For better or worse, uncertainty is something we all have to deal with in life. Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty in the air. In the UK, Brexit is looming ever closer and many businesses are worried about how it will affect their industry. Will the UK stumble into an economic abyss? Or will the economy thrive in the wake of it’s EU exit?
One part of dealing with uncertainty is accepting the present and that there is inevitably things which are outside of your control. However, there are some things that you can control and will help you navigate these uncertainties so you can best mitigate the risks faced by your business.
1) Maintain Strong Trust and Communication
Strong foundations of trust with industry stakeholders are paramount if businesses are to operate effectively. Trust relies on healthy channels of communication between employees, managers, customers and subcontractors.
Having one platform where communication takes place and is documented means that key details involving all aspects of the work are readily available and can be tracked if required. If your current channels of communication are fragmented and broken, it’s worth considering changing your methods. This way you will have all your information at your fingertips and your business will be ready to jump into action, instead of being caught up trying to trace what happened in the past.
2) Attune Your Awareness
Do you know what is going on in your business? Is the work being carried out to a good enough quality? What is the standard of well-being for your employees?
It’s important to understand where you and your business are right now. Make sure you are up to date with the figures including financial performance, so that you have a full awareness of your cash flow and forward sales position.
3) Stay Informed
Not only do you have to keep attuned to what is going on inside of your business, but also what is happening in the outside world. This includes customer trends, economic changes, competitor analysis and all of the other areas that may affect your business. Make sure that the information you are gathering is backed up by quantitative data and facts, rather than basing your assumptions on hearsay or sensationalist news.
4) Spread Risk
What are the key risks to your business? Work out whether the risk is too high for certain areas and respond by spreading the risk. This could include increasing your number of customers or suppliers, reducing debt or moving some of your business operations to a different location.
5) Carry Out Scenario Analysis
Following on from assessing risk, scenario analysis can be a helpful way to test different models to help mitigate future loss. Start by defining the objective and gathering data. Identify the key factors, trends, and uncertainties that may affect the plan.
It might be helpful to do a PEST analysis to help you analyse the political, economic, socio-cultural, and technological changes in your business environment. You can develop potential scenarios by separating certainties from uncertainties to understand the risks to your business in the short, medium and long term.
6) Be Agile
In times of high uncertainty your business needs to adopt a posture of flexibility. Make sure you have plans and procedures in place so you can proactively react when presented with big changes. Staying as you are will only lead you to falling behind your competitors.
Managing uncertainty and striving for expansion simultaneously is a challenge, but it is not impossible. Making sure you are on top of each of these 6 steps will enable you to be prepared when presented with unexpected events - allowing both your business and employees to grow.
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