As we go into 2023, it would be easy to begin the year on the back foot. There are significant head winds facing not just our industry – the whole country feels like it’s in the weeds. Next year we will go into battle with a recession, the cost of energy crisis, shortages of staff, upward pressure on the supply costs and the downward pressure on customers discretionary spend. These are just the challenges we know of, and yet, we expect more. Headline news would suggest that 2023 could be a year of inevitable, unstoppable, and relentless doom. But it won’t be. Not for everyone. There is still huge opportunity for those who rise to the top, the best in our industry will still face the challenges, but they will have the experience, tools, and tenacity to succeed.

As a business, we are conscientiously optimistic about what we will achieve in 2023 and while never complacent. We are optimistic about what our customers are going to achieve in 2023 too and there is good reason why.

For the past 12 months we have spent a great deal of time and energy better articulating and refiring up our “purpose”. It hasn’t just been a self-indulgent corporate retreat exercise, it has been pivotal to everything we do, and the framework for all of our plans. All businesses need to innovate, but it is useful to keep returning to those first principles that led us to transform the industry as we have. “Be Your Best”, has emerged as the philosophy that has fed the products we build and the internal culture of the whole organisation.

Be Your Best is a significant statement of intent for our customers. We know that there are going to be only two routes to operate next year. The first will be to burn through cash, taking on debt and relying on a swift return to better days. There are few who have the cash to weather this storm, fewer still who have investors patient enough to plug the red holes for too long. The second route for our customers is to be the best at what they do, consistently. We have had the privilege of working with a lot of the best operators over the last 10+ years, the likes of Oakman Inns, Brunning & Price, Liberation Group, Revs have all been entrepreneurial early adopters of S4labour and are all the best in their areas. Moving forward, our challenge and focus is to have a development roadmap that supports our current customers and as many new ones as possible to be at their best. We have found that the typical S4labour customer has also been an innovator in the industry that has made them stand out, these are the people who are already looking to be the best.

In January we will be rolling out the biggest update to the S4labour system. Having put the philosophy of supporting operators to be their best at the centre of every brain storming session, every stand-up meeting and every round table discussion, this inevitably bleeds into every line of code.

As a result, we feel we have built a system that ensures our customers are their best, in every shift. Better at driving sales, better at engaging and retaining staff, better at getting teams to the floor rather than behind the desk and ultimately, better at making the right decisions, faster. All these things are opportunities to beat the gloomy head wins facing the industry, and all are reasons to be optimistic for our customers in 2023.

Be Your Best is a mantra that is also at the heart of our people and culture plans. We know that to support our customers to be their best, it is essential to support our own teams to be their best. That goes for every single person we employ and bring on the journey with us. We know that to ensure we deliver a product that supports customers to be the best, we need to have our innovators, our developers, our customer success, and support teams all at their best too. It’s tempting to have all our people answer the phone with, “Hello, how can we help you be your best today.” Possibly a step too far into the world of cringey, but it’s the mindset we have got to.

There will be businesses that fail in 2023, and even the best will find trading hard, but those who manage to be their best, will thrive and we very much look forward to helping them get there.

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