As 2023 approaches, many businesses are beginning to prepare their business plans for the year. The new year brings new opportunities, and it’s important to be prepared. Having a business plan provides you with a roadmap that will help you achieve your business goals and take advantage of those new opportunities.

After talking with business experts in the Lincoln area, we recommend that you add professional coaching to your agenda this year, in addition to the professional advice of financial gurus. Of course, annual business plans must be flexible enough to adapt to unexpected changes and the often-volatile marketplace—think COVID in 2020! Preparation for and execution of your annual plan reviews expectations from the previous year, then builds from there to give everyone in the company a sense of where the business is heading and how they intend to get there.

So, what is included in an annual business plan itself? Certainly, it must revolve around the ever-enduring SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals that help businesses focus their efforts, increase chances of success, and ensure that they use their time and resources in the most productive ways possible. From there, a company can develop financial projections and budgets that take into account anticipated expenses and projected income—in addition to expected financing needs for the year. The plan also must outline responsibilities and expectations of individual employees, teams, or departments and the parts of the plan for which they are responsible and held accountable, to the degree that they can control. Rounding out the picture is an annual vision that maps out what owners or managers realistically want the business to look like at the end of the year. Continuing to tell your story through marketing is also crucial to stay up-to-date with the always evolving advertisement world.

The final pieces of the planning puzzle bring the projections, goals, and plan together with specific tools and processes that will serve as the avenues to achieving those goals. It might sound like a lot of work, but it’s not nearly as much as you’ll eventually face if you fail to plan your business path and your work/life balance each year. It can help you stay on track and adapt to the unforeseen changes in the marketplace.

The first month of a new year is full of hope and motivation to make a change, whether it be in your own life or for your business. In Lincoln, we are lucky to have many local businesses and professionals dedicated to helping you navigate all of the twists and turns that come with making a plan that will survive and thrive throughout the new year. Keep reading to hear some invaluable advice from the experts around our city!

Leave Your Worries Behind

Going into the New Year feels a lot better without any extra baggage from the previous year weighing you down. This includes unfinished projects, postponed events, and unpaid debt. AR Solutions Inc. is a full service collection agency that is licensed, bonded, and insured in Lincoln ready to help you and your business transition into 2023 with nothing holding you back.

Aaron Newell
AR Solutions

Aaron Newell, president and CEO of AR Solutions, shared some advice on tackling debt and creating a positive plan for the year.

“Really evaluate your business financials from the prior year(s),” shared Aaron. “Are you scaling as projected? If not, why and what can you do to change it? How does your percentage of accounts receivables compare to your industry standards geographically? Have your accounts receivables changed, remained the same, or grown in comparison to your gross revenue? AR Solutions can provide an analysis of your data and customer intake process to accelerate the payment of your past due receivables.”

AR Solutions has a division that specializes in medical collections, as well as other divisions that specialize in consumer collection and commercial collections. All fees from AR Solutions are contingent so there is no cost unless they get results for their clients. As Aaron says, “If we do not collect, we do not eat.”

“We often see businesses that assume they will always be paid for their service/product or be paid timely but that isn’t always the case,” Aaron said. “AR Solutions can offer solutions to correct that.”

AR Solutions exists to provide the most professional, ethical, and innovative accounts receivables collection solutions for their clients. You can count on them to help your business make 2023 your best year yet!

Reach New Heights

Lincoln Federal Savings Bank (Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.) provides customers the services that they need to achieve. Derek Wiedenfeld, commercial real estate loan officer, shared his tips for creating a successful year for you and your business.

Derek Wiedenfeld
Lincoln Federal Savings Bank

“Set goals for 2023 that align with your company’s vision and long-term goals. It is important to review those goals quarterly to hold you accountable and make any adjustments that are needed throughout the year,” advised Derek. “Keep yourself and employees motivated while trying to reach those goals and don’t forget to celebrate reaching milestones along the way.”

