Preparing your business for tomorrow
As a wise ex-Chairman of mine once said “the one thing you know for sure about the future is that things will be different.” With that in mind you have the requirement to manage, review and evolve your business strategy, adapt to change, be prepared for any HR issues and look at ways to keep ahead of competitors. Businesses cannot afford to sit still. The world is changing on a daily basis meaning that those who want to succeed must look ahead continuously to ensure the best initiatives are in place to deal with the evolving landscape.
Identifying and investing in the areas of the business that are going to deliver the greatest level of productivity possible is a good place to begin. The pace of change is rapid; businesses must ensure they have the capability to keep up with developments and the changing needs of customers that occur as a result, whilst at the same time continually refine the processes and strategies already in place.
Mapping out skills requirements and taking action to fill these gaps is essential if growth is going to be possible. Whether it’s through creating new roles and recruiting or by implementing training schemes, businesses must ensure they have the correct workforce in place to meet changing requirements. Investing in growth and development schemes within the business will help keep staff turnover at a minimum and equip the team with the expertise required to stay ahead of the curve and deliver results. No matter what level, there are always opportunities to hone skills and gain further understanding of the evolving marketplace – organisations rely heavily on those within them to achieve growth plans, so it’s vital to ensure development structures are being put in place to keep momentum going.
Initiatives to improve working processes, such as the Lean Improvement Techniques, enable businesses to ascertain where changes can be made across the organisation to deliver a more efficient service. Through encouraging employees to be more commercially aware, refining approaches and eliminating areas of waste, businesses can make huge savings and be in a great position to deliver more value to clients. Getting the basics right and identifying bottlenecks also ensures a business is more capable of seamlessly implementing new techniques being demanded by the evolving market.
The impact of technological developments has been widely publicised, and this is showing no signs of slowing. Businesses that want to stay ahead must ensure they are allocating sufficient budget to improve, refresh and update IT systems regularly. Technological investment should now longer be viewed as a luxury – it’s a must for organisations looking to keep up with changing customer behaviour and meet increasing expectations. The tools and opportunities are there for the businesses that take action and offer new ways to deliver better customer interactions. Those that do this now will be better equipped to meet the changing demands in the future.
Considering corporate governance and how the business is run both legally and ethically is another vital area. Most companies have some element of awareness about this, but it is all too easy to miss things where some form of compliance is required. SMEs in particular, are notoriously lacking in areas of compliance, especially when it comes to environmental surveys for instance. I would personally recommend anyone who has not had an asbestos management survey carried out to carefully consider getting one, even if they believe that there is no asbestos in their building, as it is a requirement to prove so. Now not wanting to misquote Michael Cain, but “not a lot of people know that”. It’s the boards’ responsibility to make these things happen. Health and safety breaches can lead to imprisonment in the most extreme cases.
Ensuring the risks, liabilities and responsibilities of an organisation are clearly defined and understood are important. This is not just a nice thing to be able to boast about at the pub, people will be relying on you, from the Chairman to the cleaner. Ensuring that you have a clear chain of command, whilst making sure everyone feels involved and valued is incredibly important. Exemplary conduct is required of the board both internally and externally as the value of a business can be severely impacted upon by poor PR created through unacceptable behaviour. You only have to look at some banks to see the damage that can be done in a moment of indiscretion.
At Granby we regularly take the time to review our entire business operations and identify the areas of the organisation that require attention in order to maintain growth momentum and enter emerging markets. Whether this is by recruiting a new team member to look after a specific area of the business, or simply new technology to streamline business operations: these adjustments could be minor, but will help deliver huge value in the long-term.
As businesses accelerate these needs will change, therefore boards that regularly address the direction of their company will be more balanced and equipped to deal with the future. Competitors will certainly have growth front of mind; businesses wishing to hold a profitable position in the evolving market have no choice, but to act now.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Stephen Bentley .
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