The cancelling of the northern leg of HS2 is just the latest example of how uncertainty has impacted businesses across the region.
According to the Chartered Institute of Accountants in England and Wales, concerns over a changing regulatory requirement have become widespread among businesses across the West Midlands. A survey by CIAEW revealed 42% of companies cited this as a concern in Q2 2023, up from 36% in the previous quarter. Other challenges include increased competition in the marketplace, with 37% of companies reporting it as a concern, making it the second most commonly cited issue.
Understanding risk management
As uncertainty is synonymous with risk it’s vital to have an effective risk management strategy in place. A good strategy will identify potential risks and create contingency plans to mitigate the impact of those risks. By embracing risk management, businesses can turn uncertainty into opportunities, for example by spreading risk through identifying new markets or coming up with innovative solutions to potential problems before they impact on growth.
Dealing with uncertainty also involves creating a culture that is responsive to change and is flexible. An adaptive or agile culture means a business can respond quickly to challenges and opportunities. An important part of this is building strong relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders. A business that communicates openly and frequently builds trust and loyalty. That in turn builds resilience which means a business is better positioned to deal with unforeseen events.
Innovation leads the way..
Finally, uncertainty means focusing on innovation. This is a key driver of growth, particularly during difficult times. A successful business will invest in research and development, encourage creative thinking, and foster an entrepreneurial spirit throughout the company. This will help create new products and services that meet changing market demands, giving that business a competitive business advantage.
“Ultimately, successful businesses deal with uncertainty by taking a proactive approach. That means not waiting for uncertainty to strike before acting but anticipating potential risks and opportunities to your business and planning accordingly”, says Joanna Birch, Director, Innovation Enterprise and Employability at BCU.
“By creating a culture of risk management, agility, and innovation, businesses can position themselves to grow, even in uncertain times.”
Introducing Help To Grow, 12-week management courses
BCU has several business services which can help mitigate against uncertainty by facilitating growth, innovation and productivity in the workplace, including its ‘Help To Grow’ management course. Help To Grow is a 12-week course designed specifically to help Senior Managers of Small and Medium sized businesses to boost their performance, resilience and long-term growth through addressing key challenges and opportunities.
The next course starts on 7 November 2023.