Derek’s services can be useful for those looking to expand this year. Lincoln Federal Savings Bank has commercial pad sites for sale, and can assist with the construction and/or permanent financing of the real estate.

As the markets continue to change, it’s important that your business is prepared. There are methods and tools that you can use to avoid turmoil down the road.

“Stress test your business! It is important to understand if your business can operate as normal with higher volatility in the market,” said Derek. “Test your business income against higher interest rates which could increase your loan payments and project lower than anticipated sales/rents and higher expenses to see if you would still be profitable. There may be smaller profit margins in 2023 so make sure to set up a contingency plan.”

While many of your business’s goals may not involve financials, Derek and the team at Lincoln Federal Savings Bank can help you. With anything from securing commercial real estate financing to offering great small business checking and savings accounts!

“Interest rates on deposit accounts have been increasing. Pairing a checking account with a loan at the same bank can have some benefits,” Derek explained. “When you have all of your accounts in the same place then it’s easier to keep track of your assets and manage your accounts. In addition, opening a deposit account may help you qualify for better loan terms. “

Find People to Lean On

Sometimes the best advice we can get is from people who have experienced the same things we are currently going through. Center Sphere is an established network of business professionals whose mission is to share referrals, ideas, and resources through genuine relationships.

Brett Boyer
Center Sphere

“At Center Sphere we believe that relationships will always be essential in businesses,” said CEO and Co-Founder Brett Boyer. “Those who have built, and are continuing to build, relationships with others always have greater odds of accomplishing their goals. The best time to build a network was ten years ago, the second best time is NOW!”

While creating a support system and learning from experienced peers can be a great help, the world of business is ever changing. Many obstacles you may run into are products of the time, and many people may be experiencing them for the first time along with you.

“The scope of business has changed dramatically over the past few years, and will always evolve,” Brett explained. “Making sure you understand how those changes have affected your business and your plan for it is important when reviewing and setting goals for 2023.”

As we all have been affected by rapid inflation and rise in cost of doing business, Center Sphere offers an extremely cost effective way to budget your marketing expenses throughout the year. They believe in increasing their value add for members while keeping the point of entry at a minimum.

If you’re looking for a great start to hitting your goals in 2023, take advantage of all Center Sphere has to offer!

Remember to Breathe

While New Year’s resolutions can help people fix areas of their lives that need a tune-up, it is important to remember that there is no special magic that makes your wishes come true when the ball drops. Resolutions and goals are completely driven by how badly you want to make the change. Trying to change too much at once can hinder the ability to succeed at any of your goals.

Bethany Arnold, financial advisor at Edward Jones, emphasized this sentiment when sharing her thoughts on the upcoming year for businesses.

Bethany Arnold Edward Jones

“Don’t take on too much, and don’t feel bad for taking on just one or two goals,” said Bethany. “Sometimes more than that is too overwhelming and then none of them get done.”

Edward Jones financial advisors are built to deliver personal service that fits you and your business’s needs. Your needs will evolve throughout your life, and they strive to provide the products, solutions and experiences to help you achieve what’s most important to you at every point.

“Whether it is taking advantage of the few gifts the government has to offer you and/or your business, or simply helping you understand the basics of investing, we are here to work with you hand and hand at whatever life stage you are at,” Bethany shared. “According to SCORE’s 2019 article “Small Business Retirement – Investing in Your Future,” 40% of business owners are not confident they’ll be able to retire before the age of 65. We know the events of 2020 impacted many people’s lives and, in some cases, their plans for retirement. Helping a business owner decide which retirement plan is best for their business and understanding how that plan can benefit themselves as well as their business is something we are experts at!”

Overall, Bethany and her team at Edward Jones want to remind you to take it slow and steady. Give yourself the grace to make mistakes and have bad days. If you strive to be even 1% better than you were yesterday, you are setting yourself up for success.

Don’t Miss the Small Stuff

Taxes can throw a huge wrench into your plans if you neglect to take care of them throughout the year. Having someone in your corner to guide you throughout the year can boost the likeliness that you are handling your business in the best possible way.

