Entrepreneurs have been enduring a period of turbulent economic weather. Although recession fears have eased, the UK economy grew by just 0.1 percent in the first quarter of the year. High inflation is squeezing household income, while changing risk appetites are dampening venture capital volumes.
In strained circumstances, being a smaller business – with smaller reserves to draw on – can be a challenge. But it can also offer an advantage that larger players lack: the ability to adapt rapidly to market conditions. “Entrepreneurial small businesses can leverage their size and capitalise on their ability to pivot quickly in a situation or capture new trends,” says Peter McIntyre, Head of Business Banking at HSBC UK.
Indeed, some small and mid-sized companies are not just surviving but thriving in the downmarket, and a group of them have been highlighted by the WIRED Future Trailblazers initiative, created in partnership with HSBC UK.
So how do they do it? There’s no single, one-size-fits-all answer. But all the leaders that WIRED spoke to agree that doubling down on the basics is essential. That means concentrating on the fundamentals of the business and what has made it successful up to now, and planning for the long term rather than being panicked into knee-jerk decisions.
“It’s important to try and continue to be agile, but not at the cost of your core area of differentiation,” says Michael Bristow, CEO and Co-Founder of CrowdProperty, a specialist property development lending platform. “Focus brings strategic power, and strategic power drives value.”
But what other advice do these successful leaders have for SMEs? Here are four strategies to consider…