Businesses have had a lot to contend with in the last couple of years, and many of the challenges are still here with us.
From supply chain issues and soaring costs to staffing difficulties, any business owner has had to think on their feet and react to several major shifts in the economy to ensure they stay afloat.
There’s nothing you can do to influence or predict those external influences, but there are steps you can take to make sure your business is as adaptable – and therefore resilient – as possible.
Know where you stand
To make quick decisions and react to challenging circumstances, you need to have a clear idea of your business’s position now. That includes being clear about your goals and strategy, as well as having a good picture of your finances at any given moment.
Real-time financial information through accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks is a huge advantage for this, giving you a strong basis of data to base your key decisions on. Should crisis strike, it means you’ll know right away what your cash position is, whether you can handle any financial shocks, or whether you need to make any changes to deal with it.
Map out different scenarios
Building on your financial data, you can also use your software’s reporting tools, in combination with professional advice, to understand the impacts of specific changes within your business.
This might mean seeing how the numbers change if you suffer a particularly bad quarter, or on the flip side, if things go much better than expected. You can also draw up forecasts that show the impacts of hiring a new member of staff, changing your product offering, expanding or streamlining your business, or making any other major changes.
Your accountant can talk you through this to draw out meaningful insights from the data, and apply this to an adaptable business strategy.
Upskill your team
The world of work is changing rapidly, and as technology develops and new applications of automation emerge, many people will see the nature of their jobs change, too.
This makes it especially important to stay on the ball when it comes to the services your business provides, as well as the skills of the people you employ.
Providing opportunities for development will reduce the risk of those jobs becoming obsolete, or of a skills gap emerging in your business. Plus, it should help you to recruit and retain talented members of staff – after all, most people want to feel they’re learning and developing in their role.
However you adapt your business in response to new challenges, the important thing is that you communicate this clearly to everyone it affects – your customers, employees and stakeholders.
Over-communication is generally better than under-communication in this case. You might have a clear idea of your business’s new direction in mind, but if other people aren’t so sure, it’ll be hard for them to stay on board and engaged with what you’re doing.
Communication is important to reassure your team and any shareholders or investors that the changes in your business are controlled and planned. But it’s also a good opportunity to drum up some renewed excitement and interest in what you’re doing next.
Be open to change
Finally, a key quality of an adaptable business is your attitude to change. This is a bit harder to measure and judge, but it’s still essential.
In many cases, this is about letting go of the need to do things the way they have always been done, or sticking to strict rules about how your business works.
It’s also about accepting mistakes will happen – if your team is too worried about making a mistake to try anything new or innovative, you’ll find it very difficult to enact any kind of change. As a business leader, be ready to acknowledge and learn from your own mistakes, and encourage others to do the same.
Get in touch to talk about planning for your business’s future.