5 Steps to Jump-Start Small Business Growth in 2023

By MBO Partners | December 13, 2022

Independent business owner planning for growth

Key Points

The relatively quiet days at the end of the year can be a good time to plan your business in 2023.

Conduct a one-person "offsite" with these five agenda items help start strong for a great year.

The outcome will be a clear roadmap to help achieve the growth you want over the next 12 months.

The end of 2022 is steadily approaching. Soon we will be in January with post-holiday activities revving up across the business world.

Planning for the future is an important part of business management, but it’s a task that can often get pushed to the end of the list as an “I’ll do it later” item. Welcome to “later.” The relatively quiet days after December 24th and before January 2nd can be a good time to have a strategy meeting—perhaps even an offsite—with yourself to decide how you will do business in 2023. Putting these five items in your meeting agenda can help you start strong for a great year.

1.  Characterize Your Market and Competition

Look outside before you look inside. It’s not possible to do too much research into your market and competition. At the same time, it can be hard to find the time throughout the year to do more than just look at the surface. Take the time now to let your fingers travel through the internet to get as clear a picture as possible of the market you serve. MBO research like the Contingent Labor Report and Digital Nomads Report can help gain insights. Then consider the other independent professionals and small businesses that serve that market. What you learn here will serve as a context for the rest of your agenda.

2.  Know Where You Are Right Now

Review your business records, including elements like income, expenses, and contracts. Consider your marketing activities throughout the year. Were there big wins? Big losses? Anything unexpected? Give yourself a performance review. Do a SWOT analysis (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats) for your business. Using this and any other relevant information, characterize (preferably in writing) the state of your company today.

3.  Decide Where You Want to Be in a Year

Put another way, create your goals for the year. What would success look like in a year? Though financial goals are certainly part of the picture, expand your thinking. Do you want to achieve a workstyle change, such as becoming a digital nomad?  What will be the type and quality of your clients? Consider what services you will add to your business, the new skills you will acquire, and even the amount of time you will work.

4.  Identify What Can Get You There

Brainstorm the strategies and tactics that can accomplish those goals.  Make a list of everything you think of. Here are some examples:

With your market research, current business state, and goals in mind, apply a prioritizing exercise to the list. Which items are most in line with these parameters? Which are good but not as important? Which would be nice but not necessary? One way to do this is to assign a letter from highest (A) to lowest (C) priority, another is to put all the items in the list in numerical order, with 1 being the most important. However you do it, you will end up with a clear view of what you need to focus on in 2023 to get where you want to be.

5.  Review (Revise) Your Marketing Strategies

With the external and internal insights you’ve gained so far from your one-person offsite, evaluate your marketing strategies. Remember that in our ever-changing digital and economic environment, what has worked in the past may not be as effective going forward. For example, with the ever-increasing population of independent professionals available to your current and prospective clients, you may need to include more offline marketing (e.g., phone conversations, in-person meetings) to create more successful relationships than you have in the past. Consider offering your services to local charities. You may need to form or be part of another team of independents with different skill sets to go after bigger opportunities. Do your resume and related business biographies need to be updated? Keep the strategies that worked and are still relevant to your current market, stop the ones that don’t fit, and add new ones that align with your 2023 picture.

The outcome of these five steps will be a clear roadmap that can help clarify your business as it is now and what actions are needed (starting January 2nd) to achieve the growth you want to see over the next 12 months.

Here’s to big growth for you in 2023!

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