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Alykhan Jetha (AJ), an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member in Toronto, is the founder and CEO of Marketcircle Inc., developer of the award-winning Daylite CRM (customer relationship manager) and productivity app for Mac-based small businesses. Daylite empowers small business teams to handle more clients, close more deals, and execute more projects. We asked AJ what trends small business owners can embrace to excel in 2023. Here’s what he shared:

Since 2020, entrepreneurs and small business owners have faced unprecedented challenges, including the pandemic, a wildly fluctuating economic landscape, ever-changing work models, and quickly evolving technologies. If you feel anxiety about what to expect in 2023, you’re not alone.

Putting employees first, utilizing innovative technology to grow your business, and ensuring that team members have the best tools to excel will be keys to success. With that in mind, here are my thoughts on the top seven trends business owners can embrace to excel in 2023.

1. Offer employee incentives

Regardless of what Elon Musk says, consider embracing hybrid and remote work using tech tools to add flexibility. Adopt smart incentives such as a four-day workweek to increase productivity, and constantly strive to learn what your team members value most. Then, identify creative incentives you can offer without impacting your revenue growth.

2. Embrace collaboration with tech and cloud tools

With the rise of employee-centric work models, reliable collaboration tools have never been more critical. Every team member needs the right tools to help them thrive in both remote and in-person environments.

Use technology to centralize communications and processes. Top-rated productivity and collaboration CRM tools ensure that you and your team can collaborate efficiently and with transparency. These tools give employees a roadmap to success, enhancing performance and teamwork while keeping everyone in sync.

3. Counteract inflation concerns

According to the American Express Small Business Recovery Report, three out of four American small business owners say they have been negatively impacted by high inflation. Adopt creative strategies to help reduce expenses, such as:

• Maximize the tech tools you already have. Instead of buying new tech tools, fully utilize the ones you already own. Comprehensive business tools that streamline tasks, contact information, follow-ups, sales opportunities, and projects are ideal. Use CRM and productivity tech to keep day-to-day work organized and data easily accessible, making collaboration easier and more efficient.
• Reduce expenses by going remote. Hybrid and remote work are now the norm. Embrace it: With fewer people working in the office every day, you can relocate to a smaller space or go fully remote–saving money on rent, utilities, and insurance.

4. Ramp-up cybersecurity

Small businesses are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks because they often don’t have the resources or workforce to implement sophisticated cybersecurity systems. That’s unfortunate because ransomware fees demanded by attackers are exponentially more expensive than effective cybersecurity measures.

Invest in operating systems that are widely known for being fundamentally more secure, such as macOS, for example. Apple products are market leaders for multiple reasons; one is built-in antivirus and malware protection. Compared with Windows, the macOS offers better defense against attacks, even without other complementary security systems.

5. Prioritize sustainability

If you haven’t done so yet, it’s time to actively reduce your company’s carbon footprint. This can both save you money and engage clients and customers who prioritize environmental concerns. It’s easy to adopt some greener business processes:

• Send digital proposals and presentations. Paper is pass. When meeting clients, share the presentation digitally or showcase it on your tablet or laptop.
• Deploy digital contracts. Instead of paper contracts, move to digital so you will always have access to a legally valid digital copy of the contract.
• Go green. Implement green initiatives for the office: solar energy, recycling, and eco-friendly landscaping. Consider supporting environmental charities.

6. Capitalize on email's comeback

According to the Litmus Resource Center, email marketing has an impressive ROI of $36 for every $1 spent. The same report shows that email is also 40x more effective at getting your audience’s attention than mainstream social media platforms.

When planning your marketing strategies, don’t forget to include email marketing to enhance your digital performance and boost your online presence.

7. Create immersive customer experiences

Customer experience is a key factor in determining a client’s likelihood to close the deal, return to your website, or even recommend you to friends and family. Offering an immersive customer experience can include:

• Mixing traditional communication channels such as email and websites with in-person experiences like calls, live chat, or meetings.
• Leveraging the fast-growing metaverse and offering an elevated client experience in virtual environments.

This article was written by Entrepreneurs’ Organization from Inc. and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].