Time to invest for the future

BLOG21st Aug 2015

If you want your business to operate efficiently in the modern age, you need to embrace change. But how can you plan for the investment needed?

Business life changes constantly and new competitive challenges come along all the time.

Take communications, for example. If you’ve been trading for a number of years, you probably have a range of well-established channels with your customers. Often, in the past, we were used to face-to-face meetings, phone calls and so-called ‘snail’ mail. To the millennial generation, however, the world’s a very different place. Chat rooms and social networks tend to be a lot more familiar than postage stamps.

So what if you decide that it’s time to upgrade your infrastructure and move with the times? What exactly are the implications? To be honest, you face many of the same issues whether you’re thinking of upgrading your IT infrastructure, investing in new equipment for a farm or expanding your manufacturing facility.

You’ll obviously need to think about funding, but it’s also essential to have an implementation and training plan in place. There may be a process of change management involved. How exactly do you intend to position your business moving forward? How will this impact on your work and on staff morale? It’s essential to sell any changes internally before communicating them externally.

Your professional advisers can get involved at a variety of levels. There’s number-crunching to be done on the investment figures, of course, but your accountants may also be able to help you with the establishment of KPIs and project management.

Fundamentally, it’s good to get an objective viewpoint on the essential questions. Can we actually afford to do this? What downtime will be involved? And how can we continue to provide the service that clients expect while we make the investment required?

Although change can sometimes seem daunting, the costs of failing to act can often be huge. If a competitor is able to provide a product or service more efficiently and less labour intensively, it stands to reason that you may be left behind. So it’s a question of adapting in order to compete.