2016 will be remembered as one of the most politically turbulent years in a generation. The nation voted for Brexit, the USA just voted in a president with no political experience – So what next?

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Similar to late June in the UK, emotions will be running high worldwide as the reality of Donald Trump’s win for the US presidency kicks in. Personal views and opinions with sentiment flames fanned by the media circus driven by social media will result in noisy rhetoric and confusion, and all before anything fundamentally material has been implemented or changed.

The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence itself, it is to act with yesterday’s logic – Peter Drucker (1974).

So what can we expect short term? And what preparations should you make if you own or run a business?

Over the coming weeks and months with all the uncertainty due to continuing political party posturing in the UK, the threat of a general election in the UK during 2017 and European and world politics at play, this unrest will cause business confidence to slow and potentially we could see negative growth for the remainder of 2016. Any UK GDP growth in 2017 will very much depend on the outcome of the UK government’s appeal in December to the legal challenge of them solely invoking article 50 and when we push the button to BREXIT. We will also all listen with interest on the 23rd November on how Chancellor Philip Hammond plans to balance the UK’s books in his autumn statement. Plus we have political changes going on over the Atlantic in America.

Consumers and our customers need a clear vison, creating a sense of purpose to instil confidence for them to invest and procure our products and services. However currency exchange rates, world stock markets and commodity prices will continue to be volatile. Therefore;

1. Step back and take an external view: If you haven’t done so already, ensure you take some time to fully understand how these events effect your customers, their customer’s and also your own business costs and the effect on sales. Also review the impact of your personal situation such as drawings, pensions and investments and understand threats and opportunities.

Purchase of big ticket items, cars, trucks, houses, infrastructure and capital equipment expenditure, larger technology investment, along with business merger and acquisitions maybe delayed. Recruitment plans within larger organisations will be stalled. Imported products, oil based products and raw material prices are 10% higher than 3 months ago. If concerned or you envisage a risk to your business, please seek professional advice and don’t do anything radical unless you are professionally advised to. I would also advise that you get more than one professional opinion.

2. Sit down with your key employees and managers and share any potential implications that may affect your business.

Don’t just focus on the negatives as there will be positives too. Not every business sector will be negatively affected. If the pound continues to have a lower value against the world’s main currencies for the next 6-12 months, this will encourage tourists to come to the UK as it’s cheaper. If you are linked to the tourism industry you may well benefit in the short term. The UK population will find it at least 10% dearer to go abroad and stay in the UK, a double boost to tourism particularly across Cumbria. If you export UK produced products or services this could well be a competitive advantage too. Along with overseas company’s attraction to investing in UK property, infrastructure, luxury goods, stocks and purchasing UK based businesses.

3. Draw up 3 potential scenarios based on low, medium and high risks outcomes and create action plans and review at least fortnightly. Agree critical trigger points and implement appropriate actions when necessary.

4. Consistently communicate , be positive and support your staff. Hold staff meetings, tool box talks, 1-2-1s, set up a Q&A forum. Employees could be concerned that their jobs may be at risk and particularly if you have any EU or overseas workers.

By engaging your staff and focusing on improved employee productivity and efficiency, you can make a positive difference to your business bottom line performance even if sales are slow, flat or even decline during 2017.

5. Stay close to your customers , keep in close touch with those who have already ordered but not taken delivery. Reassure them and check if there are risks to cancellations. You may have to incur increased costs, resulting in reduced margins or have repricing conversations to pass on surcharges. These are best to be started as soon as there is likely to be any impact. Again there may even be positive business and profitable opportunities, evaluate your marketplace and exploit these if applicable.

Finally - Ensure you continually analyse your business market drivers, review any medium term business plans based on the above steps and continue to measure performance and adapt accordingly. Agility is and will be a key success factor.

If you are looking to review or grow your business even in these turbulent times, Business Doctors Cumbria offers an initial free business health check and, can help you to establish a clear vision, to start working on the steps to fulfil your aspirations.

For further information please contact Peter Fleming 0845 163 1490 or 07966 686112

Email: peterfleming@businessdoctors.co.uk

Free business health check: www.businessdoctors.co.uk/health-check