Top 5 Small Business Trends for 2023

Small businesses look set for another interesting year in 2023. Doom and gloom may feel like the prevailing economic mood, but there’s still so many opportunities for your business to succeed in the coming months. Having a solid understanding of upcoming business trends will only increase your chances of success.

Each year around this time, we dust off our Small Business BC crystal ball and make some predictions for the year ahead. Take a look back at our predictions for 2022’s small business trends. How did we do? Many of our predicted trends continue to influence the small business landscape, but we’ll happily admit we missed the mark on virtual events.

As usual, we’ve consulted with our internal SBBC experts to get their thoughts on 2023’s small business trends. Let’s dive in.

Remote/Hybrid Work

Quickly adopted by many companies at the beginning of the pandemic, the desire for remote or hybrid working arrangements has gathered momentum over time. Statistics Canada reports that 37% of Canadians worked from home between 2020 and 2022. A movement from employers to bring staff back to the workplace has met with a frosty reception from employees, many of whom are reluctant to give up the flexibility and comfort to which they’ve become accustomed to.

In fact, remote working is one of the main perks employees are looking for when job seeking. This year, be prepared to field questions from prospective employees about your remote work options. If you’re able to offer it, and choose not to, your business may miss out on talented employees.


At the end of 2022, Canada’s rate of inflation sits at an eye-watering 7%. Small businesses are one of the first groups impacted by these rising costs, with inventory prices and bills rising, while sales dip and customers close their wallets. The good news is, there are several steps you can take to safeguard your business from the worst of inflation.

  • Revisit Your Business Plan – A business plan isn’t just useful for startups. It should be a living document you revisit every few years as your business circumstances change. In times of rising costs, it can provide a roadmap for future success.
  • Shield Your Profit Margin – Do your best to keep your profit margin maintained at your current levels by finding efficiencies in your operations. In practice, this can involve cutting back on employee hours, focusing on your core business and shedding unprofitable aspects, or finding automations that save you time.
  • Streamline Your Products – you can streamline your product offering in several ways. For starters, reduce the variety of products you’re offering. This will cut down on storage space and other costs. Secondly, you can reduce the volume of your products, charging the same for a smaller size.

Supply Chain Woes

A lesson many business owners learned in 2022 is that global supply chains aren’t as robust as we thought. As China continues to struggle with the impacts of COVID-19, our supply chain woes will carry on into 2023. Another massive issue causing supply chain disruption is inflation in gas prices, making the transport of goods more expensive. What can businesses do to shield themselves from these disruptions?

Small businesses have several options to navigate the problem. Localizing your supply chain, and removing distance from the equation, is a highly successful way to make your business more robust in the face of global strife. If that’s not possible, another way to address the problem is to diversify your supply chain and spread your risk around.

The Talent Question

Between ‘quiet quitting’ and ‘the great resignation,’ few areas of business were as widely discussed as employees in 2022. Once set in stone, the relationship between employers and talent greatly changed since 2020. Employees now have greater choice in when and where they want to work, and employers are still finding ways to accommodate these wishes while maintaining consistent operations.

Ultimately, employees don’t just want a big paycheck or promotions. They want to be happy at work, and that happiness demonstrably feeds into their productivity levels. Taking steps to boost the morale and engagement of your team will help you retain top talent, while also helping you to attract new hires.

Gen Z has Arrived

Gen-Z is making their presence felt in entrepreneurship, and they’re about to break the traditional norms of business. A recent Microsoft study found that 62% of Gen Z’ers  have started, or intend to start their own business. Of those who have started their own business, 91% work unconventional house outside of a traditional 9 to 5. As their numbers increase, this cohort will re-write the way business is carried out in ways we haven’t even considered.

In the workplace, Gen Z staff expect greater flexibility and aren’t afraid to voice their opinions on work matters. As more young talent enters the workplace, be prepared to harness this energy for the good of your business.

Small Business BC is Here to Help

SBBC is a non-profit resource centre for BC-based small businesses. Whatever your idea of success is, we’re here to provide holistic support and resources at every step of the journey. Check out our range of business webinars, on-demand E-Learning Education, our Talk to an Expert Advisories, or browse our selection of business articles.