It doesn’t take a lot of effort to try and predict what 2018 will look like. And, with the Brexit uncertainty that looms, economic caution seems to be the word on everyone’s lips.  Bill Conerley writing for Forbes tells us that although consumer spend will grow through 2018 and 2019, it will be at a snail’s pace, while PwC predicts even less growth, due to a “squeeze on household spending power from higher inflation and sluggish wage growth.”  But is that a reason to pause, and wait for the storm to clear?

No. Because if we all did that, we’d simply go nowhere. In times of uncertainty, there is one critical thing that every organisation should be doing – and that is to plan for it.

 

Getting your house in order

Jackie Nagel provides a great analogy of what not to do in uncertain times. “Scaling back and playing it safe is surely an option when faced with uncertainty. It’s like holding a small bucket close to our chest. Much like a kid with a special toy s/he grips, we develop a protective posture over that which we currently define as “certainty.” We hold tight. We look down. We guard our territory – all in hopes of retaining this small bit of control. The problem with this position is that with head down and field of vision limited, we fail to see the opportunities within our sphere of influence. The very occurrences that would fortify certainty are hidden from view.” And she’s right.  When things are going well, things move at the speed of light, and we’re often left feeling that we simply don’t have the time to invest in some of those critical back office processes that hold the rest of the business together. You know exactly what I’m talking about – the sometimes un-interesting but critical things that are tugging at your thoughts – reminding you that although sales and new business development is great, without them, you have no foundation.

When times are uncertain, planning for eventuality and What If’s becomes critical. That means spending time on things like operational review, long-term growth strategy review, development of leadership teams, re-aligning functional expertise and more. Call it what you will, taking the time to make sure that your business can stand up to whatever destiny awaits, will determine whether your business sinks or sails through.

 

Prepare for Change

In a previous blog, we highlighted key changes that come into play in December and January in the way that you track and report on revenue.  And this is probably just one example of change that lies ahead. A new trade agreement with the rest of the world, brought on by Brexit, will more than likely be accompanied by even more operational regulation changes and updates. Although you may not know what they will be, what you can do today is to bring all those processes and bad habits to light, and implement a transparent, agile back-office system that, when met with any sort of change, will have no issue adapting. Business agility means that you are fluid in the way that you work, your teams understand and embrace change, focus is on having the right skill performing the right job, delivering at their peak – and when you have that, change becomes friend, not foe.

 

Prepare for Growth

And while we’re only a month away from a new year – one that for many leaves a slight unease in the back of their minds, 2017 is far from over.  Your opportunity to get your business on track for a new economy, can start today. But only if you are prepared to take that first step. And while growth may be the last thing on your mind today, getting ready for it should be. CFPro are passionate about delivering exceptional results. Whether it’s transactional support that you need, or financial compliance reporting, interim management support or simply understanding how to manage your cash-flow, we are the support you need to get you through uncertain times, and get your focus back on where it needs to be.  And that process can start today.

 

Start the new year with confidence – regardless of how thick the fog may appear. It’s time to talk to us.