Since mid-2008, many Irish businesses have been in survival mode, a day-to-day fight to remain open for trade. So as market conditions improve, how do business leaders move their thinking from survival mode towards growth strategies?

Understandably, after what we’ve been through, it can be very difficult to trust in the stability of a business and to commit to spending money on marketing, expansion, IT, etc. However, for many business leaders adapting to a changed market environment is crucial to long-term survival.

Where to start? Surprisingly, internally is often a good place to begin– are you as efficient as you could be? Is there wastage? Many businesses assume that after years of “trimming the fat” that efficiency isn’t a problem, however, the opposite is often true. The majority of businesses have been so focused on reducing visible costs that they have either overlooked the costs of inefficiencies hidden within processes, procedures or indeed the lack of such. They may have also overlooked growth opportunities.

Are there new products you previously wanted to offer but couldn’t risk developing? Are there IT systems that have been nursed along to avoid CAPEX and is your business at risk if these systems should fail or are they unsuitable for meeting customer expectations? Are you sure your sales staff training is up to date and are you utilising your Human Assets (people) to best advantage? Is there marketing you should be doing but have put off? Does this strike a chord?

Now is the time to make your business work to its potential, to ensure that it is protected for the future – IT investment, continuity planning, recruitment for growth, efficiency reviews, etc. Rebuild your reserves, rebuild your personal Balance Sheet – Start planning today for your financial future and don’t just operate for today!