My Column

2023 Business will have a ball

  • Date: Monday 2nd January 2023
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We’ve made it to 2023 after a real whirlwind of a year.

Many people are now back in the office, and businesses appear to be on the road to recovery after a testing year.

So, what will this year bring?

While I don’t have a crystal ball, it’s evident there’s a massive support effort underway after the turbulence of last year.

Behind the scenes, plans have been put in place to limit energy bill rises for those businesses impacted most, so I hope that starts to ease the pressure for them.

I also think we’ll also see more investment in people and a wavey of new marketing initiatives to help attract new talent, as this is going to be key to helping businesses truly flourish.

I’d really like to see the hospitality sector have a better year this year.  It has arguably faced more challenges than most and I hope it turns a corner.

Campaigns like Hospitality Rising, which kicked off last year in a bid to entice new talent, will undoubtedly play a part in this.  It has already attracted more than 20,000 applications since it launched its jobs board at the end of October so it’s already making a difference.

It’s important to have campaigns like this, which not only shout about vacancies but go the extra mile to showcase the career progression opportunities. That’s how to entice people into your industry and get them excited about their future.

When it comes to consumer spending, I think attitudes have changed. I believe people would now rather spend their money on experiences, rather than items, to create memories after being cooped up for so many months during Covid.

This coming year will be a huge part of that journey, and I anticipate that experiential events and travel will do a roaring trade.

According to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, (EIU) global tourism arrivals will increase by 30 per cent in 2023, following growth of 60 per cent in 2022.

Watch this space for the rollout of clever tourism industry marketing campaigns to maximise this anticipated demand.

VisitScotland has already announced plans to launch an in-person event for tourism operators next year, offering a platform to connect with key buyers from around the globe to help attract visitors and rebuild the valuable industry.

Networking events will also be crucial this year. Their popularity dwindled even after the lifting of restrictions but they’re popping back up again and they’re such a useful tool for business development.

 

Technology will also continue to take centre as more businesses than ever recognise that they must embrace digital advances in order to thrive. It’s enabling companies up and down the country to connect with colleagues and customers across the world.

It’s no wonder this is an industry that employs more than 100,000 people across the country.

According to research firm Beahurst, there are more than 850 high-growth tech businesses in Scotland, with 38 per cent of those headquartered in Edinburgh. Combined, these start-ups raised £454m in 2021, and £312m in the first half of 2022, so the future looks bright this year.

Supporting Scotland’s tech growth is a network of incubators, accelerators, angel investor networks and specialist hubs. In fact, investments made by business angel syndicate Archangels have generated an estimated £1.4bn for the Scottish economy in the tech and life science fields.

But while a lot of businesses have been focusing on e-commerce offerings as opposed to old-fashioned bricks and mortar within the last few years, I reckon 2023 could be the year that there’s a resurgence for the high street.

Family-owned luxury jewellers, Laings, recently announced it would be committing £10m to enhancing and expanding its physical presence in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Southampton and Cardiff, creating local jobs in the process.

I’d love to see more physical shops make a comeback, and it’s now become ever more possible thanks to the announcement of a freeze in business rates.

One thing is sure, putting people first and investing in yourself is the vibe for 2023. So long as we combine entrepreneurial spirit with positivity, I’m convinced that the future will be bright for business in Scotland.

 

SIDE

With my predictions for the year set, I wanted to share my New Year business tips which might come in handy if you too are an entrepreneur. 

I’ve mentioned the business rates freeze which will help and protect many from the full impact of inflation, but should also mention that it doesn’t come into force until April.

It’s essential that you keep on top of developments like this, so you’re well informed on the changes that are likely to affect your business. Stay in the know!

Also, make sure that you’re taking full advantage of any benefits of support that are available to you. Do your homework and don’t miss out.

Look after your people. Make sure they know that they’re valued through praise and feedback. Promote high morale and motivate them through discussions around career progression opportunities.

Fail to do these things and it will be your operations and bank balance that feel the impact as you embark on the painstaking recruitment process all over again.

Go greener, if you haven’t already.  Mark my words, that spotlight on sustainability is only going to get bigger and bigger so get on top of it NOW. 

Review your policies and your sustainability targets and make sure they’re fit for purpose today

Last year was pretty volatile so my final word of advice is to expect the unexpected. I always forward plan but of course, but when things don’t go how you want them to, it’s important to keep a cool head and not let it knock you off balance.

My final recommendation, and the most important one of course…keep reading my column each week!

 

LAUGH

It may only be January 2 but according to Baba Vanga, the Bulgarian mystic, this year, we might be in for a wild ride.

She may have passed in 1996, however, she left decades of predictions, and this year it includes solar storms and a change in the Earth’s orbit.

If the mystic is correct, we can expect a solar storm with severe consequences, like disruptions in our communication systems and the internet, and with most businesses taking everything online, which could cause problems globally. Apparently it will also hamper our environmental efforts.

I have to laugh when people take this sort of stuff too seriously. Maybe she’s right and maybe she’s not but personally I think the best thing you can do is to control the controllables instead of letting worry about the ‘what ifs’ take over.

 

WEEP

Call me sentimental but one festive period story almost brought a wee tear to my eye.

Shoppers at Braehead were treated to an impromptu performance by an elderly couple who were so taken by the live music that they started to waltz.

Dozens of customers looked on as the couple danced away before they were applauded by the thrilled crowd.

I bet bosses at Braehead didn’t expect a bit of live music to create such an impact.

 

There’s that old saying “dance like nobody’s watching” and those are wise words indeed. We can be too easily led by what other people think and expect instead of looking out for ourselves so give it a go. It might bring you as much joy as it brought this dancing duo.

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