First off, I should start this by saying I have no idea what's going to happen, but you might take what I think and combine it with your own instincts and act accordingly. Most of the value you'll get from an exercise like this is the conscious listening and planning and not the degree to which you are right about things. So here goes.
- 2023 will bring a soft landing and not any deeper recession. Yes, we live in a world that's so interconnected that it's ultra fragile, but I just don't think it's likely that there will be another 2001, 2008-09, or even 2020-21.
- 2023 will create some change in the health of firms, but it'll largely be under the surface. There won't be a meeting in the middle where all the firms regress to the mean, nor will there be a lot of failures and wild successes. Instead, there will be a big, silent divide, where the slightly stronger firms will get stronger and the slightly weaker firms will get weaker. It will be a year of inching closer to who you really are at the core.
- 2023 will be a year of the fundamentals, which furthers the previous point. Be careful with debt, price carefully, understand your performance metrics, execute your marketing plan, don't overpay, and watch your client concentration.
- 2023 will end with a much clearer vision of what you really believe about remote work. I hear public statements from principals who tell me privately that they really believe something else. Taking a team that's bonded together and spreading them far afield is a different challenge than incorporating someone who has to build a way of working together from scratch. We'll end the year with clear, considered perspectives on remote work and the flexibility it requires, and firms are going to come down on different sides of that equation. There's room for differing perspectives and our marketplace needs a diversity of thought on this issue.
- 2023 will be the year of no more excuses. C19's impact is long gone, the employee market has cooled, and marketing budgets are stable. It's not great and it's not lousy. 2023 will be a true reflection of your management ability.
- You'll start to have more fun running your firm. You aren't curing cancer, but you are making a good (and honest) living, you're impacting the lives of your team and their friends and family, and you're earning your keep with clients. It's a good life with freedom, agency, and impact, and you'll settle into the industry again and realize how much there is to be grateful for. [Including the freedom to end a sentence with a preposition. As Churchill apparently did not say, "This is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put."]
What did I miss addressing? Where am I wrong? Tell me and I'll post a synopsis of what you think 2023 will bring.