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Building business and personal resilience

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If recent events have shown us anything, it’s that resilience is key and something that has been tested at both a personal and business level. Our panel of experts, including Barry Searle, Director of Training at Intqual-pro, Nolli Waterman, HSBC Global Rugby Ambassador, Brandon Bichler, Partner at Elixirr, Roger Wade, Founder and CEO of Boxpark, and Laura Pickett, Managing Director of Tickled Pink Productions share their top tips on how to make yourself and your business more resilient.

1. Change your mindset – it can be difficult but seeing challenges as an opportunity to reinvent yourself and your business, can help you embrace change. “Other businesses will be going through the same issues, so if you can change your attitude to see change as a positive, you’ll have an edge.” Roger Wade, Boxpark.

2. Optimise your cash – visibility of your cashflow position and having discipline around forecasting and managing your working capital is crucial to support operational resilience. “In a fast-paced environment, reviewing and monitoring your cashflow more frequently can help you deepen your understanding and react quickly to change.” Brandon Bichler, Elixirr.

3. Have a goal – having a clear vision and goal both personally and for your business can help you focus and provide a navigation point when times are tough. “Where do you want to go to with your business? What’s your exit strategy? How does that marry up with your personal goals?” Roger Wade, Boxpark.

4. Maintain a healthy business culture – communication is really important when things get tough or you’re facing disruption and can help you take your team with you on that journey and support their resilience too. “Setting the context of why change is necessary can help people understand, creating a game plan of different scenarios and responses can enhance predictability, and assuring people that there are things that will remain constant despite the changes, such as your core purpose, values and ethics, can all help to create a more stable environment and culture.” Brandon Bichler, Elixirr.

5. Stay hungry – don’t get complacent and comfortable, it’s natural to get to a certain position and seek to protect it, but it can make you resistant to change and you can risk being left behind as other businesses continue to innovate and adapt. “Even if you’re number one, train like you’re number two.” Nolli Waterman, HSBC Global Rugby Ambassador.

6. Plan for change – don’t get hung up on creating or meeting fixed points on a long-term plan, but keep feeding in new information to that plan and allow it to evolve. “If you’re not changing, innovating and growing, you won’t succeed. So plan, but plan for change.” Roger Wade, Boxpark.

7. Keep learning – being flexible can help you make the most of opportunity and manage disruption more effectively. And not being afraid to fail is a real business strength. “You simply can’t be rigid and set in your ways anymore. You just have to try things and learn all the time.” Laura Pickett, Tickled Pink.

8. Use your network appropriately – sharing experience can be a huge strength, but don’t let it stifle your own innovation. “It can be an inspiration for great ideas and you can learn from the experiences of businesses in different industries.” Brandon Bichler, Elixirr

9. Spread the load – being an owner manager or entrepreneur can feel lonely but using your team and external advisors to share ideas and decisions can make your business stronger and boost your own resilience. “Don’t be caught in the cult of the entrepreneur, where it’s all about your ego and all about you.” Roger Wade, Boxpark

10. Take time to reflect – taking a lesson from sport and reflecting on when things go wrong and analysing your performance can help you move on and improve. “It’s important to do that regularly rather than just reviewing your performance once a year against your KPIs.” Nolli Waterman, HSBC Global Rugby Ambassador

Cybercrime – how to make your business more resilient

Pointing out that globally, SMEs are the businesses most heavily targeted by cybercriminals, Barry Searle of Intqual-pro, explains that it’s largely because they tend to respond after the event rather than improving their resilience by contingency planning. But with SMEs facing the risk of financial, reputational and operational loss, as well as regulatory consequences, planning is crucial. “There’s not a lot of money needed to make your business more resilient against a cyberthreat, but you do need to spend time thinking about it,” he says.

Here are the key areas he suggests you focus on:

1. Consider cyber risk effectively within your organisation – it’s not just about IT, although having updated firewalls and anti-virus software is important. “93% of successful cyber-attacks in the past year were facilitated by human error or lapses in human behaviour,” says Barry. “Educating staff to open an email with the same level of caution as they would use to cross the road, is important.” That means hovering over links and thinking twice before opening an attachment.

2. Managing your infrastructure – particularly important for growing businesses with bolt-on IT devices and software, which will have different known vulnerabilities. “You need to think about consistency. Ensure all devices have the most up to date version of Windows, for example, that antivirus and antimalware software is run consistently and updates automated, that mobile devices are secured, and consider the Internet of Things – new devices like coffee machines, smart fridges or security cameras all connect to your internet and can be a weak link into your network if not managed securely.”

3. Check service level agreements – if you outsource to external providers or cloud services, check the terms of your agreements to ensure they meet your continuity timeframes and confirm regulatory requirements, for example GDPR across your own business and those of your providers.

4. Change default passwords – default passwords are often well-known, available and publicised in cybercrime circles. Change them as quickly as possible on any devices or routers to improve security. That should include your home router if you’re working from home and connecting work devices to it.

5. Use multi-factor authentication – this can help to create an additional level of security and should be built into all your processes.

To find out more, about how to get your business Tomorrow Ready, visit our Insights hub at https://www.business.hsbc.uk/en-gb/tomorrow-ready-programme.

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