How to prepare for success in the Year of the Rabbit


The transition from Tiger to Rabbit could be tricky for some as the Chinese New Year begins, but here are some ideas from business and wellness leaders on how to prepare for success.
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Chinese New Year marks the transition between the zodiac signs, and while celebrations continue for up to 16 days from January 22, 2023, only the first seven days are considered public holidays.

With China changing direction on its Covid Zero policy, the Lunar New Year celebrations are set to be bigger than in the past few years.

Chinese travellers spent over US$50 billion shopping overseas in 2019. Before the pandemic, China was the world’s largest source of outbound tourists, with 170 million trips and $253 billion contributed to the global economy in 2019. This year, Chinese travellers are projected to take 110 million international trips, two-thirds of the 2019 level. 

China’s Ministry of Transport said this month that it expects about 2.1 billion trips to be made, twice what it was last year and 70% of 2019 levels. It noted most of the trips would likely be for visiting family, while just 10% would be for leisure or business travel.

SiteMinder, the world’s largest open hotel commerce platform, found that accommodation reservations made by guests from China saw a 13% lift globally in the week commencing January 8, when China’s travel restrictions officially lifted.

The latest number for Australian properties based on net reservations made by guests coming from China is a 22% (week-on-week) increase for the week of January 15 to January 22, the week including the start of the Lunar New Year festival.

Sankar Narayan, CEO and Managing Director at SiteMinder, says that even with sustained travel recovery across key tourism markets in 2022, China’s recent relaxing of travel restrictions has been long-awaited by the tourism and accommodation industries.

“While measures are changing daily, SiteMinder’s data shows that global hotel booking volumes made by guests from China are already seeing a 25% increase in net reservations from December to January 2023.

“Australia is among the destinations experiencing this influx of guests, and, as we have seen with key travel destinations reopening at different moments over the last two years, readiness is critical for the accommodation industry to embrace the momentum and meet pent-up demand.”

Narayan says the accommodation providers who equip their business with hotel commerce technology to optimise their distribution will have the best chance of winning these guests in 2023.

For markets, Paul Xiradis, Executive Chairman, Chief Investment Officer and Head of Equities at Ausbil, says several secular themes drive activity and sustain higher inflation.

“These include decarbonisation and the shift to renewable energy, the shift from globalisation to regionalisation, sovereign security and energy surety. These drivers, including the expected strong post-Covid Chinese recovery in 2023, support a range of commodities in which Australia is dominant, providing a platform for higher commodity prices and earnings for the broader resources sector.

He says that while there’s evidence that inflation may have peaked and the current tightening cycle is almost over, he sees central banks holding rates through 2023. Any rate cuts, if they occur, are more likely in 2024. 

“We are still seeing risk in sectors that are too cyclical, over-exposed to slowing economic growth, and whose earnings are adversely impacted by inflationary pressures. This includes construction and housing, retailing and discretionary sectors generally, particularly those that are consumer-facing,” Xiradis says.

Customers select Spring Festival decorations at a New Year market on Renmin Road in Fuyang City. | Photo by Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Company founders and business leaders are predicting specific trends will emerge as the Rabbit takes the place of the Tiger.

Brodie Haupt, CEO/ co-founder, WLTH

In 2023, sustainability will be hard to ignore. There is greater awareness around the role of fintech in helping slow down climate change. Consumers are looking for new ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle and will expect businesses to do everything they can to support environmental practices. It’s up to us as business leaders to take control of the issue. Our customers are becoming more socially conscious, and we must empower them to be more involved in protecting the environment. 

Being clear and transparent in communicating efforts and progress toward being a responsible company will be a top priority for all businesses. Provide data from credible sources and drive real action to avoid making misleading environmental claims. With the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) clamping down on misleading environmental claims, a legitimate ESG strategy is needed to ensure that climate-related obligations are top of mind. 

Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer, Employment Hero

“Finding, attracting, and retaining skilled and qualified candidates in an increasingly competitive market will continue to challenge businesses in 2023. While pre-pandemic office days are a hard habit to break, to meet the changing demands of the workforce, business leaders will need to embrace remote-first or hybrid work setups fully. Listening to what your candidates and employees want could be the difference between keeping and losing great people.

