After a weekend of confusion, recriminations; and celebrations in the Leave camp as this week dawns and reality sinks in there will be plenty more questions as to where to next in what is uncharted territories for both the UK and the EU. And, with the EU calling for the UK to begin the leave process as soon as possible, it is becoming increasingly clear that for all the grand statements made there does not seem to be a concrete plan in place for UK’s exit and future. So, in light of what has just happened, there are general lessons to be learned regardless of whether you live in the UK or not.
As an entrepreneur the unexpected in this case being anything from the introduction of new laws, shifts in customer tastes and expectations, a recession, currency swings, natural disasters or future technology. These are just a few of the things that can have a major impact on you and your business, making it important to be prepared for the unexpected as best you can.
You should do this by:
- KEEPING AN EAR TO THE GROUND – Business is not conducted in a vacuum making it vital to always be aware of what is happening in the world around you. You should already be in the habit of factoring and periodically reviewing potential threats into your business development strategy if you have one, creating a series of responses should those threats come to pass. In other words, keep doing your homework; with the world changing rapidly, this is not a time for complacency. And, if you don’t have a business development plan now is a good a time to create one. As a rule, don’t just focus your attention on your industry sector(s) of operation, cast your net wider. For example, if you are an online or digital entrepreneur in retail, keeping an eye on technological developments, in general, is crucial to enabling you to respond appropriately if and when changes come.
- KEEPING AN EYE OPEN FOR OPPORTUNITIES – For all the scaremongering and doom and gloom that tends to accompany change, remember that threats can also bring with them opportunities. For example, the last recession, in which many people lost their jobs, actually led to a rise in entrepreneurship, a shift in mindset that continues today as more people than ever before seek a more secure future on their own terms. Other opportunities could include new markets opening up or a sudden gap for a new product or service. When identifying potential threats to your business, try to think of what opportunities could arise and some of the ways in which you could respond.
Planning ahead does not always mean you will avoid the fallout, but it can help to soften the blow by giving you a head start in navigating the challenges. Brexit is already having an immediate effect on business as international markets reacted to the news, and in the panic, the sterling has slid heavily against global currencies. But amid all this, there were a number of leading UK-based international businesses that immediately began the process of implementing the contingency plans they had prepared months in advance.
So, when the unexpected does happen, having planned ahead and anticipated the potential impact to your business will enable you to keep a level head, and resist being caught up in reactive and impulsive decision-making that could be harmful to your business in the long run, without preventing you from moving quickly should you need to.
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