The importance of future-proofing for an SME Business

I was with a high growth client earlier this week discussing systems and team performance.  In high growth SME businesses, systems run the business and people run the systems.

We were discussing recruitment and agreed that any recruiting should be done so, not with 2023 needs in mind, but with the (turnover, profit, product mix, efficiency and customer service) needs of 2025 in mind.

In today’s fast-paced business world, adaptability is key.  For an SME business, future-proofing is not just an option; it’s a necessity.

Here’s why:

1. Survival in a changing landscape: the business world is ever-evolving. Technological advancements, market trends, and consumer preferences are in a constant state of flux. SMEs that don’t adapt risk falling behind or going under.

2. Staying competitive: future-proofing allows SMEs to stay competitive in their respective industries. It means being agile and ready to embrace new opportunities or pivot in times of crisis.

3. Risk mitigation: by anticipating potential challenges and risks, SMEs can take proactive measures to mitigate them. This includes financial planning, diversification, and cybersecurity measures.

4. Embracing technology: technology is at the heart of most business operations and systems today. Investing in digital infrastructure, e-commerce capabilities, and data analytics can provide a significant edge.

5. Talent and training: SMEs must invest in their team. Ongoing training and skill development ensure that employees are equipped to handle new challenges and technologies.  Recruitment should be done so with future needs in mind.

6. Sustainable practices: the future belongs to businesses that prioritise sustainability. Going green not only benefits the planet but also attracts eco-conscious customers and investors.

7. Customer-centric approach: customer needs and expectations change over time. By listening to feedback and staying attuned to market shifts, SMEs can adjust their products and services accordingly.

8. Financial resilience: building out a financial forecast and a slush fund is crucial. Having access to working capital during tough times or for growth opportunities is a smart way to future-proof.

9. Strategic planning: SMEs should regularly revisit and update their business strategies. This keeps them focussed, aligned with long-term goals and the vision and importantly, adaptable to market changes.

10. Global expansion: in a globalised world, SMEs can explore international markets (usually without leaving their office or armchair).  Expanding beyond borders diversifies risk and opens up new opportunities.

Future-proofing is about building adaptability and resilience.  An SME business that invests in these qualities is better equipped to thrive in the ever-shifting landscape of business, ensuring long-term success and sustainability.

95% of SME businesses ultimately fail.  Either because they don’t have a plan or because their plan doesn’t future-proof their business.

How far ahead do you plan?  Do you even plan?  If not, it’s time to get started.

The importance of purpose in Business Planning. Gary King from Tendo, Business Mentor working on a business plan.