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As we enter the second quarter of 2021, businesses should be well into implementing their growth strategy for the year. However, operational costs can fluctuate, especially in the current tough economic climate, these fluctuations can be extensive, and businesses may be thrown a curveball.

Trusted, longstanding suppliers might go out of business (forcing you to find and vet new suppliers in a pinch, which may have a cost implication), annual electricity hikes could end up being more than you projected, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a number of new challenges including additional health and safety protocols that must be implemented at a cost. In the midst of these unforeseen changes, it’s important to be adaptable and open to making adjustments to your company’s annual strategy as and when needed – but without causing too much disruption to your company.

Here are some of the key points to remember when making changes to your strategy mid-stream:

Do your due diligence

Adapting one’s business model involves risks, so it’s best to plan ahead as far as possible and examine all options before taking any steps to modify your company’s strategic plan. Introduce changes slowly where possible and be prepared to return to your previous strategy if the new approach does not yield success.

Revisit KPIs

Any significant changes should start with examining the key performance indicators (KPIs) of a business. Revenue, sales, operating costs and other metrics offer the best view of a business’ current position. This emphasizes the importance of reporting – and shows that having software solutions installed that produce up-to-date automated reports at a moment’s notice has become critical in today’s environment.

Get more input

Asking your suppliers, partners, and even employees for their input may reveal further insights and potential solutions. It could also assist in identifying opportunities presented by the new positioning of the business. Speak to all business stakeholders and take their input into account before deciding on a plan of action.

Ready your team

One of the most common reasons that new business strategies fail is due to the entire team not being adequately prepared. Communication is key, inform and familiarise all employees with the new strategy upfront and provide training where necessary. Evaluate employees based on critical skills in order to identify performance gaps and recruit the required new skills as soon as possible, if affordable.

Review plans often

Once a new plan has been implemented, don’t simply assume it will have the desired result; return to it periodically. A good approach is to evaluate the new business strategy at the three-, six- and twelve-month mark. This will allow you to analyse results, see what is working and was is not and factor this into further changes and expansions, tweaking the strategy where necessary for maximum impact.

Remember that while change is inevitable and necessary for any business, it also has the potential to upset your organisation. Keep the above fundamentals in mind for the best possible chance of success.

About the Author: Ben Bierman

Ben Bierman has been our Managing Director since 2015. He joined our company in 1990 and has risen through the ranks occupying various positions ranging from being a management accountant, Head of Information Technology and Chief Financial Officer. Ben is an avid reader, enjoys classical music and being in the outdoors including for hunting trips. He is our go-to-spokesperson for our SME Confidence Index, SME sector policy and trend matters, and business leadership articles.

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