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The UK faces uncertain political and economical times. Despite employment rates being at the lowest level since 1975 (ONS) and the International Monetary Fund reporting that the UK economy is performing much stronger than expected, consumer spending grew at the slowest  annual pace for three years (Reuters).

More than 99% of private-sector businesses are SMEs, but figures suggest that four in 10 fail within the first five years.

It’s time for SMEs to harness their strengths and thrive in the new world of change. So, how can we plan for both new opportunities and unexpected disruptors?

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can prepare your business for the unpredictable:

Strategic planning

Your strategic plan will be broken down into smaller goals which help you to reach your long-term goal. The benefit of this is that smaller goals are flexible and can be adjusted to suit changes in the environment.

Most opportunities and disruptors are unlikely to have been on your radar even a few months ago. However, by embracing your strategic plan you will have a strong foundation to tackle unexpected events.

You’ll begin to find that opportunities and wins are not random; they’re the result of the implementation of your strategic plan.

Likewise, you’ll be more prepared for disruptors. The planning process and ongoing reviews are the time to consider ‘what ifs?’ By considering worst-case scenarios you’ll have a better understanding of how your business would cope and what measures need to be put in place.

Regular reviews

On a regular basis, consider what’s going well and what’s not. Regular reviews with your team enable you to identify potential opportunities and proactively adapt and allocate resources in order to make the most from it.

It can also help identify what’s not working and potential threats to your strategic plan. Addressing these disruptors enables you to take steps forward and in the right direction.

Agility of SMEs

Small- to medium-sized businesses have the ability to react quickly to emerging circumstances which gives them an advantage over larger businesses. This ability to react quickly and adapt to circumstances enables business owners to become more efficient and effective in their operations.

Through strategic planning and regular reviews, SME business owners should have a much clearer oversight of business and so adjusting  strategic priorities, resource allocation and financial investments is much simpler.

Andy Sleet and Hugo Heij are on the Fluid Business Podcast discussing this article in more detail, listen below:

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