Guest blog by David Selves, Business Advisor at The Selves Group
With 2019 just around the corner, many UK businesses will be looking back on how well they have performed in the year just gone and setting new targets for the year ahead.
However, 2019 brings uncharted waters as the UK prepares to face one of the biggest and most drastic changes in generations; leaving the EU.
What the outcome will be and what it means to SMEs is unclear, even as we edge closer to 29th March.
So, can you plan ahead for something no one can predict?
Well, the key is to focus on the present entering 2019. We may be heading into a grey area as far as post-Brexit is concerned,but that does not mean businesses cannot prepare themselves – starting now.
The number one thing UK SMEs should be considering in the new year is how they will continue to attract and retain talent.
It is inevitable that Brexit will have an impact on the mobility of the workforce in the UK. Employee changes will become apparent, with many individuals expected to leave the country. This will create gaps in certain areas of the market and potentially lead to skills shortages in some sectors. The challenge will be to fill those gaps, but that will not be achieved by one action alone, there is no one size fits all answer.
Therefore, it is essential that SMEs are realistic, practical and show vision in protecting themselves ahead of the withdrawal from Europe. They must continue to showcase their ethos, even if that means looking beyond salaries and towards what is vital for their key players.
Another top tip for SMEs entering 2019 is to build up on their financial knowledge. Owners and employers should start looking at their numbers to ensure they know where their business stands from a financial point. With the benefit of modern computer programmes the smallest of businesses can now run different models of the future, changing key data inputs to predict different outcomes based on different scenarios. They can build a clearer projection of the direction the business is heading in as it enters the unknown, based on variables to the unknown.
Forward planning should also be at the forefront of businesses’ minds. They must have a nimble mindset. It is never too late to start planning for the future, both short-term and long-term, and business owners must have the discipline to stay focused and create a thorough structure.
Overall, businesses need to have a clear plan in place entering 2019 based on more than one scenario, because the reality is that no one knows what the future holds post-Brexit. The fundamentals lie in focusing on retaining key talent, whilst being aware of where the business stands in its present state to better prepare it for the future.
David Selves is a business advisor at The Selves Group. He has enjoyed an eventful 50-year career as a seasoned broadcaster, entrepreneur, publican and hotelier. Making his name in business hospitality by purchasing struggling hotels and turning them into award-winning venues, David has built a reputation as a respected andhighly regarded businessman.