Through my own coaching work at Exit Momentum, and through leading a team of coaches embedded in businesses across locations and industries, I’ve seen some clear trends throughout 2023 that have led to some insights into what will matter most in 2024.
2023 has required successful businesses to:
Get Crystal Clear on Their Numbers
This has always been true, but in 2023, we have seen the requirement for businesses to get clear on their numbers accelerate dramatically. Teams with this ability and clarity have been able to take advantage of opportunities and fearlessly navigate the uncertainty at a much higher rate than their industry peers. This goes beyond knowing revenue and net profit, extending to the things in between, like gross profit margin, overhead, cost of goods, labor efficiency ratios, and something we teach our clients: profit per X.
In 2023, businesses that understood their numbers and how each impacted the others achieved more because they had facts to inform their choices, not opinions. Looking ahead to 2024, businesses who want to win will need to be relentless about access to timely data across the business.
Prepare for Their Reset
We’re seeing signals that businesses are stepping out of some of the uncertainty in the marketplace. This depends on geography and specific industry, but overall, our clients are starting to move through this season of volatility. It’s common for this shift to take 90 or 180 days, and even after 180 days, more shifts often need to be made.
Successful businesses and teams we work with are open to this reset period and the changes that come with it, instead of resisting the process and some of the hard conversations. After some of the chaos subsides, they have shared back with us that this was the difference for them and why they are where they are.
3 things that will dictate success in the new year:
Planning Above All Else
Moving into 2024, businesses need to be planning their defensive strategy, protecting their cash positions and their teams, and—at the same time—how they’re going to play offense and take advantage of opportunities.
Too often, businesses have a plan that is partial or has gaps. Those missing elements create chaos, misalignment, and missed opportunities. Solid companies in 2024 will have clear plans, and their teams will be aligned around those plans, with everyone in the right seats inspired and challenged by a common vision.
Everyone is talking about AI in 2023, and that conversation will get louder in 2024.
We see clients in a few different camps regarding their AI approach. Some want to hide their head in the sand and ignore it. Others are curious about it and want to explore how it can strengthen their business. We see AI as one more tool businesses can use to become more efficient and maximize their value to customers, and that’s how we’re using it at Exit Momentum today.
Redefining Their Focus
Throughout the pandemic, especially in 2021 and 2022, many businesses went more broad with their product and service offerings. In some cases, their survival depended on it. Coming out of 2023 and into 2024, we see the businesses we work with narrowing their focus.
Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, they’re getting locked in on what they want to be great at or best at, doubling down in those areas and letting go of the rest. A mile wide and an inch deep isn’t going to cut it in 2024. Focus is everything, and their gross profit margin depends on it.
2024: An Opportunity for Growth
Growth in 2024 is a mindset. I regularly encounter leaders being pulled down by conversations focused on fear and uncertainty, allowing that to fill their mind. As our coaches keep communicating to clients, there are still plenty of opportunities for growth in 2024.
Will there be challenges? Yes, and for that matter, there always have been and always will be – that’s life as a business owner. By taking on the right mindset, focusing on the right areas, being conscious of what content you consume and whose opinion you let take up space in your brain, and surrounding your business with the right partners, you can confidently walk through those challenges.