It would be great if everything went smoothly in the world of business, but unfortunately we all have to operate in the real world where the only thing that can be expected, is that the unexpected will occur. Small to medium enterprises especially can be affected by events outside of their control. A recent academic study by the Open University looked at resilience and recovery among SMEs. Here, Glowing Global review the study, and look at how UK businesses can become more resilient.
“Encountering difficulties is a normal part of being an entrepreneur, but what’s important is how you handle and then overcome the difficulties”, said Ricco Katona, director of Glowing Global. “This study is very interesting, in that it provides an overview of how businesses as a whole deal with unexpected challenges.”
The study is resultant from a quarterly survey that the Open University conducts of small businesses in the UK. They often concentrate on a special topic, in this case resilience and recovery. The study firstly sets out the kind of external challenge that businesses can face. These can be environmental challenges, such as extreme weather events, infrastructure failures, the effects of social unrest, and economic effects that are beyond their control, such as the global downturn that we are only now climbing out of. 73% of respondents said that they had faced one of these external challenges that had posed a substantive threat to their business within the last five years. The credit crunch and market instability were the most common factors cited, with 44% each.
The good news is that 40% of respondents thought their business had been strengthened by coming through the crisis, whilst only 23% thought their business had been weakened. One of the ways in which businesses increased their resilience was by diversifying their products and services. Others made changes to their supply chain, or sought out new business partnerships.
“It’s interesting to see that many businesses thought that going through external challenges had helped their business grow”, said Ricco Katona. “That’s because they learn from their mistakes, and become more resilient. One of the best ways to increase resilience is to spot threats as early as possible, and have a plan in place for how to deal with them. Be responsive and decisive, and take charge of threatening situations.”
Businesses can also become stronger and more resilient by acquiring new customers, and having a stronger brand identity. The bespoke marketing campaigns of Glowing Global have helped businesses throughout the UK achieve just that.