Lutz can provide a full-service approach to your business needs with services like tax planning, assurance services, technology support, retirement plan management, and much more.

Justin Korth

Justin Korth, tax director at Lutz, spoke to us about how 2023 is looking for business owners and how they can make the most of the year. He shared three things that business owners should look out for when it comes to this year’s taxes:

R&D capitalization – As the rules stand today, U.S. research and development/ experimental costs must be capitalized and amortized over a five-year period, whereas historically, a business could deduct all expenses in the year incurred. For software development and manufacturing companies or others that have similar costs, this may cause a significant addback to 2022 income.

163j interest limitation – 2022 is the first year that depreciation and amortization are not an addback to the 163j interest expense limitation. For businesses subject to these rules, this may cause an increase in 2022 taxable income. With rising interest rates, this is an area of focus for real estate businesses. Tax planning and certain elections can help offset the impact of these rules.

Bonus depreciation – Starting in 2023, bonus depreciation falls to 80% from 100% over the past several years. While Section 179 expensing is still available, it is limited for certain businesses, especially those with losses or significant capital expenditures.

Have a Bank on Your Side

We all know that there isn’t a big reset button that starts the New Year off on a clean slate. In order to be truly prepared for the year to come, business owners must start planning before the clock strikes midnight on January 1.

West Gate Bank is prepared to jump into another year helping businesses be successful and achieve their greatest dreams. They can’t do it on their own, though.

Lindsey Kirkendall
West Gate Bank

“My advice for businesses is to start planning early and check-in often on progress. Running a business requires deliberate planning and getting crystal clear on goals/objectives to accomplish. Know your numbers, be proactive, and surround yourself with the best. Know exactly what you are earning, saving, and spending. Look for ways to improve cash flow, increase savings, boost revenue, and put profit first,” shared Lindsey Kirkendall, assistant vice president, business banking solutions. “With 18 years banking experience and linking arms with businesses on financial initiatives, it is important to surround yourself with a network of professionals that support current goals or determine next steps on how to get there in 2023. We have several local connections we know, utilize, trust, and can recommend to you!”

As for how 2023 is looking, Lindsey had some knowledge on what to expect and how to handle the upcoming obstacles that the year may bring.

“The rate environment is ever-changing. Secure deposits at a competitive interest rate and understand that lending efforts for banks are likely to be more conservative,” said Lindsey. “Proactively plan, set SMART goals, and have a banker and bank on your side!”

Work with Experts Who Care

Getting advice from your peers can be a great tool, but finding an expert that can see your goals and help you realize them takes things to another level.

Fiserv enables money movement for thousands of financial institutions and millions of people and businesses. They help you make smart decisions and set realistic goals financially. We spoke to National Senior Sales Advisor Dan Rau, who everyone knows as Rowdy, to learn more about the services Fiserv has to offer, and the bits of advice you need to take your business into 2023.

Dan “Rowdy” Rau

“My greatest value add to a business is my vast network and expertise and experience in Financial Technology (FinTech) solutions,” explained Rowdy. “My income and success is directly connected to the growth and success of my clients and portfolio. My network allows businesses easier opportunities to build long lasting partnership and vendor relationships.”

Finding the small ways that could be saving your business money is one of the things Rowdy knows best. He shared a tip with us for businesses headed into the New Year that are trying to save an extra buck.

“Businesses now more than ever can gain back all, some, or none of their fees with merchant processing,” Rowdy said. “Merchant processing fees are tax deductible operating costs, so passing the 3-4% fee to customers when inflation is set this time at 7.7% allows the business to increase deductions while paying less or zero in merchant processing fees.”

One thing Rowdy expressed is something that everyone can take with them into the New Year.

“I will end with a quote from Muhammad Ali, ‘Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth,’” shared Rowdy. Remember to take care of the people around you this year!

