Across the UK, businesses small and large have been riding the wave of uncertainty brought with the pandemic, and for many, it’s their first experience with a truly tumultuous period in business.
For many business owners, the last significantly detrimental economic event was the 2008 recession, and many of the current businesses, particularly SMEs, haven’t been operating for long enough to have experienced the impact of it and therefore don’t have a reference point.
Finding a way to navigate sudden periods of change can be difficult, particularly when it seems impossible to predict the next set of changes before you’ve even had a chance to act on the last ones.
However, change is an inevitable part of business – it’s one you shouldn’t be scared of.
Here are a few ways you can start to feel a little less daunted by uncertain periods in business.
1) Forecast forward
As mentioned previously, you can’t predict the next set of changes you may face, but you can certainly plan ahead for a few things.
As a general rule of thumb, forecasting up to three months ahead is best, and this forecast should be updated fortnightly to account for aspects such as sources of cashflow to get a clear picture.
By monitoring your finances closely, though it may seem excessive, you can have a little more flexibility and also have the ability to visualise your strategy clearly.
If you forecast on a micro-level initially, you should be able to assess your new goals and vision for the long-term and update it if needed
2) Be proactive rather than reactive
Once you’ve got a better idea of your finances moving forward, the temptation may be to make dramatic moves in response to the sudden changes that are occurring.
However, the best possible response is to be more proactive, rather than reactive – instead of taking drastic measures to change, embrace it!
It may seem scary, but times of uncertainty are also periods of opportunity, as it’s the opportunity for businesses to review their priorities and re-focus their energy into new avenues if they wish to.
You may find your business has new priorities, for example, you may decide to move your resources towards a more environmentally-conscious business model, which you may not have had the opportunity to prioritise before.
3) Don’t wait for recovery, capitalise on change
We all have safety nets, and for a business owner, it can be hard to resist the temptation to just wait it out and keep everything the same for the sake of security.
The main difference between a business that thrives in periods of change versus one that barely survives is the decision to move with change rather than against it.
It may require drastic moves in terms of your business model and trading portfolio, but it will be far more favourable to adapt to circumstance rather than wait for things to return to ‘normal’.
Periods of uncertainty can be extremely intimidating and threatening to your business, but in reality, they can be a great time for opportunity and can provide a chance to show great and innovative leadership!
You customers will also benefit from a more level-headed and flexible approach, which may increase long-term support from them in the future due to an impressive response in times of uncertainty.
I would always advise seeking out the assistance of a Financial Adviser in times of uncertainty to gain further clarity and plan ahead for the ups and downs of running a business, too.