Where’s your crystal ball?

With all the forecasting software and new data prediction techniques available, you would imagine that seeing into the future has got easier. But I am willing to bet every business decision maker in the UK would say that just isn’t true.

For all the gains you have from Big Data and new analytical tools, there is also the potential for a long line of setbacks and challenges. The first of these is: do you know the right questions to ask to get the clarity and insight you are looking for? That is an internal issue. If we add external events then the picture gets far more complex: terrorism threats, a tragic spotlight on the need to re-evaluate fire risks at premises, political upheaval across the globe and even weather events.

This list would certainly not be complete without mentioning the fact UK businesses face around two years of uncertainty (at the very least) due to negotiations leading to Britain’s exit from the EU.

Oh, and of course, the alarming shortage of certain skill sets in the UK workforce, especially in science, technology, engineering and maths.

The General Data Protection Regulation goes live in a few months, so how will that affect companies who are battling to stay compliant with existing laws?

That’s a lot to think about, with many uncertainties along the road.

All on top of running the everyday operations of your business.

Have you got a crystal ball? No. Neither has anyone else – whatever they may say!

But you can take time out to put measures and plans in place to see your company through transition and change – whatever form those challenges take.

One of the most important tools to cope with an uncertain future is an honest and thorough evaluation of your current company status and situation.

How can you travel an uncertain road if you don’t know where you are now?

Then, you can plan and execute a series of key performance and control measures that create resilience and flexibility.

This could include, for example, solidifying and inspiring your workforce, or creating a financial “slush fund” to cushion any monetary obstacles. Disaster recovery: how would you cope with a fire in your core office? Or your data centre flooding/going offline? It could also feature starting work on new innovation and exploring new markets ready for if the bottom drops out of a core revenue stream.

What about mapping a future skills list for your company – and starting to nurture and source the right talent and personal attributes you need to get you through tough times? Or to support growth opportunities?

The list of positive action is actually extensive. You don’t need a crystal ball. You do need an adaptable, agile and responsive plan for the coming years. Then your business is ready to face whatever lies ahead.

Contact St Andrews Highway for help to identify the best way forward in uncertain times.

Image credit: Sunset Photography. Crystal ball Photography by Rachel Olmanson licensed under Creative commons 6