“Coming into 2023, the traditional days of the 9-5 clock in and out are officially over. So too, is the idea that an employee needs to be chained to their desk at all times to be productive. All without affecting productivity. The remote work revolution has demonstrated clearly that employees can work in all locations and at all times. If anything, embracing choice and instilling trust as a two-way street between employer and employee benefits everyone. 

“Organisations that don’t embrace remote and asynchronous working styles will fall behind the leaders and lose high performers to organisations that have implemented more flexible work models.

“With the future of work undeniably hybrid and remote, employers need to look at how they can better support their teams to work to their full potential in each of these spaces. This includes providing employees with extra training, career development, and social inclusion strategies to ensure all workers, particularly those from marginalised groups, aren’t disadvantaged in the long term.”

Phil Bernie, Co-founder, KeyPay

“Payroll operations continue to be the core of every company. Maintaining an efficient system is critical, especially in a workplace environment that is constantly changing. Keeping current on payroll trends can help businesses improve their operations in the new year. 

“As the business world continues to digitise, payroll is ripe for disruption. Going into 2023, companies that optimise their use of payroll software will experience increased efficiency, accuracy, and productivity – allowing them to focus on the growth and strategy of their business. 

Business leaders in 2023 should ensure their payroll processes are automated and integrated with employee management and accounting software. Embracing technology for other forms of payroll admin, such as Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 (STP 2) reporting, can also help to minimise the chance of human error and streamline reporting processes, which can save millions of dollars.”

Matthew Tyrrell, APAC Commercial Director, Codat

2023 will see businesses across the board face numerous obstacles that will prompt them to focus on growth. From slashed operating budgets to the increasing cost of customer acquisition, the path to success this year will mean casting a broader net to bring in more revenue. This will also ignite a trend of increased convergence of products and providers, particularly across the fintech sector.  

Examples of convergence already happening in the Australian fintech space include payment companies broadening their offering, including GoCardless moving into real-time payments with PayTo, or Zeller, who began offering merchant point-of-sale products before announcing plans to expand into credit and debit cards, lending and expense management.

Particularly within the fintech space, startups need to find a way to scale and expand their services and offerings. With VCs and banks tightening belts, there is a renewed focus on creating tangible paths to profitability. For many, this means increasing customer lifetime value by adding additional revenue streams. We’ll inevitably see fintechs stepping on each other’s toes to catch SMBs’ attention, leading to the birth of “fintech frenemies”.

The concept behind this is that whilst fintechs compete against each other, they’ll also have to collaborate and share valuable data to reduce integration friction around the SMB tech stack. Successful B2B products in 2023 will be the ones that are most compatible and complementary with the tools SMBs already rely on. As the integration layer between SMB financial tools and financial services providers, we’re seeing these trends first-hand at Codat.  

Ray Brown, Head of Marketing, CoinSpot

With most of 2022 considered a bear market for crypto, this led to more product development in the sector behind-the-scenes.

As investors hope markets will warm up in 2023, we anticipate some great innovations across the cryptocurrency space. With greater regulation on the horizon both here and abroad, businesses and exchanges operating ethically and responsibly will likely reap the benefits of good conduct – and so will their customers.

The momentum behind Web3 is already picking up pace and will continue to benefit from organisations working towards mainstream adoption. Of course, the streamlined use of cryptocurrencies to make everyday purchases (such as through the CoinSpot Mastercard) will become increasingly popular as investors begin to look for even more expansive uses for their crypto.

 Carl Prins, Co-founder and CEO, Pathzero 

2023 will bring some key milestones in the evolution of climate regulations globally as financial institutions are held accountable for their indirect impact on climate change. Such issues were once considered non-financial, offering the flexibility to ignore them or gloss over them. Yet, in the past decade, there has been a significant shift in the legal recognition of investors’ fiduciary duty to consider climate risk in their decision-making. Financial institutions should not wait until the last minute to manage their financed emissions.   

While we don’t expect mandatory climate reporting in Australia in the 2023 calendar year, we will certainly see progress toward this inevitable outcome.

