With all the changes in the current business landscape, from macroeconomic storm clouds like Brexit, to the global nature of competition in a connected world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the climate right now.
Difficult as it is, having confidence in your future as a unique business, and doing everything you can to strengthen your selling points, is the only approach that really makes any sense. It’s a big challenge to set aside worries about the future during uncertain times and focus your energies on the the here and now, but in realistic terms it was the only thing you ever had any control over. Running a successful business in demanding times means ensuring that you consistently make forward progress – building the confidence of your business, your customers, investors and suppliers in the process.
Look to the near future
There may be little point dwelling on the distant future, but in terms of the next few months? That should be in the bag. Keeping forward momentum means turning your attentions to constant, small incremental improvements that are well within your control no matter what is going on in the wider world. If you have evaluated your objectives and put in place a process to bridge the gap and get your business to where it needs to be, then you’ve created a confidence of knowing what the next step is for your staff and customers.
Doing a bit of scenario planning for extreme situations never hurts, but ultimately the majority of your attention needs to be focused on the field of obtainables – things which you can control and which fall within your sphere of influence to improve. From putting in place a new CRM system which will allow you to sell to your existing customers more effectively, to redeveloping with cheap web design to make the user journey seamless, there are always things you can do to improve – so look to those rather than things you can’t influence.
Understand what you don’t know
One of the single greatest assets a business can have is humility – not presuming they know everything, but learning instead to ask the right questions. Every business has it’s blind spots, and that’s okay – but you need to at least understand what you don’t know in order to get better.
Social listening can be a brilliant tool to make sure your direction is fully aligned with the wants and needs of your customer base, as is doing regular Web-based surveys or running focus groups. Just make sure that you have established that feedback loop in one way or another – preferably several channels.
Consider a collaboration
All businesses become naturally more risk-averse in uncertain times, but this can easily have the effect of stifling your growth. A great strategy to overcome this stagnation is to seek out a collaboration – working together with a company that has a complementary offer on a new venture which enables both partners to share information and resources. In that way you split the reward, but also the risk. Collaboration with another business can also give you mutual access to a whole heap of warm leads, and if judged carefully is a highly profitable enterprise.