Undoubtedly, as the politicians continue to disrupt business confidence, we are all sitting and contemplating the future for business in the UK. It is a stigma and situation the country seems to adopt all too readily; the media fuelled debate or debacle has many of us watching on with a slight element of trepidation around what the future holds.
For many of us in business we have been through both strong and difficult economic periods and, undoubtedly, each of us have positive and negative stories to tell. However, the interesting aspect of terms like ‘slow growth’ or even that horrible ‘R’ word is, in reality, quite miniscule compared to the technological evolution we are experiencing now. Economic conditions in the UK fluctuate in minute terms in comparison to other global economies and that is of huge benefit to businesses in the UK.
Opportunities are most certainly available to business in most economic situations. We may feel that there are many instances in business where we don’t feel in control and market forces is certainly one of them but to lose sight of goals because of fear isn’t, and shouldn’t, be part of the nature of an entrepreneurial nation of business owners.
My personal thoughts are not to ignore but to embrace. If growth drops by 1%, this in reality taking it on equal terms, meaning each sector drops by 1%. This percentage has a significant monetary value and will see casualties but it can also see huge amounts of opportunity develop in the same way as a period of exceptional economic growth. Each market sector has the ability to change and evolve well beyond economic conditions through technological progress and innovation. The key denominator for business success, no matter what the economic situation, is building financial strength, strategic planning to stay ahead of your competitors and not being lost in the fear of a media-fuelled irrelevance. That is to say embrace change, continually evolve your business model, and lead from the front.
How not to embrace change
A great example of where leadership has failed is perfectly demonstrated by some past and present well known high street retailers failing to fully embrace the opportunities the digital world as to offer. This could be deemed as a reluctance to change, poor forecasting, expecting the move towards online retail to be a temporary glitch, or indeed pulling a few loaded bags of wool over their eyes. The world of business is an ever-evolving machine and the technological evolution is set to gain even more momentum in decades to come. UK businesses that lead, innovate and manage their own evolution will be the winners in the long-term. The leaders will create long-term plans and a vision for their business, predicting market trends and embracing opportunity.
As a business coach I find this part of the work I do fascinating and incredibly exciting. The new products, services and continuous level of innovation which are being created to meet the demands is purely dictated by change and we, as business owners, need to be focusing on this in the long-term. Without exception every market place has these opportunities. It could be fundamental changes or small incremental differences that dictate how we evolve but each element of business evolution provides us all with opportunity!
Change isn’t just about new innovation!
One of the interesting aspects surrounding change is also how we function as a business on a daily basis. I mentioned how some retailers have been reluctant to change their business model. Being assertive with our decisions based on planning and greater understanding is incredibly important but many businesses still adopt a mentality that sees no need to change. The old adage of ‘we have always done it this way, so why change it’ really doesn’t work in business today and especially cannot work in an environment where technology evolves so quickly. For example, it could relate to a company’s own internal technology, the systems they run, the equipment they use to manufacture, or could be the process of marketing and sales and how they use technology to enhance their profile to an interested audience. Standing still in any of these situations is probably the biggest negative I have experienced in business coaching. Little or no action to change the situation far outweighs anything the media can bombard us with.
My advice to every business owner is to continually embrace change, seek out opportunity, explore your market (and new associated ones) and never take what you have now as the standard. You simply cannot afford to!
If you have concerns around the future of your business and want to focus on how you can evolve your business and become the lead amongst your competition, my two-hour free introductory meeting can certainly kick start that process. Contact me today to arrange an appointment.