As we move towards the end of 2016, the thoughts of many business owners are focussed on planning for the coming year. At Blue Sky, we are putting the final touches to our business plan for next year and whilst it’s never easy trying to predict what might happen, an extra flavour has been added into the mix… change.
Of course, business owners are used to change. Adapting to change is in our DNA. Yet, the change that is happening all around us geo-politically, in some way shape or form, will undoubtedly cascade into our businesses – good or bad. Planning for this is difficult. Especially when change is happening at such a pace and is largely out of our control.
As I write, it’s all change in Italy as Renzi, the Prime Minister, resigns. In the UK we have the Supreme Court sitting to decide whether to overturn the ruling that Parliament must ratify the terms for triggering Article 50. We all take positive and negatives out of any situation depending upon our personal views and our specific businesses. For instance, the Italian vote has led to volatility around the Euro. The Parliamentary ruling sees the pound strengthen and the FTSE 100 falling as a result. If you’re involved in overseas trade these changes have important consequences. One thing we all need to consider though, regardless of our business model or the sector we operate within, is the potential impact of uncertainty. Factoring this into our business plans is necessary but not easy.
Now, I’m not a doom monger, far from it, but I have to say as I sat down thinking about our business plan for 2017, I found it harder than in previous years. The variances are enormous… just like the economic forecasts from respective Governments around the world! It then got me thinking about how important a business plan is. It creates a check and balance on the activity within your business and is useful in side-lining emotional biases. Used properly, it acts as an early warning system but on the plus side it highlights opportunities for investment.
The information gathering that feeds into the business plan is of course vital. The Key Performance Indicators are the barometers of the business. When reviewing all the recent external changes, we found ourselves questioning whether we should change some of the things we measure in the business. The answer was clear – yes.
2017 will require us all to be nimble, flexible and adaptable. There will be huge challenges and some fantastic opportunities for many of us. It’s therefore important to shape your business planning to embrace change.