Turn Uncertainty to Your Competitive Advantage

Top Challenges and the Solutions You Need to Succeed In 2023

By Meridith Elliott Powell

If the last few years have taught us nothing else, they have taught us that our lives, our businesses, our health – things can change in a moment’s notice. And every year, the pace of change seems to get faster, the challenges seem to get bigger and the marketplace becomes even more uncertain.

And as you might expect, 2023 will not disappoint. It promises to be another one of those interesting years. Rising interest rates, global inflation and supply chain issues are raising the level of uncertainty and complicating the challenges you face in growing a business, leading a team and meeting customer expectations.

Yet even with the rise in unpredictability and the increase in obstacles, there is every reason to believe that 2023 can be your best year on record. But a new year with a new set of challenges calls for a new approach.

So what can you expect in 2023? Well, read on for my top list of challenges you’ll face in 2023, the innovative solutions you’ll need to turn every obstacle into an opportunity and how exactly to turn uncertainty into your greatest competitive advantage.

Top Challenges for 2023

1. Inflation and Economic Downturn. Face it: no one knows exactly what 2023 will hold from an economic standpoint. But experts are telling us to brace for rising inflation and a global slowdown.

2. Supply Chain. According to Supply Chain Management News, the supply chain challenge will continue to plague us well into 2023. Global political unrest is the main factor business leaders cite (more than 58%) causing current supply chain issues. Other factors that are cited include a lack of raw materials (44%) and rising fuel and energy costs (40%).

3. Customer Expectations. Customers will continue to control the buying cycle well into 2023, and this will put pressure on everything from your ability to get decision-makers to your power to retain and stay out of the price war.

4. Speed of Artificial Intelligence. The speed of technology and the advancements in the customer experience will increase the need for companies to seamlessly integrate how their human capital and technology work together.

5. War for Talent. Between declining population growth, immigration issues and boomers leaving the workforce, finding talent and developing leaders is sure to be a concern keeping the CSuite up at night.

6. Cyber Security. You only have to turn on the news to see that cyberattacks are on the rise. Protecting your data, your customers and your privacy will continue to be a high priority in 2023.

7. Managing Change. Last but not least, the pace of change is not slowing down. The ability to anticipate, prepare and get motivated by change will be the mark of a great leader for 2023. Now while those challenges can seem overwhelming, rest assured there are steps you can take now to not only prepare for these challenges but position your company to actually take advantage of these shifts in the marketplace.

Read on for the top eight strategies you need to minimize challenges and turn uncertainty to competitive advantage in 2023.

1. Embrace the Suck. Leaders don’t typically celebrate inflation and global economic uncertainty. But ignoring what’s coming or choosing not to participate will not make it go away, so instead, embrace it. Accept that the marketplace is shifting. Put your time and energy into how to use the shifts in the marketplace to adjust your strategy and capitalize on the change.

2. Increase Activity. A challenging marketplace will slow down the decision-making process for customers and make them more cautious about pricing and purchases. Fortunately, this does not mean you can’t have your best sales year ever, but it does mean you need to increase your activity. Double the amount of sales calls and follow-up calls you made from last year. With more moving through the pipeline, you will be selling from a place of power versus need.

3. Solve the Right Problem. With a new year comes a new set of challenges and opportunities for your customers. Although you may be selling the same products and services you sold in 2022, the problems you are solving are different. Growth happens in a challenging economy for those companies who understand the current problems their customers are facing and position their products to solve their clients’ most urgent needs.

4. Build Your Pipeline. Your talent pipeline, that is. No longer is finding the right employees a reactive sport. You need to get out in front of it. Every strategy you use to attract prospects, retain customers and expand your sales relationships is the same strategy you need to apply to finding the right talent going forward. Build a pipeline, nurture the relationship, and hold tight to the talent you attract.

5. Change the Sales Cycle. The supply chain issue will likely take years to solve. The need to integrate technology, simplify the process and bring more of it back into company control is a complex challenge. Until then, leaders need to face this problem head-on by changing the sales cycle, prioritizing loyal customers and proactively managing customer expectations.

6. Redesign the Customer Experience. Shifting technology and an increase in customer demand will drive your need to rethink how you serve customers. Your success will be determined by how you integrate customers’ desire for technology-fueled self-service with their need to have their complex problems solved. A deeper understanding of the desired customer experience will dictate the best technology for investment.

7. Prepare and Protect. At this point, a cyberattack is probably inevitable. Embrace the suck, right? So your best defense is to prepare and protect. First, get a cyber audit – call in the experts to ensure your firewalls, security measures and privacy protections are state-of-the-art. Next, train your employees, and invest in helping them understand what to look for and what to suspect. Lastly, elevate cybersecurity to a C-Suite level position. Make cybersecurity a top-priority topic discussed in high-level meetings and owned by the top leaders in your organization.

8. Turn Uncertainty to Competitive Advantage. Left unaddressed, uncertainty will produce one emotion in your company – FEAR. That one emotion will shut down the very strategies you need to succeed – innovation, engagement, motivation. Reduction in those three areas will reduce your bottom-line results. So you need a plan, you need a strategy, and luckily you’ll gain one just by attending this year’s MHEDA Convention and my session on how to turn uncertainty to competitive advantage!

So yes, 2023 promises to be another interesting year. But again, it does not mean it won’t be your best year on record. You just need to understand the shifts, embrace the challenges and follow the strategy we’ll share with you at the MHEDA Convention!