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How can SMEs survive a VUCA world?

Riots, pandemics and power outages create a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). But how can your SME survive in a world where it feels like you are surrounded by never-ending chaos. Let’s take a look at four ideas of an SME surviving in a VUCA world.

Idea 1: Have a clear vision

Your business vision needs to be clear and concise. You need to live and breathe it in your business so that when challenging times come you will be able to face them because you know why you started your business to begin with. You should also allow for adjustments to the vision if the need arises.

Idea 2: Understand the challenge

Claude Shannon said, “Information is the resolution to uncertainty”. When uncertain times occur, you must get information from reliable and accurate sources. By remaining informed about the challenge you face, you will be able to make better decisions for your SME. Try to remain objective about the challenge and look at the advantages and disadvantages of it. Try to be solution-orientated when faced with a challenge.

Idea 3: Communicate clearly and concisely

Many misunderstandings occur because clear communication hasn’t occurred. It is important to be honest and clear with your suppliers, customers and employees when faced with a challenge. You should also create a crisis communication plan which lays out how you will remain in contact with all the players who are important for your business to be successful. You should also encourage collaboration between other like-minded entrepreneurs and your employees. Employees sometimes have a clearer idea of what is happening in certain processes of your business and you might benefit from hearing how they believe a challenge should be resolved.

Idea 4: Develop agility

When a situation is ambiguous and there is no clear road to follow, you will need to be agile. Agility in business is being able to quickly assess the problem and adapt your business to the new situation. Small and medium enterprises have the advantage in that they are smaller and can make decisions quickly to move should the need arise.

By reviewing these ideas you will see that we have moved the idea of VUCA from being volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous to a clear vision, understanding, communication and agility to move your company on to the next level of success.

We can use these ideas to help our business to navigate through the storms. By being navigational leaders, we look to the future and make directional changes as needed to avoid the icebergs that are before us.

By remaining focused on your business’ vision and understanding the crisis from an objective point of view and communicating clearly with the various stakeholders in your business and being unafraid of adapting and being agile, you can be sure that you will be able to go through the treacherous seas of the unknown and come out successful on the other side.