Future Proofing Your Business In The Run Up To Brexit (Part 2)

Future Proofing Your Business In The Run Up To Brexit

We’re living through extraordinary political times. Boris Johnson has ascended to the premiership of the United Kingdom following a ballot of Conservative party members. Welcomed by right wing, populist and nationalist leaders, he’ll lead a minority government with a working majority of just three MPs. (Probably two when the Welsh seat of Brecon & Radnorshire holds its by-election on 1st August after the local MP was convicted of making false expenses claims).

While I had a go at reading the Brexit tea leaves earlier in the month, the fact is none of us know how this will all shake out. There are any number of possible scenarios from a no-deal Brexit to another referendum or general election, and variants in between.

So how, as business leaders, do we future proof our business in the run up to Brexit when we’ve no idea what’s going to happen?

In Future Proofing Your Business In The Run Up To Brexit (Part 1), I shared one of my favourite business tools – the PESTLE analysis. It’s a great tool for analysing the current and future business environment. Armed with this information, you can then make your plans and preparations.

A second tool I recommend you use is called a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool used by a business owner/ company to identify its internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as its external opportunities and threats. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

The easiest way to approach a SWOT analysis is by answering a series of questions. It’s a great exercise to do with your team and/ or your business advisor. And you can get it done in an hour or so over coffee. My list below will help you to get started.

Future Proofing Your Business In The Run Up To Brexit (Part 2)

STRENGTHS

Think about you, your team and your business do well. Questions to consider include:

  • What do you, your team and your business do particularly well?

  • What unique skills do you and your team have?

  • What expert or specialist knowledge do you and your team have?

  • What experience do you and your team have?

  • What makes you different to your competitors?

  • What makes you better than your competitors?

  • Which parts of your business are most profitable?

  • Who are your best, most profitable customers?

  • Which products and/ or services are most popular and profitable?

WEAKNESSES

Think about you, your team and your business need to improve. Questions to consider include:

  • What do you, your team and your business need to improve?

  • What skills do you and your team need to acquire?

  • What expert or specialist knowledge do you and your team need to develop?

  • What experience is missing from you and your team?

  • What can you do to make you better than your competitors?

  • Which parts of your business are least profitable?

  • Which customers take up the most resources for the least return?

  • Which products and/ or services are least popular and profitable?

  • What costs your business time and/or money?

  • Where are the inefficiencies and waste in your business?

  • Do you have adequate cash reserves to support your growth plans?

OPPORTUNITIES

Think about the external conditions that could affect your business positively and help you to achieve your business objectives. This is where you’ll find your PESTLE analysis useful. Questions to consider include:

  • What opportunities arise from your PESTLE analysis?

  • How can you use technology to run your business more efficiently?

  • Which new target audiences do you have the potential to reach?

  • What are the new marketing development opportunities?

THREATS

Think about the external conditions that could affect your business positively and help you to achieve your business objectives. This is where you’ll find your PESTLE analysis useful. Questions to consider include:

  • What threats arise from your PESTLE analysis?

  • What risks is your business exposed to?

  • What are the strengths of your biggest competitors?

  • What are your competitors doing that you're not?

  • Is the marketplace changing?

USING THE INFORMATION FROM YOUR SWOT ANALYSIS

The most important part of your SWOT analysis comes next. This is where you use the information you’ve compiled to come up with new strategies, update your business plan and make any necessary changes for your business. For example, you can:

  • Create a plan to capitalise on your strengths.

  • Identify ways you can address any areas of weakness.

  • Set SMART goals for each of the opportunities you’ve identified.

  • Devise a plan reduce the threats you’ve identified and mitigate any risks.

Now you understand how to compile a SWOT analysis and use it strategically, you have a tool that you can use over and over in your business to improve your business strategy and decision-making processes.

OVER TO YOU

Have you used a SWOT Analysis before? How did it help you with your business your business? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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