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February 16, 2023

How to position your business to thrive in 2023

As we begin 2023, we all hope to leave some disruptions behind us. Yet inflationary pressures, interest rates and a potential economic downturn are lingering — so are new forms of disruption.

We can predict one thing with certainty: for the foreseeable future disruption will be the new normal. Luckily, as a Maine business, there are things you can do to prepare to face these headwinds. 

Be a digital leader

Digital transformation will remain a strategic focus for companies. The enormous demand for new digital capabilities that was sparked by the pandemic is not going away, according to the Bank of America Digital Edge Report: 97% of enterprise decision-makers report they sped up digital transformation during the pandemic. Digital transformation will continue to be a top priority: 72% of CEOs surveyed say they have an aggressive digital investment strategy to secure first-mover or fast-follower status for their company, according to a recent KPMG report.

Courtesy / Bank of America
Sherwin Parkhurst is a senior relationship manager in global commercial banking at Bank of America.

But which emerging technologies will businesses need? A Bank of America Small Business Owner Report found that cybersecurity topped the list for more than half of the businesses surveyed, followed closely by 5G (50%), automation (39%), artificial intelligence (AI) (34%), cryptocurrency (26%), virtual/augmented reality (25%), the metaverse (20%) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) (16%). 

By 2025, digital natives – including Gen Z and millennials – are expected to comprise 75% of the workforce, according to a Citrix report. Digital natives have higher technology expectations as employees, and less tolerance for performing manual tasks that could be executed with technology. Automation will help keep employees satisfied and streamline and quicken business processes.

Prioritize the workforce

Terms like “The Great Resignation” and “quiet quitting” became labor market realities in 2022, forcing employers to pay closer attention to employee needs and expectations. These challenges are particularly acute in Maine, given the state’s chronically low and declining workforce participation, which falls below the national average.  

In 2023, Maine employers will need to continue to listen to their workers to understand their needs, and partner with them to find creative ways to get those needs met.  Some employers are already responding, by offering financial wellness support. And initial research is showing that it’s paying off. Nearly all (97%) of employers surveyed say they are in some way responsible for their employees’ financial wellness, according to a Bank of America Workplace Benefits report. More than eight in 10 said offering financial wellness support can result in more satisfied, loyal and engaged employees, resulting in greater productivity and performance. 

Build your resilience

Prepare for disruptions on the road ahead by increasing resilience across operations. You might consider freeing up cash as interest rates and inflation are expected to continue to go up, and strengthening working capital may become even more imperative. Focus on ways to reduce costs while also identifying new revenue streams to mitigate risk. Automate tasks where possible to improve operational efficiency. This is also a good time to review customer payment systems and payment data and consider any necessary upgrades. 

Despite recession fears, business owners appear confident they can survive an economic downturn. While 67% of women business owners are concerned a recession will impact their business over the next 12 months, 71% say their business is equipped to survive a recession, according to the Bank of America Women and Minority Business Owner Spotlight.

While digital leadership, workforce prioritization and business resilience development will be important for Maine business leaders in 2023, optimism, flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to explore new models will be just as vital. All these investments are not just tools to navigate this era; they’re opportunities to do business better on the road ahead.

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