Think About the Bigger Picture

FNBO has worked with numerous businesses over the years to assist them with their growth and transition plans. They believe their experience can help a business build a team of advisors that will work cohesively with the client and help them achieve their goals.

When people talk about the future, many bring up five or ten year plans, whether it is for themselves or their company. The big picture is important, but the steps you have to take to get there can make or break your goals.

Thomas Klein

“I believe it is important to set both big and small goals for 2023, regardless of the size of your business. The big goals will give your business the guiding, overall direction that you would like to take your company. The smaller goals let you build a road map that can help you achieve the larger goals,” shared Thomas Klein, senior advisor, community banking. “It is important to review these monthly, and a good time to do it is when you review your monthly financials. Take a moment to review the prior month while also looking at your goals and comparing your targets. It’s okay for your goal’s “road map” to change from time to time, but it’s best if you are able to recognize the change and adjust goals as needed.”

On top of setting the groundwork for the plan, you have to make sure every step is completed in a thorough, solid way so that you don’t have a structure that eventually crumbles.

“I think that it is easy for businesses to react and make their best effort at handling the most pressing issue at the moment. However, I would stress not to overlook the value of building relationships and taking the time to discuss goals and look ahead,” Thomas said. “It’s too easy to put that off until later, but planning and forethought pay off in the long run.”

Thomas also spoke on a business concern that is on the rise going into 2023.

“We continue to see a rise in businesses that have experienced fraud or other types of email scams. FNBO can work with businesses to help them avoid many of those circumstances and mitigate some of those issues to make them less vulnerable,” Thomas said. “Benjamin Franklin’s quote still holds true, ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.’”

Get Set Up for Success

SP Group, PC prides themselves on developing deep and long-lasting relationships with their clients. They don’t want to be considered just a tax advisor, but as an extension of their organization. They truly want to learn about their clients’ businesses, lives, and goals, both professionally and personally. By working with clients closely in making sure there is a clear vision for the future, they provide their clients with the services they need to achieve success and meet their goals.

Kevin Rademacher
SP Group, PC

“SP Group’s biggest value with businesses is our year-end tax planning services. We work closely with a business to make sure they know what to expect for tax payments and how to most effectively spend money before the end of the year,” said Team Accountant Kevin Rademacher. “It is important to us that business clients and owners have a clear vision of their overall tax picture before the end of the year. We can also help work through retirement savings and different plans that might be helpful to the owners and employees to maximize savings and minimize taxes.”

Tax credits related to COVID have been winding down each year, but businesses should make sure to take full advantage of any credit available to them.

“Tax years 2022 and 2023 might not have as many tax changes as in the past, but going forward, taxes could change with parts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 expiring in 2024,” explained Kevin. “Businesses could work with us to see if doing specific items in 2023 makes sense before deductions expire in 2024. The tax year of 2023 could be a major year to make sure everything is working smoothly in your business before more changes start happening again in the future.”

Learn How to Grow

Your business benefits most from you simply doing whatever you do best. Leave the rest to experts that can help take the weight of things like finances and taxes off your shoulders. At Union Bank & Trust (UBT), they have people who are experts in so many different areas that may affect your business. Whether it be specific HR function outsourcing, recruiting, treasury management services, estate and succession planning, or planning for specific acquisitions/ moves, UBT has experts on staff ready to help.

Many business goals revolve around growth, and it takes money to do just that. While you may just think of a bank as the place where you put your money, there are more ways to utilize a bank’s services. They can be just as responsible for the success of your projects and goals as you are.

TJ Casady
Union Bank & Trust

“Any business, large or small, needs to have the equivalent of ‘a board of directors.’ Don’t be afraid to leverage your bank, CPA, or other experts within the community and surround your company with experts in specific areas,” explained TJ Casady, vice president, commercial loans. “We all have blind spots and sometimes it’s important to be humble enough to ask questions and bring people of diverse backgrounds around your table to make your business as strong as possible and positioned for the future.”

