioritize the user experience and to provide real content value to our visitors. Building a new wireframe, design, and producing a steady stream of new, useful content was time-consuming, but the results were well worth it, as evidenced by the positive responses we received from our partners.

6. Higher expectations for sustainability

In light of the growing threat that climate change poses to businesses around the world, consumers are demanding eco-friendlier products and services as well as greater transparency in sustainability practices. By 2023, businesses will have no choice but to take full accountability for their impact on the environment and their use of resources.

 💡 How to survive it?

Taking concrete steps to improve your company's sustainability can help you meet the demands of your clients and identify cost-cutting opportunities that will boost your operations as well. A good first step is conducting a comprehensive audit of your supply chains and looking at your operations as a whole. From switching to renewable energy to supporting remote work in order to lower emissions, businesses have a lot of options.

Going paperless is a great example of this. With paper-based administration, businesses not only have to pay for printing and paper, but also for safe storage and a plethora of other office supplies. Moreover, paper-centric processes slow down contracting, administration, and generate a lot of waste. And while we already mentioned the challenges of data security above, surprisingly enough, paper is involved in 23% of major data breaches and 61% of smaller breaches, according to Data Breach Today. All the information recorded on paper can easily be lost or destroyed through carelessness with the labels, as well as through theft, tampering, or incorrect delivery. 

Digital administration solutions include safeguards and protections that paper records lack. Electronic records are more resilient than paper ones because they can be easily archived, backed up, encrypted, filed, and stored safely. 

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