Small businesses must showcase resilience to compete and thrive in the post pandemic world. Here Alison Watson, Head of the School of Leadership and Management at Arden University, explores how SMEs can thrive in 2022.
Covid-19 has had a huge impact on UK SMEs due to a drop-in economic activity in the UK, with smaller businesses being hit harder by the downturn than bigger organisations. The average UK SME saw a 30-percentage point drop in turnover growth between April 2020 and December 2020 (Bank Of England, 2020).
Hopefully we are starting to see the country emerge from a troubled winter into a more positive spring, but the two years of the pandemic so far has shown us just how important business resilience is for the ongoing success of organisations of all shapes and sizes. It is key because it provides longevity for the organisation and enables it to thrive, even when the chips are down and substantial challenges and curveballs are presented to the leadership team.
With this in mind, there are five key things that businesses can do to boost their business resilience in 2022.
Acting quickly and decisively is vitally important as it enable the business to adapt quickly and minimise any disruptions, while also capitalising on new opportunities.
To enable this to happen, it is essential that management teams work collaboratively and efficiently as a unit. They must also be upskilled in decision making processes to enable them to react quickly and autonomously in the event of a challenge to the business.
Stakeholder engagement is key for businesses for a number of reasons ‘ not only does it enable leaders to maintain networks and identify any potential issues ahead of time, but it can also lead to further opportunities for new leads and business development.
For this reason, communicating effectively with business stakeholders will continue to be a key component of any successful business strategy in 2022.
Risk management process and crisis planning will enable businesses to make data-driven business decisions and contingency planning in the face of another crisis.
This directly supports the requirement to act quickly and decisively in the face of a crisis, by providing a plan of action driven by real world insights and data which leaders can trust.
Workforce empowerment and engagement is key to ensuring that key members of the team are on side in times of difficulty and that the workforce trusts and believes in the leadership team.
To achieve this, business leaders should encourage transparency in communication and ensure that they embrace employee participation. By doing this, businesses can harness shared ideas and diversity, while capitalising on the wider skills of their workforce.
Staff need to be adaptable and have the mindset of embracing change, so they are ready for any challenge that the business may meet.
Equally fundamental, is ensuring that the business itself promotes a change culture and helps employees to navigate any transitions that may be needed to keep the organisation on track against its objectives.