Top Trends for 2023

The way we do business is constantly changing. Here are some of the latest ways.

Keith Twitchell spent 16 years running his own business before becoming president of the Committee for a Better New Orleans. He has observed, supported and participated in entrepreneurial ventures at the street, neighborhood, nonprofit, micro- and macro-business levels.


Of the many demands on entrepreneurs, one of the more challenging is keeping up with the latest — and anticipated — business trends. It can be hard to see the big, future picture when managing the day-to-day requires so much attention.

To help a bit, here is a quick look at some of those trends. Some are obvious and ongoing, but still require creative management; some may be less apparent but could be equally impactful.

WORKING FROM HOME If they’re in a field where it’s possible, a large majority of employees now want to work from home at least part of the time. Business owners must figure out how to accommodate this while maintaining productivity and accountability. Setting specific performance targets, tasks and timelines is essential (and doing this with employee input adds buy-in and accountability). Hybrid situations seem to be working out better than pure stay-at-home. Regular communication and check-ins are also vital.

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THE WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT Related to the above, if you want employees to spend more time at the workplace, it needs to be an appealing place. This starts with the physical space; comfort, light, a little elbow room are all appreciated. You can even think about making your workplace feel a little more like home.

Possibly even more important is assuring a quality employee experience. Support, creative opportunities, building a team environment, actively seeking employee input, allowing room for personal and professional growth — today’s workforce wants all of this. This can even go as far as supporting causes and volunteer opportunities that are meaningful to your staff.

ECO-FRIENDLINESS MATTERS Both employees and customers value things like workplace recycling and energy conservation efforts, which can also reduce expenses and even create marketing opportunities.

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TECHNOLOGY This is the ultimate moving target, but some specific aspects of it require extra attention from business owners. One of these is apps: Is your business using them? If not, can it do so? Are you optimizing everything from user-friendliness to selling options? Another tech arena that entrepreneurs will soon be forced to confront is cryptocurrency. With everything from food trucks to foreign countries now accepting it, business owners need to stay current with information and best practices. The day may come when some employees will want to be paid in crypto.

Then there is social media. With the landscape changing faster than you can say “Elon Musk goes to Mars,” social media is one business need that may be worth either outsourcing or dedicating staff to, no matter your own level of expertise. In one trend some observers foresee, email may regain stature as a marketing tool. Unlike the public platforms, you can control and target your email campaigns almost completely, without exposing yourself to trolls and other online negativity.

REPEAT BUSINESS As consumer options, and the ease of access to them abound, holding onto existing customers becomes paramount. Frequent user rewards and even subscription services continue to gain popularity. Through these programs you can offer discounts, exclusive product access, special services and more. The concept of leasing equipment — and then servicing it — instead of selling it is taking hold in a growing number of fields. Tie-ins, add-ons, and collaborations with other businesses can also be value-added methods for maintaining customer loyalty.

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As always, great customer service remains the baseline for ensuring repeat business.

 


 

Keith Twitchell’s blog, “Neighborhood Biz,” appears every Thursday at BizNewOrleans.com.

 

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