Business for 2023 - Expectations vs. Reality

As we kicked off 2023, the business landscape looked pretty different to previous years. Gone were border closures and restrictions, but replacing them were new challenges for kiwi businesses. Rising costs, staff shortages and an impending recession have been on everyone’s minds. So we used our latest Small Nation Business Report to glimpse inside the minds of SMEs and take a look at some of the expectations and realities kiwi businesses (and us!) had for 2023.

Expectation: Rising Costs

2022 saw the rise of everything - expenses, inflation, cost of living and interest rates all shot through the roof. No one has been immune from a price increase email dropping into their inbox.

The Reality: Soaring Costs

As costs continue to rise, it only makes sense that 65% of SMEs reported rising costs as a key concern for their business. Leaving businesses asking how much of these costs can be absorbed before passing them on.

Kiwi businesses have been hesitant to raise prices, not wanting to alienate customers as they become more cautious spenders. If you’re among those who are wary, don’t be. Consumers have rapidly become used to rising prices and now is the time to readjust prices if needed. By being open and transparent with your customers you can make the change less jarring and more seamless. 

The Expectation: A Cooling Economy 

Talks of a recession have been making rounds for nearly a year now, with it predicted to hit this year and last into 2024

The Reality: A Cooling Economy

Knowing this, it’s no surprise that 48% of kiwi businesses think the economy is going badly or very badly.

For businesses, it’s never been more important to stay seen and keep a marketing presence alive. Ensuring your customers know where to find you and attracting new customers is the way to weather the storm. 

Expectation: Staff Shortages

With plenty of media attention highlighting staff shortages, we expected this to be an ongoing issue in 2023. 

The Reality: Not so short-staffed

But of those we surveyed, only 28% of businesses reported this as a concern. 

Either most businesses aren’t struggling to find staff or have bigger fish to fry. With uncertain economic times ahead, kiwi businesses appear to be taking a more cautious approach and choosing to ride out the next few months before hiring.  

Expectation: Digital as far as the eye can see

With a spotlight on the digital divide, there has been a massive push to bridge the gap and get online. 

The Reality: The divide is still present

Our report revealed a third of businesses are still not online. While the gap has closed marginally, there’s been a shift in the mindset, with the main barrier to getting online being time. 

If you’re not online, now is the time. For those short on time, getting companies who specialise in affordable and equitable digital solutions (like us!) on board is the solution.

Expectation: Customer growth

With customers making the business world go round, this is a no-brainer.  

The Reality: Customers

Coming into 2023, they’re at the forefront of SMEs minds more than ever, with the top two goals for SMEs are to get more customers, or manage their existing customers.

For kiwi businesses, there’s stiff competition for customers - new and existing. Your ace in the hole? A solid marketing strategy. Pairing a quality website, business listings and Google Business Profiles ensures new and existing customers can find you. Pair this with attractive and enticing Google, Facebook and LinkedIn ads and you’re all set to gain new customers and keep your existing customers from being lured away. 

How did this line up with your expectations for 2023 and where did you line up with your peers? Download our Small Nation Business Report for more insights.