How to Build a More Resilient Business

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Good business practice is all about good business planning. After all, as Benjamin Franklin wisely put it, ‘By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail’.

So we all plan for growth and plan to mitigate risk.  We have strategies and exit strategies, targets and forecasts. We review, we reassess and we revise. A high performing business has a management team with its finger on the pulse of what’s just happened, what’s happening now and what’s likely to happen in the future.

But what if there’s a curved ball?

If there’s one thing that’s certain in any kind of business, it’s that, at some point, you’ll come up against the unexpected.  And the most challenging aspect of anything unexpected is that, by its very nature, it’s impossible to predict.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to plan for. Far from it. Every business should always plan to tackle the odd curved ball, and one of the biggest steps you can take to protect yourself commercially is to ensure you look after you brand.

It’s a fundamental element of business best practice that many businesses overlook as they focus on driving success rather than protecting their success potential from an – as yet – unidentified commercial threat.

For example, construction company, Kier, was forced to face a £multi-million drop in both profits and share price last week after it pulled out of two Hong Kong Projects and completed on a major scheme in the Caribbean. The company now claims to have completed a two-year ‘simplification programme’, which also included a £151 million charge last year, and returned to profit.  The fact remains, however, that the brand must retain stakeholder confidence during this financially tumultuous period, which will draw on previous brand equity as well as current PR and marketing activity.

For companies of all sizes, there is a temptation when business is booming and the order book is full to view marketing as an unnecessary add on to core activities.  However, there is always the potential of hidden risk lurking around the corner that can knock a company off course if it isn’t ballasted by strong and consistent marketing.

So how can you build a more resilient business?  Here are our five top tips:

1. Ensure stakeholders understand your brand values and that those values are communicated consistently at all times

2. Engage effectively with stakeholders, through good times and bad

3. Showcase your achievements – invisible successes will not build brand equity

4. Prepare your communication strategy for tackling a crisis or periods of instability

5. Be a brand that stakeholders can trust with communication based on integrity, not just spin

Sarah Reay