What is preventing leaders from effectively preparing their business for the future?
There are a variety of reasons that stop businesses from achieving the long-term success they wish:
- Ignoring their customers – Many business leaders don’t spend time getting to know their customers, their wants and needs, and registering their feedback. All of this knowledge is essential to help a business make improvements, keep up to date with trends and develop new products to remain relevant.
- No business growth strategy – Strategic plans are important to help provide the direction for the business and determine what should be prioritised. A lot of businesses neglect this and go in different directions, wasting time focusing on areas that were not really important.
- Lack of understanding and clarity of productivity and pricing – If a business begins to grow, but their products and/or services are under-priced, it can become unprofitable very quickly.
Businesses are starting to plan ahead. The SME Finance Monitor has reported that 42 percent of SMEs are saying their plans are now future-focused, an improvement on previous reports but still less than half.
As a business mentor, I often discuss ‘future proofing’ with SMEs.
Essentially, this is a process of preparing your business for the future to ensure it does not become obsolete. It’s about giving your business a fighting chance at longevity.
Businesses need to:
- Be clear on the risks that may impact the business
- Understand customer behaviours, trends and demands so that they can cater to them
- Recognise any industry and general developments that may impact them
- Ensure that the business has a range of methods for generating revenues, rather than relying on one.
The importance of risk management planning
Risk planning is an essential element to business success, yet most SMEs that I come into contact with spend zero time on it.
Without preparing for potentially disastrous occurrences, they leave it open and vulnerable. By spending time identifying and putting plans in place to deal with risk, businesses stand a much greater chance of weathering negative impacts on their business.
Additionally, if they are not identifying the risks which may prevent them from adequately implementing their growth strategy, it may be impossible to achieve it due to these risks derailing the implementation.
Being prepared is the best line of defence. It can also help identify new opportunities which the business could capitalise on to help them achieve growth. If Covid-19 taught us anything, it is that nothing in business is certain.
By having robust risk management plans for a business, it helps to be prepared for a multitude of possibilities.
Businesses that had already been preparing their business for the future via work from home policies and multiple revenue streams were able to better respond to the lock down, versus those who have always stuck to business as usual.
Engaging businesses with expert, accessible advice
I recently gave a workshop on future proofing your business at STEAMhouse, having provided a number of workshops at BCU in the past. They are always great experiences.
The participants were engaged throughout and left with the enthusiasm to go and start implementing the recommendations in their business.
I love running sessions where everyone participates. It’s clear that they make a difference in how they will run their business moving forward.
Sometimes, workshops can become incredibly technical and audiences can succumb to ‘death by PowerPoint’.
I ensure my sessions are upbeat. I make jokes and try to get everyone involved rather than talking at them. I’m committed to providing actionable tasks that attendees can take away and immediately implement in their business.
Support with business growth strategies and more
Small businesses should seriously consider joining a business support facility like STEAMhouse.
They are a great opportunity for you to receive expert advice, learn new things and network with likeminded business owners.
I have worked with a number of companies who have been part of STEAMhouse’s programmes. I’m really excited about the new space and all the great stuff they have coming up.
They should also consider working with a coach or business mentor to receive one-to-one support and tailored advice.
All of this can help a professional in preparing their business for the future.
Find out more about Daniella’s work by visiting the She’s the Boss International website.