As 2022 comes to a close, amid the vacations, parties, and “Auld Lang Syne-ing,” I asked ten business leaders to reflect on the year and to share what they will double down on in the new year. Here is what they said.
Focus on your ‘why?’ and ‘what?’
“With admiring acknowledgment to the late Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones, and a sprinkling of Atomic Habits author James Clear and others, they remind us that we are each today who we will be in five years, but for the people we meet, the books we read (or listen to), the webinars – seminars – courses we attend, and the compounding effects of our daily habits,” says R. J. Kelly, founder, and chief visionary officer of Wealth Legacy Group, Inc. in San Diego, California.
“If legendary speaker, writer, and coach Brian Tracy is correct that ‘every minute you spend in planning, saves ten minutes in execution,’ how much more time and energy is saved in a year and over a lifetime by focusing our efforts on the goals that matter most to us? Quoting Ken Blanchard again, by being clear on my ‘Why?’ and ‘What?’ goals, the ‘How?’ will fall into place.
“Each year we set specific, written goals and review them on a near-daily basis. The resulting goal list is broken into 90-day “sprints” with no more than 7-10 goals for the year, 2-3 per 90-day sprint.
“This planning process includes, but is not limited to, identifying conferences we will be attending and speaking for, where we can update and add new “skillsets for tax, estate, investment, insurance, regulatory, family legacy, and philanthropic issues; selecting our days out of the office and significant travel adventures; surveying specific clients to measure expectations and determine their needs; and identifying and increasing lines of independent, yet mutually supportive products/services.”
Be ready and able to turn on a dime
“2022 was the year in which the real estate market met the needs of all investors,” says Al Watson, owner of Breclaw Capital, a private lender.
“With 16 million vacant homes in the US we ironically still have a housing shortage. 2022 was an exciting year to be a real estate investor. We learned to be ready for markets to change on a dime and that the lending strategies had to as well. Early 2022 was a seller’s market. Rates were low, housing prices were appreciating, and buyers were abundant. Now the dynamics have drastically changed. It’s a buyer’s market and my investors are still loving it.
“In today’s market, cash flow is king. If you’re investing with the intention of flipping, you may have to be prepared to become a landlord. As a private lender, this market forces you to become more engaged in educating your customer about their investment. Clients are likely to come back for a long-term loan after the property has been rehabilitated. In 2023, we at Breclaw Capital are enhancing our loan products in preparation for more cash-flow investors. However, we think new construction will make a slight comeback, because, after all, we still have a housing shortage.”
Leverage technology to systemize and automate your processes
“Since the pandemic, the world has shifted from physical meetings to online presence. Our office has been lucky to be able to serve clients both in the office and/or online,” says Darlena Tran, cofounder of In Good Hands Services. By doing so, not only did we meet client expectations but we were able to customize our services according to our clients’ needs. Our ability to adapt to the new norms has driven our business upward in 2022.”
“The three main factors that contributed to our ability to change seamlessly in the post-pandemic area were integrating digital transformation by allowing technology to automate the process, focusing on productivity by allowing our team to work remotely, and delivering a personalized experience to our clients. We expect nothing less in 2023. We will continue to leverage technology to systemize and automate our processes and to invest more in showing our appreciation for our clients.”
Optimize, optimize, optimize
“As an entrepreneur who runs multiple businesses, I discovered that in the post-pandemic era of 2022, I had to deploy greater speed and accuracy to my processes,” says Maggie Bellevue, Christian minister, and transformational leader.
“Agility, optimal utilization of technology, potent social media presence and interaction, and inter-business collaboration, all quickly became hallmarks of my business in 2022. I intend to consolidate these strategies in 2023, with the hope that they can position me for expansion into a couple of other allied ventures towards the end of 2023.”
Opportunity thrives in change, challenge builds resilience, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help
“In 2022, still reeling from supply chain issues, Amelia Island Microgreens was dangerously close to not having the necessary inventory to produce the popular ‘Ready, Set, Grow!’ microgreen kits to meet consumer demands,” says 17-year-old Connor Hiebel, founder and owner of Amelia Island Microgreens. “We went from near disaster to creating a different and better product by collaborating with other people in our field, never giving up on our passion to help people gain food security, and being flexible enough to change our kits to meet the current situation.
