One of the essential skills used by many small business owners is the ability to plan for the future. Although many of us tend to get involved in a multitude of different tasks, there’s often recognition of the fact that it’s important to concentrate on broad issues relating to strategy.
Indeed, some would say that a failure to carry out such planning can lead to problems. One of the issues that need to be dealt with here is the fact that daily delivery may not leave much time available for the required level of strategic planning.
Thinking about risks
On many occasions, we may look to identify potential business opportunities. These can come in the shape of new products, or from the simple discovery that competitors aren’t doing a very good job of covering a particular niche. Such openings can be interesting and indicate that there is a chance there to increase income levels.
But planning needs to think about factors that can have a negative impact too. When looking at what the future may hold, it’s critical to consider potential risks. A failure to take account of such risks will only mean that you are in a poor position, in terms of responding to them.
You may initially concentrate on external risks, such as new competitors entering the market. It’s also wise to realize, however, that there are likely to be elements within your own business that can lead to difficulties.
One of these risks is that associated with internal disputes. If staff members don’t have suitable working relationships, then this can quickly lead to problems.
The best course of action usually involves dealing with such situations at the earliest possible opportunity. Although this isn’t always easy to do, it is the best option that you have. The problem is that arguments within the workplace can lead to reduced productivity. In effect, more energy may go into the dispute than is actually put into the task of getting work done.
All of this seems to make a lot of sense, in theory. As we all know, however, we are talking about some pretty sensitive issues here. How can you really expect to deal with them? Things become even more difficult if you have some sort of personal involvement in the actual dispute.
Involving an objective observer
It can sometimes be useful to encourage the involvement of someone who does not have the history of being involved in the actual dispute. The aim here should not be to involve a third party in order to adjudicate. In fact, if that is your goal, then you are likely to find that this will lead to even more conflict within the business.
Instead, you might turn to a professional mediator to bring the various interested parties together. The aim is to get people communicating in the right way and to produce a strategy for ensuring that everyone can be happy enough working together in the future.
Keith Barrett writes articles about Decisive Mediation and other providers of business services. As a small business professional, he knows that getting outside help can be extremely valuable.