A consultation paper issued in December by the Australian Treasurer outlines that the first mandatory requirement could be in place by 2024-2025. While these requirements will likely only target larger companies initially, as we’ve seen play out in the UK and NZ, they will put pressure on and increase the uptake of voluntary reporting across financial institutions of all sizes. The industry is at varying levels of readiness for what’s coming.

The most ‘ready’ will be those that have taken steps to engage with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework and have begun to measure and manage organisational and financed emissions specifically.

Health and Lifestyle CEOs think there are several ways you can boost your good fortune for 2023.

Dr Tim Sharp, Psychologist, Author

It’s hard to be happy if you’re literally sick and tired all the time. In contrast, taking care of your physical health provides the energy needed to do what you want to do to achieve goals and live your best life. So, set yourself up for success this year by prioritising sleep, finding ways to enjoy healthy eating, and moving your body as often as possible. These fundamental healthcare activities are not just good for your physical health but also for your psychological health and well-being. And feeling good makes it much easier to do good!

Dr Gina Cleo, PhD, Habit Change Expert, Dietician 

Habits are the invisible blueprint of our everyday life. How you eat, sleep, and do business, is predominantly habitual. Most of us eat the same breakfast, park our car in the same spot, and follow the same daily routine. Hundreds of habits dictate how you live your life, so creating habits that serve you is a powerful tool to optimise your health, lifestyle, and business.  

Three tips to change your life through the power of habits:

  1. Focus on consistency rather than intensity. It takes, on average, 66 days to change a habit, so keep on keeping on.
  2. Throw away the ‘go hard or go home’ mentality and work towards realistic goals. Our brains can make up to three changes at once, so a clear focus on one or two goals is more achievable and will result in more sustained outcomes.
  3. Use a habit tracker app to stay accountable. Accountability can double your chance of success.

Simon Toohey – Cook, Plant-based Advocate and Sustainability Enthusiast

‘Let food be thy medicine’. A quote by Hippocrates, But let’s move away from deep historical quotes and look at one ingredient and its effects on the mind. To create good fortune by way of our health, a key focus is on Hemp (the edible kind), an absolute all-rounder containing high levels of digestible proteins, including all ten essential amino acids, omega 3 -6 -9  and GLA essential fatty acids. Your brain needs plenty of healthy fats to function the research done on hemp seeds is why it is called a brain food essential.

Keep it simple when looking for ways to add Hemp to your diet. The groundbreaking ingredient can be used in so many applications. From oils to dressings, to salads, to sauces. From savoury to sweet and even a rub. “My method with using hemp in food is this:  I call it the ‘rule of hand’. I reach into my hemp supply, grab a handful, and add it to whatever I’m cooking! 

Alastair Symington, CEO and Managing Director at Blackmores Group

This year my eldest daughter is doing her HSC, so in our household, we are all preparing to support her the best way we can in her final year. Besides taking my Blackmores Executive B Stress, part of staying healthy and positive is ensuring that we find the time together to exercise and spend time outdoors as a family. Ensuring you always maintain a positive attitude is a big part of being healthy and well. Managing my mental, physical, emotional and social energy has always been a priority, as it ensures that I am at my best to take on life’s challenges. I have passed these habits onto my children, and it is the area I know I can offer support not only to my family but also to the incredible community of 1200+ employees spanning the 13 markets we will serve throughout 2023.

Dr Claire Stevens – Tips to improve productivity in the workplace

It is well-known that dogs improve our health and mental well-being, so what impact could they have on our workforce? As a vet, there are not many workplaces I go to where I can’t bring my dogs, and as our approach to work and flexible working practices has shifted over the past few years, pet-friendly workplaces have become more and more common. The result is more and more people experiencing the huge source of happiness, stability and pleasure that pets in the workplace can bring.

According to a study, 70% of employed Aussie pet owners say they would be happier and more productive if they could have their pet at work with them, either on-site or remotely. 

What’s more, the incidental exercise and forced breaks delivered by having pets in the workplace also positively impact our health. The ever-present need for pet toilet breaks encourages workers to take a break and breathe fresh air rather than being sucked into the vortex of the task in front of them for hours. Pets in the workplace will force workers to go outside and find a patch of grass for a few minutes allowing them to feel refreshed and return to work with a little more enthusiasm and, in turn, productivity.