How to Plan for Business Growth When the Future Is Uncertain

6 strategies to move past survival mode and start thinking long term.
08 22 Plan For Uncertainty Business Growth
Illustration: Getty Images

Over the past two years, business leaders in Hawai‘i have navigated their most pressing challenges in recent history, including government health regulations, inflation, and supply-chain and workforce disruptions. When we operate our businesses in “survival mode” during uncertain times, it can be difficult to plan for growth. At Guild Consulting, we’ve developed several strategies to help businesses see past short-term issues to achieve long-term success.

1. Imagine the Future and Adapt

Remove yourself from a response mindset that focuses on constant pivoting, and proactively create new ways to drive growth. CEOs need to be aware of the customer experience to improve products and services, leverage digital tools for operational excellence, and increase employee productivity in every corner of the organization.

2. Calibrate Your Firm’s Positioning

CEOs should regularly review their company’s position from the customer’s point of view. Are your loyal customers still there? If data shows they are gone, did you reposition your products to align with your new customer segments?

3. Productive Employees Drive Growth

In the face of challenges, a strong company culture often becomes stronger. This is frequently seen where leadership has encouraged each employee to adopt an “ownership mindset” as a core value, where staff input and decision-making are deeply valued.

4. Cross-Functional Teams Are Today’s Norm

Traditional organizational silos were designed for executing specific tasks under fixed budgets, not for adapting to new scenarios. Cross-functional thinking brings employees together to achieve common companywide goals, improving everything from communication to collaboration.

5. Leverage Digital Tools For Decision-Making

Artificial intelligence, such as algorithms and decision engines, offer tremendous potential to transform firms through the discovery of growth opportunities. This works best in firms that are willing to take risks and have a bottom-up management style.

6. Hire Imagineers

Traditional business models are comfortable places. By only hiring managers who “hit the ground running” or match job descriptions, businesses may miss out-of-the-box perspectives from employees who would more effectively drive growth.

As business strategy guru Michael Porter said: “Competitive strategy is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value.”

By developing flexible, adaptable organizations through shifts in traditional thinking, your business can grow in this new age of uncertainty.


Expert: Ray Tsuchiyama, Partner, Guild Consulting



Categories: Biz Expert Advice, Finance