Five helpful ways businesses can navigate 2023

Five helpful ways businesses can navigate 2023

As a former small business owner, myself, I can relate to the challenging times we are in. We are amid the highest level of inflation in generations, facing increased operating costs, and changes in consumer behavior. It can be increasingly difficult to understand what direction to pivot into or how best to adapt. Regardless of the size of your business, the biggest questions are often the same: How can I maximize what’s working and minimize the pitfalls?

Below are the five helpful key points for your business to consider helping navigate this year:

1. Streamline and Automate workflows.

Given all the challenges we are currently facing, this is an ideal time to streamline your process. How can you make things more efficient and even simpler for your team? Is there a software that can digitize a manual process for increased productivity? Does the factory floor need to be laid out differently to enhance the flow of production? Are we spending too much time on a repetitive task? Improving processes could mean exploring was to automate your company. (And I don’t mean purchase a bunch of robots).

Streamline and Automate workflows.

2. Cut costs and expenses when and where you can.

This is obviously a given in tough economic times. You may be at a point that you need to downsize your office space, or get rid of products or services your not using. This can also be a time to cut operational costs related to time. If you can reduce the time you are taking to manually make pattern adjustment for example, can you increase time spent in other money-making areas? If you reduce the time it takes to make your product, can you increase your profit margins? You may also find that using alternative materials could produce new products, opening you up to different market segments.

3. Improve productivity.

Improve productivity

As I was saying above, the faster and more efficiently your able to work, the higher your profit margins are likely to be. Improving productivity also means being sure to pay attention to employee needs and involve them in idea creation around increased productivity. Perhaps they have used different technology at a previous position that could benefit your processes? Employees are often a well of ideas and want to see the business succeed as much as you do. During tough times, like inflation, employers and employees are in “it” together.

4. Analyze profit margins.

As your cutting costs and increasing productivity, it is important to examine your profit margins carefully. You want to try to increase these margins in the economy you’re facing today. That said, you want to make sure to continue to provide the level of service and quality your products are known for. You do not want to substitute your standard materials for cheaper materials now, to only try to go back to “normal” when times are better. You will not only loose existing customers to quality issues, the new customers that you may gain are likely to not want to pay for the “premium” (standard) material down the road.

5. Raise Prices very cautiously!

During times of inflation, you may need to increase prices to offset some of your costs. While this is often times less than ideal, it is a reality. If you have to increase your prices, do so slowly and gradually. Try and avoid harsh across the board increases. Are there products or services where our customers are less likely to notice a slight increase? No one likes to pay more for something they previously paid less for before. Try and be sympathetic to how the customer feels, while making the best decisions for your business.

6. Bonus Point: Get ready for new customers.

Bonus Point: Get ready for new customers.

You will always find that tough times call for creativity. Creativity leads to new ideas and new products. Use this time to find new ways to attract a different audience. You may find an untapped market when you reevaluate how you can offer your products to new customers.

Dan Snyder

Dan Snyder

Apparel Production Consultant