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Why the most successful businesses will take time to step back and rethink their strategy & operations for 2021, writes Mark Sykes, BDO’s Head of Entrepreneurial Business

It’s been a year of great uncertainty for the Liverpool City Region’s SME business leaders. Many have had to make vital decisions in quick succession throughout the pandemic.

There are glimmers of hope on the horizon as according to our Rethinking the Economy research, 93% of North West mid-sized businesses say they will fully recover from COVID-19 within a year of a vaccine being made available. Over half (60%) predict a recovery in just six months.

Now might be the right time to take a step back from the day-to-day and consider where your business will best fit in a brave new world. How might you shift your mindset to focus more on the future? Can you look up from your present day-to-day challenges in order to focus on succeeding in the future?

Building resilience

That’s why Growth Platform is offering 130 SME leaders based in the Liverpool City Region, the opportunity to take part in the fully-funded Business Resilience Programme to be delivered by accounting and business advisory firm, BDO.

The programme, which will run from December 2020 until May 2021, aims to give SME leaders the opportunity to rethink their strategy and vision to come back stronger from the current economic challenges, to build resilience in their business; and to identify future growth opportunities.

Each business leader will benefit from research into the internal and external threats that could impact their organisation via a specialist diagnostic assessment undertaken by BDO. They will then take part in a tailored workshop to identify challenges, align plans and design the actions they need to take to maximise their chances of success. To find out more or sign up to take part in the Liverpool City Region Business Resilience Programme, click here.

Many businesses will have to adapt or ‘pivot’ yet again in the coming months to accommodate the post-COVID world. Most should live to fight another day, but crucial decisions are yet to come – particularly given the added volatility that the UK’s
exit from the EU will potentially cause. Nonetheless, businesses will need to drive forward to remain relevant in a new economy, with new needs.

Learning and adapting

The good news is that SMEs have always had a great ability to adapt as a result of their smaller size and nimble approach to operations. Rethinking their core vision and goals to align with a vastly altered economy will help thrive in the longer term.

The last year has certainly given business owners a lot to reflect on and a chance to extract both positive and negative learnings. Certain aspects of business operations will be radically different from 12 months ago. Many leaders will now have a very different understanding of their organisation’s ability to react and demonstrate resilience in times of crisis. The workforce, skills, infrastructure and technology to meet new demands should all be under review ahead of 2021. Taking on-board the lessons of the last year, will mean they will be able to identify the aspects of their operations that may need repairing, strengthening or investment. To help with this BDO has developed the Rethink model to help businesses adapt through change. Visit BDO’s rethink hub to read the latest guidance on how to refocus your strategy and operations in 2021 here.

Surveying a new competitive landscape

SME leaders need to revisit their competitive landscape to identify the opportunities and potential bear traps. The pandemic has caused seismic changes in the global economy and there have been new winners and losers. Some internationally renowned brands have even shut up shop.

As well as learning from the mistakes of some of these high street names and large brands, SMEs should recognise the opportunity to continue innovating, enter new markets or adopt new ways of working.

To find out more or sign up to take part in the Liverpool City Region Business Resilience Programme, visit: