Despite the apparent resilience of the UK economy, there are clouds on the horizon. Most forecasters predict a slowdown in 2017, albeit without GB slipping into recession. What will ultimately happen following Brexit is uncertain and the outcome won’t be known for some considerable time yet. Italy voted no confidence. Europe is lurching to the right. The USA lurched to the Trump. Russia continues to show its muscles and the pound makes it tough for importers and helps exporters.
These factors, along with many I haven’t mentioned, mean that the future is uncertain. But, hasn’t it always been that way? No-one can predict the future, at least with any certainty. If we could, we’d probably be wealthy and wise. History is littered with failed economic predictions at the best of times and few predicted the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression that we’ve just experienced.
The fact is that we need to get used to change and uncertainty. If you’re in business and you expect it to be calm waters all the way to your destination, you’ll probably be disappointed. Uncertainty is always present. Change could be political, economic, technological or social. Things don’t stand still. And the only thing you and your business can do is to try to plan for change, adapt to it when it comes and control what you can. Nothing is forever.
Despite circumstances, business needs to focus on moving forward. Paralysis isn’t good for your bottom line. Of course, it would be foolish to ignore every indicator and pundit and go on an unprecedented spending spree if your cash flow is shaky at best. It’s wise to plan. It makes sense to analyse the market and your customer base and assess your product and service portfolio in terms of fitness for purpose. That’s particularly against current and new competitors. However, burying your head in the sand and stopping all investment is foolhardy. That often compounds the problem and gives your competitors advantage.
So, make some decisions in 2017 that will ensure that your company prospers come what may. Ensure that your business takes advantage of the inactivity of competitors if they are hanging back. Check out our 5 tips below:
- Look at what the experts are saying. Of course, experts can be wrong and have been wrong many times. Some readers will remember Michael Fish and the ‘non-hurricane’ of 1987? Plenty of commentators get year-end FTSE predictions very wrong. Equally there are signals, and it pays to at least take forecasts into account. Whether UK PLC grows 0.8% in 2017 or heads above 1% is arguable and a moot point. We’re not likely to head into recession, suggesting a more stable environment than was perhaps expected. That’s a recipe for optimism as opposed to the alternative. And, it’s a sign that if you can be confident of growth if you focus on the right activities in your particular marketplace.
- Where are your opportunities abroad? If you’re an exporter, there are plenty. Now is the time to get out there and take advantage of the weaker Pound. It has strengthened to some extent in recent months but there is no doubt that UK is open for business and there will be opportunities arising from the weakness of sterling. Whether you cater for tourists coming to Britain or have a great product or service where the past exchange rate has prevented you from looking beyond these shores, opportunities are out there for you so go and explore.
- Embrace change on your doorstep. Identify what markets are growing here in the UK? You don’t necessarily need to go too far to find opportunities. We talked about change above. There is constant change right here. Legislative changes take place every year. For example, new GDPR laws are coming in 2017 and that may open up potential if you’re in the business supplying services to businesses where compliance is imperative. Take a look around and evaluate what’s going on at home from which your company can take advantage.
- Audit your market and your offering. They say, in tough times, it’s survival of the fittest. How fit is your business? How do you stack up against competitors? Is your proposition unique or commoditised? Do you have a set of solutions that differentiate you? Customers are swamped for choice. It’s easy to find a supplier through simple search or by asking your network on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or elsewhere. Based on where you are now, will prospective clients find you and how will they react when they do?
- How visible are you? The reality is that if you have no presence, you won’t grow. What are you doing to get in front of potential new customers? Hiding the best kept secret away isn’t going to win business. Is your website up to scratch? Is your social presence likely to add to your credibility or detract? Are you out of the office networking and are you undertaking outbound and inbound marketing campaigns to drive new opportunities?
There’s never a right time to promote your business. Lots of businesses hunkered down during the lean times of the recession years. But that is in the past. Whilst there are always clouds on the horizon, that shouldn’t mean that you should constantly stay at home and not get out and enjoy the sun. That time is now.
GSA helps businesses become more effective in their marketing and business development. We run outbound telemarketing campaigns into the UK, Europe and further afield. Also, with our experience, we provide telemarketing training to help sales teams improve their results. If you’d like to know more, give us a call.