As we enter 2016 there are many challenges ahead in the wider environment for SMEs, but to be in a fit state to meet what's ahead, business owners need to have the right strategies in place.
Here my seven key business strategies for 2016.
Vision - If you do not know where you are going, how do you know when you get there? Every business should have a vision which is understood and clear to everyone in the organisation.
Strategy - What strategy do you have to attain your vision? Without a clear, articulated strategy you will merely be fumbling along, dealing with matters as and when they happen to arise. You must deploy direction and control.
Business Plan - Your strategy should be clearly laid out in a business plan with lines of responsibility and time scales defined. This should be an up to date working, living document - not some aged and neglected file gathering dust in a distant drawer.
Leadership - Every business must have a leader/leaders empowered to drive it forward. Leaders must have a clear vision for the business and be able to empower and inspire management to execute its strategy.
Finance - Without cash a business is finished. You will appreciate that the more successful and/or innovative a business is, the more cash it will need.
Retrain and develop talent - I find it amazing the number of talented people is so small as a percentage of the total in the pool. A major part of the UK economy is driven by the service sector - and so people skills are paramount.
Be disruptive - We are operating in a change environment. Businesses that are not disruptive will, in a short space of time, have a reduced or devalued offering to their market.
Mantra for 2016 - 'Change must be understood and embraced'.