Growing your business in 2018: What will be key for founders and leaders?


Growing your business in 2018: What will be key for founders and leaders?


Growing your business in 2018: What will be key for founders and leaders?

The start of a new year inevitably gets the mind thinking about making a fresh start. It’s especially true for business leaders.

The changing of the desk calendar can spark a surge of energy to tackle a new era and hit the goals and objectives that

weren’t quite scaled in the previous year.

We recently took a look at the key insights we gleaned here at ValueMaker working with our partners and clients in 2017. So we thought a good way to start the year would be to do something similar and look ahead at what we feel will be the crucial factors leaders and founders will need to consider in 2018.



Global uncertainty requires boldness, not meekness.

It doesn’t matter what side of the political fence you lean on, there’s no avoiding the fact the current political climate is akin to a threatening storm cloud looming over the business community. Whether it’s the confusion around Brexit,  the unpredictably of Donald Trump’s trade views or potential shifts in global monetary policy, it’s a nervous time for people looking to grow their businesses.

As we’ve always reasoned at ValueMaker, it’s vital your financial radar is attuned as it can possibly be. Are you confident you know how far you can extend your sales pipeline? How much capital do you have access to if you need to make a major investment in resources at short notice? Knowing the answers to these kinds of questions will help your company adapt, survive and - managed rightly - even thrive in the toughest of times.

Political volatility will always be dealt with best by the organisations with the strongest leadership. Because while others are losing their nerve, battening down the hatches or retreating, robust companies remain bold and are still prepared to take (informed and calculated) risks.

Be flexible, be informed and be responsive and you’ll be well positioned to overcome challenges and respond to opportunities and steal a march on your rivals.  

Keep your door open to the world.

2017 has at times given the impression globalisation has come to a shuddering halt – or at the very least someone is trying to poke a stick in its wheels.

From American protectionism to the complex trade negotiations that lie ahead between Britain and the European Union – the world could potentially be becoming a much more bureaucratic place. This mood has been compounded by the uncertainty being radiated out by plenty of big businesses.  

All of these global events filter down eventually to even the smallest of enterprises. Don’t be disheartened. Never has it been more vital to remain outward looking as a leader. Refuse to draw up mental borders around how you trade, partner or who you cooperate with.

The truth is there is so much uncertainty in how things will play out that the best route is to keep exploring all the opportunities open to your business. Leaders must of course be pragmatic and prepare for the difficulties of problems like Brexit, but they should not become purely reactive to external events. They must look to drive their own destiny.

Get out there and network as much as you can and keep talking to everyone who may be able to help your business grow. In a period where many UK businesses are nervous about what the future holds, portraying outward confidence and tackling the future with relish will likely pay off in moreways than one. In particular, this positive outlook may also stand in stark contrast to what your competitors are doing and perhaps, as a result, offer more opportunities than would normally be the case for your business.

Third decade of the 21st century lies ahead.

It may make you feel old, but we are in the twilight years of the second decade of the 21st century. The ‘twenties’ rapidly approach. As mentioned above, agility should be a core part of your leadership strategy and companies must respond to a constantly changing world. But leaders must always have one eye on the long-term too.

Ask yourself where you want your organisation to be in 2020. It may seem like, especially to smaller companies, that nascent technology such as AI, machine learning and robotics will only really affect major corporations. That’s not true at all. These new developments are already filtering down into how small to mid-sized business work. Each year their impact on business and society will multiply rapidly.

Is your company playing the long game and preparing for the changes these technologies will bring not just to you, but your customers and competitors? Smaller businesses may not be able to fund expensive R&D departments, but nothing is stopping them keep an eye on developments and seeing when the moment is right to start incorporating parts of AI and other technologies into their workflow.

Imagine trying to explain to a small business owner ten years ago the changes the internet, smartphones and social media would have on their business. It would have been incomprehensible. Yet here we are with all these things an essential part of the DNA of all our companies.

Major changes present thousands of micro opportunities. Keep your eye on both the big picture and the millions of ripple effects it has so that you are best placed to evolve with a changing world. Don’t be caught napping.  Be on the front foot.

Examine the road ahead before setting off.

So as you head into 2018, make sure you’ve taken stock of where your company is, where you want it to be going and what the road ahead looks like. Those that plan for the journey ahead will always arrive at their destination quicker (and in better health) than those who just head vaguely in the direction of the sunset.

Here at ValueMaker we wish you all the very best for 2018.