Businesses detest uncertainty. They don’t like it when they can’t make forecasts for the future and plan accordingly. If you’re an entrepreneur with any degree of experience, you’ll probably avoid investments with hard-to-predict outcomes.
Unfortunately, we can’t always avoid uncertainty. Whether it’s political turmoil or policy reversals, economic recessions or industry disruptions, we’re never too far away from some concern that makes us feel uneasy about the future of our enterprises.
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If uncertainty is something we can’t totally avoid, how do we thrive in spite of it?
Here are seven steps to surviving and doing well in turbulent business environments.
1. Assess Your Business
Conditions may change. Perhaps they’re already changing. How do you know if you’re prepared for what’s coming?
You can find out how prepared you are by conducting a SWOT analysis. This means you evaluate your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and find out how these match (or don’t match) each other.
Here’s an article that explains how to conduct a SWOT analysis.
2. Improve Your Product
If the signs are that things will get tight soon, you know that your niche will become more competitive. By making improvements to your product before the storm hits, you’ll position your brand to take advantage of the low times and be top on people’s preference list.
3. Change the Public’s Perception of Your Product
You want to keep sales up when the going gets tough. This may mean changing your marketing message to get more people interested in your product.
How do you do this? The first step would be to understand what kind of messaging resonates with your audience, and recast your marketing in that mold.
4. Reallocate Resources
Uncertainty should prompt you to reevaluate your finances, and see how you can make things work more efficiently. Scale down or close non-performing segments of your business, and allocate resources to portions that are doing well (or can weather whatever problems may be coming).
5. Track Internal Indices
Make sure the moves you make are determined by actual data. Keep tabs of sales, inventory, productivity, and other details that provide an insight into the health of your business. If there’s any sign of a slowdown or plummet, you should try to find out what’s causing it and fix it if you can.
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6. Watch the External Environment
Don’t be oblivious to how market movements can affect your business. Track prices, customer tastes and preferences, your industry, and the wider economy, and watch for anything that may affect your business directly or indirectly in any significant way. If you spot them on time, you will be able to prepare accordingly.
7. Be Flexible
If you’ve grown familiar with running your business a certain way, it will be hard to make the adjustments that uncertainty may require. But flexibility and innovation are things your business needs to have in today’s world, where changes occur very rapidly.
You can minimize your exposure to uncertainty by playing in the right sectors and scaling back from risky markets when the dark clouds gather over them. But if you’re unable to shut out every bit of uncertainty that exists, you can take the steps we’ve shared here to pull through it.
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