Sharing your business goals for the upcoming year with your bank can ensure that you and the bank are in sync, and the bank is fully prepared to assist you with any growth goals.

Research Your Resources

Setting goals for the upcoming year can only go so far if you are unwilling to accept change. It is important to be committed to your company’s process and environment, but allow some room for innovation and growth. If the way you are doing something is hindering your ability to reach a goal, don’t change the goal. Find a new way to get there.

With FNIC Group, they believe the smallest changes to a process can have the biggest impacts. They will keep a careful eye on your business’s insurance coverage to uncover possible improvements.

Ramon Diaz de Leon
FNIC Group

“At FNIC, our process is simple. We study your current insurance policies to pinpoint potential gaps in coverage and educate you on how your policy works,” said Sales Executive Ramon Diaz de Leon. “Understanding your policy can help you make informed decisions on risk retention vs risk transfer.”

Ramon also pointed to the option for businesses that may need extra help from a resource like a workers’ compensation carrier.

“Before joining the commercial insurance team at FNIC, I worked for a workers’ compensation carrier that specialized in small to mid-sized, labor-intensive businesses. I have seen the amount of resources available that are often overlooked. Many carriers provide help with weekly safety meetings, ideas for return to work programs, and strategies for experience rating containment to share a few,” Ramon explained. “Spend time with your insurance agent and see how their organization can also help you with these items. Having these types of processes in place will not only help you in controlling insurance costs, but will lead to the development of a culture of safety within your business. The resources are out there. Start today!”

FNIC is ready to help you implement your processes and coverages in 2023!

Stick to the Plan

Studies show that 91% of people don’t achieve their New Year’s resolutions every year. Most people either forget, abandon, or never even start their resolutions for the year. This could be avoidable with someone there to hold you accountable. Someone who makes sure you are reaching your best potential.

MAPS Business Coaching offers training to thousands of people every month and coaches business owners and entrepreneurs in weekly one-on-one sessions.

Donald Kracke
MAPS Business Coaching

“If you don’t have a relationship with your goals, they mean nothing. You need to know where you were at with your goals last year, and how you will get there now,” shared local franchise Owner Donald Kracke. “As a business coach, I hold clients accountable to what they want and what they say they’re going to do.”

Donald helps his clients by using models and systems such as the economic model, the budget model, organizational model, and the lead generation model. These help him show the client what should be important to them to be able to reach their goals in a smart way.

“Business owners need to focus on the top 20% of what makes them money. By doing so, everything else becomes irrelevant. 20% of your activities generate 80% of income,” said Donald. “Don’t get caught up in the weeds. You can only do so many things well. Multi-tasking is a myth!”

MAPS Business Coaching helps businesses bring clarity to the different facets of business they have to deal with. The benefits are endless, and there are no limits to what you can accomplish with this kind of support!

Don’t Forget Us!

Of course, if you want to increase your visibility in 2023, we also recommend contacting Strictly Business. We are a content-marketing magazine that partners with business owners to position them as experts in their fields, combining compelling paid advertising with free press releases, feature inclusions, and social media coverage about your business every month! Don’t worry if you don’t have a marketing professional on your staff because Strictly Business has free design services for your ads and free research and writing for your press releases and stories.

In recent years, content marketing has evolved from being just blog post and editorial strategies. It has become a holistic approach that relies on a broad range of digital marketing strategies including social media, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and paid media to engage businesses with their customers and potential customer. At Strictly Business, our goal is to help your visibility skyrocket and not only draw new customers or clients to your business, but also help them understand why they can trust you and depend on you to do the best work possible for them. Call Paige at (402) 466-3330 today and find out how we can help you grow your brand in 2023!

Annual business planning is essential to the health of any company or organization. It’s more crucial than ever that you have a strong base and mission from which to plan, as well as access to the expertise to help ensure you’re on track for success. We encourage you to reach out to the experts featured here to plan in a timely, meaningful, and successful way. From all of us at Strictly Business, we hope you and your business have a wonderful year!