‘Cautiously optimistic’ – Businesses face 2023

Virtual CFO Parramatta.

‘Cautiously optimistic’ – Businesses face 2023

The results of the most recent Business Leaders Outlook survey, undertaken by JP Morgan, are in. And it’s fair to say that they’re a realistic representation of what’s going on in the small business sector right now.

We’ll get into the stats in a minute. But it’s important that we focus on the overall sentiment – Australian businesses are ‘cautiously optimistic’ as we start 2023.

By Michael Mekhitarian

Did someone say Recession?

Ok, so according to the results, about half of Australian business leaders (46%) are expecting a recession this year.

This number is significantly lower than it is in other countries – in the United Kingdom 69% of business leaders are expecting a recession, and in the US, the percentage is 56%.

Of course, we are all connected in the Global economy, so whatever happens overseas will undoubtedly have an impact in Australia.

The good news though, is that although our financial system is full of red tape (ask anyone who has wanted to refinance or borrow this year!), it is incredibly robust, and it does ultimately hold us in good stead in times of economic uncertainty.

We know this for sure – Australia recovered steadily, but strongly from the GFC, which was certainly not the experience of many other countries.

When nothing is certain anything is possible

As we head into the new year, yes, costs (especially insurance and energy) are still rising, supply chains are still unpredictable,  the employment market can be problematic and there are inflationary challenges along with an increasingly onerous tax and  legislative framework

But the good news is that we were dealing with all these issues in 2022, so now we’re better prepared.

It’s at times like this that small and medium sized businesses must really tap into their strengths – the ability to be flexible and nimble.

For example, if life is giving you lemons, squeeze them over some fresh, cold Sydney Rock Oysters, and get your key people together for some strategizing!

The pathway forward since Covid has been uncertain. And, as all the coaching gurus say, when nothing is certain, anything is possible!

Traditional business structures are changing, and while it’s smart to be cautious, this is the perfect opportunity to re-think all aspects of your business.

Innovate ... and stay flexible

That doesn’t mean you have to change everything. Make smart moves –  think strategically, but don’t lock yourself into too much for the long term – make sure you have room to pivot if need be.

It’s the perfect time to engage a ‘think tank team’ made up of key people within your business, or an advisory board, or to engage a business mentor.

Working in the business and working on the business often require different skill sets, and it’s always valuable to get a different view. Particularly now, with numerous challenges ahead, a fresh perspective… different knowledge…new thinking … can be really valuable.

It’s a great time to read (or revisit) the book by Jeffrey K. Liker “The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer.”

There’s a lot online about the set of principles which define the Toyota culture – the most significant of which are respect for people and continuous improvement.

There’s also significant research that’s been done since the book was published to explore how to apply the principles to other contexts, and other industries. It’s full of ideas and it will definitely kick-start your thinking.

If we can help, we’d love to.

Contact us for a chat.

The skill set in our team is expansive and we want to see you thrive.


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