How to be more resilient in business

Author: Paul Durrant, PDT Consultancy

When people talk about ‘business resilience’ many associate this phrase with business continuity planning i.e. planning for the sort of challenges that might typically affect your everyday business operations.

The dictionary definition for resilience is actually: ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness’ – so whilst business continuity planning is an important element to this, business resilience, in the broader sense, is more about having the right mindset to cope with the sort of challenging situations that most business owners face throughout their business journey.

Being business resilient also involves adopting a more pragmatic approach to dealing with whatever challenging situations arise. This means taking a step back, taking the emotion out of any given situation and dealing with things in a sensible and realistic way i.e. based or practical, rather than emotional, considerations.

All business owners need a thick ‘resilient’ skin, in todays’ volatile and unpredictable market place. As we exit the European Union, there will new regulatory and legislative challenges. As technology and the demographics of the workforce evolve (Generation ‘Z’ are now coming of age) – employees expectations will change e.g. flexible workplace practices will become the ‘norm’. Finally, as customers buying preferences change at an ever-increasing rate – sellers (and we all make a living selling something) – will have to remain agile and adapt their sales proposition, accordingly.

Some people are born with a resilient mindset; it’s an intrinsic part of their personality – whereas others have to learn to be more mentally resilient e.g. by embedding a number of techniques and practices that become second nature and therefore, standard practice.

There are a number or recognized traditional ways to build business resilience and these include:

  1. Not getting distracted from your particular goal (daily targets or your main business mission)
  2. Being clear and decisive in your actions (drafting a written plan can often help with this)
  3. Having a positive perception of yourself (believing in what you do and why you do it)
  4. Not assuming that all challenges are insurmountable (using logic to understand the situation)
  5. Looking for opportunities when there is change (don’t assume that any change will be negative)
  6. Keeping a balanced perspective (counter your enthusiasm with some practical caution)

You can also follow this simple formula for building resilience in your business:

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Try to identify the most likely risks – where you can. Then put in place some practical measures to either mitigate that risk or avoid it all together, as well as some remedial actions for dealing with any resulting consequence or fall-out.

There will always be the odd unexpected situation or challenge that you hadn’t planned for e.g. force majeure i.e. acts or god or nature. A recent example of this is the Covid-19 virus, which could cause a worldwide pandemic and have a huge bearing on the local, national and global economy.

The City Business Library has some good online content around business continuity and emergency planning, whilst specialists such as the Business Continuity Institute – provide training resources for such event planning. I also cover having a more resilient mindset, in my new book ‘Entrepreneurial Sales’.

The minimum every business should have is a tailored business continuity plan (which should be updated at least once a year) – as well as the requisite levels of business insurance and some documented processes and practical measures around cyber security and data protection.

Planning and being pragmatic about things, as and when they happen, will help you cope with whatever consequences happen. There are a number of other approaches that you can take to working in a more pragmatic way too and these include:

  1. Keeping your dreams realistic (have goals but making sure they are achievable)
  2. Dream less by doing more (actions speak louder than words – so start ‘doing’ ASAP)
  3. Look for practical solutions (break down problems and prioritise the important actions)
  4. Adopt continuous improvement (audit your business planning and processes each year)
  5. Understand what is ‘controllable’ (don’t waste your energies on things that you can’t control)
  6. Seek out best practice (research and compare what other businesses do to mitigate/avoid risks)

Building business resilience takes time, but as long as you are accepting of this and pragmatic about the sort of challenges that will inevitably come your way (and they will) – then you will learn to cope better with what ever life and business, has to throw at you.

Some business advisers and commentators call this ‘business bounce-ability’ – so get some proverbial trampolining lessons, if you think you need them!

Paul will be hosting his latest talk “Sales for people don’t do sales” on 16 April at City Business Library where he will be sharing all his secrets around sales and leads.

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