Bethan Evan – Insolvency Partner
DD: +44 (0)2920 447512
Despite all the stresses and strains currently being faced, let’s be optimistic. Why? Because this is what strong economies are built on. So let’s take a moment to consider what the future – with all its innovation and opportunity – may hold for owner-managed businesses.
In darkness there is always light
Looking back to the Great War, the world had never seen a period of such devastation and conflict, but despite this the early 20th century bore a myriad of inventions and advances in technology. For example, before 1914, aeroplanes were still relatively new and a marvel to society, but as scientists and engineers worked hard to develop more capable, robust, and faster planes for the benefit of the war effort, these new innovations beckoned in a new era of commercial flights and package holidays.
Add in medical advances, like the first blood bank on the western front, women gaining greater standing in society culminating in casting their vote for the first time, we can see that despite the darkness there was light, innovation and opportunity.
Back to the future
As an Insolvency practitioner I often witness a lot of conflict in the businesses I’m privileged to work alongside. But even in these business’ darkest days, I often observe plenty of optimism and opportunity. The problems that may seem insurmountable to the business owner at this time of difficulty, can serve to focus the mind on what they really want to achieve.
How we turn conflict into opportunity
So where do we start? We begin by looking at the current business scenario and the problems affecting it. We move on to asking the business owner manager to consider what they want the future of the business to look like and, crucially, what resources are available. If there is scope to achieve this ambition, we might then review any existing barriers and plan how to overcome the.
In essence, we challenge the status quo by shifting our mindset from what we know about today, to what the business could be tomorrow.
Working in the new ‘normal’
It is clear that the future could look very different indeed. Many of us are now getting used to a new way of working – replacing the morning commute to the office with the short walk to our home office instead – as well as an improving work-life balance and a reduction in our overall energy consumption improving both our own and the environment’s health. In the business new ‘normal’, we are seeing specific demands met by productions lines, supply chain collaborations and huge amounts of government spending with further promises of significant improvements to communications infrastructure and medical advance.
Sadly, despite all these transformational achievements and the availability of funding, we are likely to see many business fail; some during the height of the crisis, while others during the recovery as they try to adapt. This is likely to be as a consequence of demand and supply adaptations, social and demographic changes and advances in technology.
What should businesses be doing now?
As businesses up and down the UK continue to batten down the hatches to ride out this economic crisis, they should remain focused on their future by using scenario planning techniques to consider how the new world order might affect them.
Whatever the circumstances or situation, it is possible to come out of this stronger, armed with new ideas, new businesses, new respects (for our NHS, delivery drivers and don’t forget toilet roll manufacturers!) and new perspectives.
As well as nurturing some optimism, the key to being able to harness any opportunities and innovate in a time of crisis, is seeking the right professional advice at the right time. Finding a professional advisor that you can lean on to take the strain, will leave you free to move forward, create new ideas and uncover new wealth-generating opportunities.