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Driving business resilience

It’s no exaggeration to say these are testing times for businesses. Continuing Brexit uncertainty prolongs the difficulty of making plans and many experts are forecasting a recession. Dealing with market fluctuations is tough on any organisation but we know it’s even harder for SMEs who are often more exposed and more reliant on a smaller base of customers.

Running an SME takes monumental time, determination and skill. Key decisions rest on the owner’s shoulders while their own livelihood and that of their team rests on their ability to adapt and grow the business. This is why it’s more important than ever for SMEs to invest in their resilience to ensure they’re in the best possible position to thrive.

What is business resilience?

Business resilience takes many forms and is made up of elements that arm a business with the skills and abilities to be able to deal with challenges. It’s about a focus on wellbeing – owners and directors taking the time to look after their own mental and emotional health, to step back when they need to and recharge. It’s also about emotional intelligence, and the ability to manage and motivate staff – crucial for any SME.

Running a business can be a lonely existence and owners may feel unable to share their concerns and challenges with friends, families or with their teams. A resilient leader is one that understands that seeking support when it’s needed isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s vital. Whether it’s from business advisors, broker firms, business coach, even friends and family, there is a wealth of experience and knowledge out there that when tapped can help SMEs overcome their current challenge and continue planning their success.

To take an example, for many businesses late payments is an ongoing issue, to the point where many accept it as part and parcel of business life. A resilient leader will take action - they’ll be on the phone chasing, finding out what the hold-up is, asking when they might expect payment and seeking advice from others. They definitely won’t ignore the issue – they’ll accept there is a problem and do something about it.

Finding the right partners and internal advocates

Building a support network of trusted advisors and expert friends is central to the success of many SMEs, especially during times of uncertainty. Real value can be added through something as simple as tapping into a local network of other small businesses and sharing the issues you’re facing. The chances are they are facing similar challenges. It might be that investing time in those conversations results in support that reduces time consuming paperwork, or other admin. The business leader can then focus on other matters.

Even if a clear answer isn’t found, the act of recognising there is an problem and talking it through can inspire some new energy for trying to solve it, for example, to get back on the phone to chase those late payments. This is business resilience.

Resilience is also about taking people with you. People are one of the greatest resources for a company. It can become all too easy in the myriad of demands on your time, that a focus on training, emotional intelligence or personal wellbeing get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Supporting staff in their learning and development boosts their motivation and engagement, and in turn, your long-term success.

Ready and resilient

Resilience is what keeps SMEs going. While little can be done to influence the macro-environment, and to return to Brexit, the specifics of our future trading relationships, SMEs are getting on with everything they can do to keep on growing. It’s so important companies can take the time to foster the right environment that will allow them to continue to thrive. This will put them in the best possible position for when challenges do arise and ensure they’re in a position to keep investing in their staff, their business, and ultimately, their own success.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Richard Waldman, Group Sales Director at Ultimate Finance .

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