As we look to the future, one thing we can guarantee, is that uncertainty and change will remain indefinitely. The unforeseen 3 lockdowns that we have all suffered from have led to so many businesses making the wrong choices at the wrong time, ultimately leading some to failure.
How do you prepare a plan when you don’t know what you are planning for?
Plan - The key to ensuring a future is to understand clearly where you are right now and prepare for the worst. Work out what cash reserves and income you have, and how much you need to survive. Identify and access all of the support that is available, make sure you exhaust all avenues.
Having identified your financial position and if there is a substantive gap, with it unlikely that your business will be able to generate income, then you need to make some tough decisions. The last thing you can afford to do from a personal and professional point of view is flog a dead horse, and assume it will get up and start running.
For those businesses that have a future you need to get back to basics. Be clear on what products and services generate the most profit – remember turnover is vanity and profit is sanity. Usually, it is those profit generating products or services that deliver the most value. Revisit your business model and focus purely on value driven activities making sure you have validated the desirability, feasibility and viability of your business. Develop a plan and concentrate on delivering it.
Persevere – Due to the unpredictably of everything around you, if you have a fully validated business model that clearly delivers value then you should focus on this relentlessly. As we have seen over the past 18 months, it is those individuals and businesses that have jumped from one thing to another, without fully understanding their customers’ needs that have failed.
Patience – One thing that the Pandemic has amplified and illuminated is how impatient we have all become.
Whether that is digitally driven – broadband speeds - or simply down to the level of work and life we are trying to balance, our tempers become frayed far easier. As a consequence, if we don’t immediately get the results from our business plan we tend to jump on to the next idea. Once you have a validated plan stick to it and remain patient.
Positivity – In a world full of problems, challenges, issues, trials and tribulations, it is very easy to get caught up in the negativity and just see problems. Being confident and competent requires a positive outlook. Unsurprisingly we are all seeking out people and organisations that make us smile and add value.
Adopt a gratitude attitude - In a day that is filled with frenzied, frenetic and frantic behaviour try even to take five minutes out for yourself. Set a timer for every two hours and spend just one minute closing your eyes and breathing. Start the day by writing down one thing you are grateful for and end the day with one thing that made you smile. You will be shocked how these five, six minutes can help transform how you feel and act, ultimately benefiting you and your business.
Ammar Mirza CBE