How to Keep Your Business Sustainable in Difficult Times
Businesses must streamline their operations to remain sustainable during periods of global turmoil.
These can seem like difficult times for business. Whether it’s the lack of a definitive Brexit solution or the escalating trade tensions between China and the Trump administration, businesses today find themselves faced with more uncertainty than ever. In difficult times, business leaders should be looking for ways to ensure that their growth and overseas expansion remain sustainable, no matter the circumstances they encounter along the way.
Fortunately, there are a number of steps that businesses can take to prepare themselves for periods of uncertainty, by streamlining and improving their operations for the sake of long-term sustainability.
Research and Pre-planning Are Essential
With the international situation experiencing such frequent and dramatic upsets, foresight is now one of your most valuable tools. Businesses should be keeping a close eye on the bigger global picture, as well as the individual circumstances of any markets they are planning to operate in.
For example, in the immediate wake of the Brexit referendum result, a number of businesses quickly began assessing their options. Galvin International, my expansion consultancy, were approached by a number of organisations asking about the practicalities and benefits of establishing a legal entity within the EU.
Although the official date of Brexit was, at that point, still three years away, this early planning has proven to be particularly prudent, given the constant confusion, back-tracking and lack of clarity that has followed. Understanding the circumstances that may lie ahead far in advance is a more efficient, cost effective method than attempting to deal with them reactively, as and when they occur.
Look for Outsourcing Opportunities
Some businesses are hesitant to outsource functions such as payroll, tax, or accounting. Often it is assumed that it is safer, quicker, and cheaper to manage everything in-house. In reality, the compliance requirements of these functions can be incredibly detailed and specific, and figuring them out with an in-house team can take up time that is more effectively spent elsewhere – and that’s before you factor in the penalties and costs incurred by accidental non-compliance.
Outsourcing these aspects of your business to reputable, trusted service providers avoids the necessity of retaining a team of full-time experts, so that you can more efficiently allocate your time and personnel.
Develop the Right Partnerships
If you’re planning on overseas growth in a new market, forming professional partnerships with local organisations is an especially useful and practical measure to take. As well as providing you with in-depth knowledge of the local market, these organisations may well allow you to use their established infrastructure and resources, removing the need to build your own from the ground up.
Your Due Diligence Process is Crucial
Closely linked to your research should be your due diligence process. When it comes to identifying financial risks and other potentially costly barriers to sustainable growth, it is impossible to overstate the importance of thorough due diligence. Businesses can often fail to carry this task out to an adequate extent, or in some cases even overlook it entirely – especially when it requires them to travel overseas for the purposes of finding out more about a supplier or partner. Failing to put in the required research, however, can cost your organisation dearly.
Whether it’s entering into a partnership with an organisation whose business practices you have not properly vetted beforehand, or falling foul of the complex tax requirements of an unfamiliar market, a failure to carry out due diligence is a major negligence on the part of a business leader. The relatively small cost of ensuring that you have done the necessary research and due diligence should be seen as a long term, sustainable investment.
It is undoubtedly a period of global turmoil, but that doesn’t have to impact your plans for business expansion. Keeping your organisation streamlined isn’t just about cutting costs at every available opportunity. It’s about making the right decisions that will protect you from risk, open up new long-term opportunities, and keep your growth on a sustainable trajectory regardless of the difficult times around you.
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