“We learned that it is a sign of strength to reach out for help, opportunity thrives in change, and challenge builds resilience. These lessons took Amelia Island Microgreens from near collapse to the strongest year to date.
“We believe everyone deserves clean, nutrient-rich, and economical food. To support more people in 2023, we are increasing free educational opportunities and resources through multiple virtual platforms. In addition, we are expanding our product line and creating more eco-friendly packaging with the support of the FedEx Entrepreneur Fund.”
Be a high-performance leader rather than the “best-kept secret”
“As entrepreneurs, we need to stop being the “best-kept secrets” and start being the high-performance leaders to attract the right clients and partnerships with great synergy,” says Dr. Emily Letran, serial entrepreneur, CEO of multiple dental practices, and high-performance coach.
“Be ‘omnipresent.’ This past year, through speaking engagements, book campaigns, getting featured on a magazine cover, and establishing collaboration and partnerships with multiple organizations, I was able to stand out above the social media noise.
“I believe we all need to show up more consistently and strategically in the coming year, both online and off. Study and know your audience. Under-promise and over-deliver. Leverage other people’s audiences to help you establish authority in less time, and provide great value. Let’s make 2023 your year of creating and sharing your expertise. Be intentional in leveraging social capital to become the authority in your community and accelerate your business success.”
Social media continues to be a dominant force
“I made the decision to ride the wave of economic uncertainty and used it to grow my business by over 30% in 2022,” says serial entrepreneur Adam Marburger. I doubled down on social media platforms and relentlessly shared relevant content that allowed my followers to engage. I then used that engagement to convert the inbound leads into sales.
“The plan for the new year is to do even more on social platforms. I encourage all business owners to embrace social media and create a social culture within their organizations. It will pay massive dividends.”
Overcome the illusion of limited resources
“Nearly all stress, frustration, and bottlenecks in business can be traced back to some asset deficiency,” says Michael Wildeveld, mergers and acquisitions expert and founder. To combat this, focus on creating both tangible and intangible assets that enable you to achieve greater scale with increased efficacy.
“In 2023 we will continue to formalize a program that allows us and others to leverage one another’s assets via educational videos, online assessments, a client learning platform, and the formation of strategic partnerships. No one firm can be the best in class too far beyond their one to two core offerings, but they can leverage their core competencies via partnerships to create greater value for all, with the customer benefiting the most.”
Prioritizing client success leads to business success
“In 2022, one of the things that worked well for our business was our focus on obsessing about our clients’ success,” says Jeff Lopez, practice growth expert at Contour Light. “We made sure to listen to their needs and concerns and to work closely with them to help them achieve their goals. This approach helped to build strong relationships with our clients and contributed to our overall success.
“As we look towards 2023, we are continuing to prioritize our clients’ success and are also focusing on expanding our services and offerings to better meet their needs.
“We believe that by continuing to put our clients first, we can position ourselves for continued success in the coming year.”
Focus on building and maintaining relationships
“The biggest takeaway I have from this past year is how important it is to stay focused on building and maintaining relationships in business (and in life),” says Catherine Hall, mentor coach, software developer, and creator of the National Association of FHA Consultants.
“In my industry, residential real estate, I have seen many professionals turn away from sound marketing and sales best practices in favor of the ‘quick deal.’
“As someone whose chosen career as a residential rehab consultant has always experienced a cool down when the market “heated up,” I have worked this year to instill in the members of the National Association of FHA Consultants the importance of the value of the basics – the ABC’s of business growth – consistency in building relationships and creating real value for your clients.
“With the market shifting and a general real estate industry slowdown expected in 2023, these tried-and-true lessons of building and maintaining relationships with prospects and customers will be even more important. It is my goal for 2023, to help as many professionals in the real estate industry embrace and really enjoy the tasks and rewards that will come to those dedicated to the win-win for everyone.”
In short, these leaders suggest that the best way to approach 2023 is to have a vision of where you want to be, schedule the most important things first, maintain focus on your vision even in the face of setbacks, overdeliver to your clients, invest in building and maintaining relationships, online and off, and don’t shy away from being your best and loudest advocate.
Then leverage, leverage, leverage. Leverage your relationships into win-win opportunities, leverage obstacles into new and greater opportunities, and leverage what’s working by systemizing, automating, and optimizing.