Regardless of your views on Brexit, potentially there are major changes on the way within the European Community. It is impossible to forecast the scale of these and how they will impact home markets.
It was reported in the news that import costs had risen 20% due to the fall in sterling against other currencies. There were also predictions a couple of days ago of continued falls in sterling, possibly up to 16%.
The BBC reported that Greece is considering leaving the EU and has not ruled out adopting the dollar as currency. The debate for Grexit has begun.
Pundits are queuing to present both sides of the argument – whether Britain is going to be in better or worse shape now that we are committed to Brexit. History alone can be the judge. Britain could be seen as a leading nation by taking the step to leave the EU, or it may be deemed one of our darkest moments.
Whilst opinion polls and so-called experts debate, the critical task for business owners today is to build the most robust and flexible businesses to match the possible shifts in the British, European and World economies, depending on the markets the business competes in.
Flexible business and strategic planning is the key…
Now is the time to gather your team of advisors to plan your future and support your business. If you work with an outside consultant, then you need them closer to your team than ever before. You need that subjective view from all angles and cannot afford small-time thinking based on the possibility that somebody is looking after their little ivory tower. Get Your First Meeting In The Diary!
Create an agenda for a longer strategic workout. This meeting is required to understand what you know and most importantly, what you don’t know!
- What do you know about your industry?
Where do you see it heading? Who is leading this and how is this potential destination going to help your business? What if there was an alternative destination for the industry but needs a leader to show the way? Could this be your opportunity?
- What are your potential markets in two years or more?
What influences are there on this market or the intelligence about this market both internally and externally? What innovations are due to enter the markets you currently compete in during this period and how does your team foresee the impact of this innovation? What is your business doing to innovate to counter this or get ahead?
- Which products or services are you forecasting to emerge in the next two years from your business?
Where do they fit into the big picture? Do these new products require increased capability, increased capacity, bigger, better, brighter ideas now to be ready to launch a mark 2 version or add these to the launch model to give you greater competitive advantage?
- Which competitors do you consider to be your biggest threat and why?
Which businesses should you be targeting for acquisition or joint venture to shut out your competition from using or acquiring them?
- Which resources do you most expect to lose or sell off over the next five years.
Is this essential and if so, why not sell them faster to streamline your existing operation?
- Which team members are responsible for scenario planning?
What have they done so far to forecast your future? What resources do they need now to free up more time to study the market and present a range of options?
Without generating data and thinking carefully using sensible assumptions, nothing will happen. It takes time to gather data and therefore your team and business are not ready to make decisions, test assumptions etc without first gathering.
There’s a saying, “you reap what you sow” This is the order and you cannot change it. If you fail to gather intelligence, then how on earth will you make a decision that counts for anything? You may as well stick your finger in the air and make guess.
Your first strategic meeting is to understand what you currently know, what needs to be known, who is going to gather the data, analyse it and present the findings. The second stage is to arrange your team for the big meeting where you ask the most difficult questions, pool together your resources and create a flexible game plan with SMART goals based on solid information, and yet with the ability to change direction quickly.
A business that remains inflexible will most likely go out of business within the next 10 years.
I run a small business, what can I do?
Small businesses need to undertake a similar exercise albeit on a much smaller scale. The above questions may still be relevant and it may be that you need less consideration to people and resources due to the size of your business.
My advice would be to set time aside every week to spend more time working on the business rather than working in it. You need to figure out what help your small business needs. This means booking out your diary more often and do not neglect this time for anything or anyone. Or you miss, you catch up rather than delete the diary event and play catch up next week. We all know that just won’t happen and another excuse will come along to ensure your time is taken.
For the small business owner, the one key issue is you. You need to value your time more, value your health and remain focused on delivering only what you can do. If somebody else in your business can do what you are doing then you need to decide whether you should be doing what the task in the first place. Perhaps you need to re-evaluate exactly what you do that is so strategically important to your business. You should be doing the tasks that only you can do – delegate the rest, use the support of others. If this frees up your time, then make sure you use it wisely.
There’s a train heading into the UK entitled Brexit. Nobody knows where it will go and what will happen when it arrives. You cannot afford to be hit by the train because you were too busy focusing on the wrong things in your business.6 Questions To Ask Your Business To Help Plan For Your Brexit Future Click To Tweet
Irrespective of the size of your business, you need to be watching, listening, learning, thinking more than you’ve ever done. I said earlier that Brexit is a train coming to our shores. It may be a huge vehicle of prosperity or a business’ version of the Grim Reaper.
Your job now is to be on your guard and be ready to take a bold step to ensure your business survives and thrives. Your business needs to be lean and flexible, like a boxer swiftly moving out of the corner as their opponent steps in for the knockout blow.
We have been in the information age for some time now, and it is imperative that business owners wake up and realise that business intelligence through information gathering is critical in helping them to survive in the medium to long term. This, coupled with robust computer security, will help you make the right decisions whilst simultaneously protecting your business from its competitors.
As the saying goes, “it’s the start that stops most people.” Start today, to ensure you remain on target to survive and thrive, when other businesses are floundering in the chaos that huge market shifts and uncertainty create.