04 Jan 2016 12:00 AM

As we enter 2016 there are many challenges ahead in the wider environment for SMEs, but to be in a fit state to meet what's ahead, business owners need to have the right strategies in place.

Here my seven key business strategies for 2016.

Vision - If you do not know where you are going, how do you know when you get there?  Every business should have a vision which is understood and clear to everyone in the organisation.

Strategy - What strategy do you have to attain your vision? Without a clear, articulated strategy you will merely be fumbling along, dealing with matters as and when they happen to arise.  You must deploy direction and control.

Business Plan - Your strategy should be clearly laid out in a business plan with lines of responsibility and time scales defined.  This should be an up to date working, living document - not some aged and neglected file gathering dust in a distant drawer.

Leadership - Every business must have a leader/leaders empowered to drive it forward. Leaders must have a clear vision for the business and be able to empower and inspire management to execute its strategy.

Finance -  Without cash a business is finished. You will appreciate that the more successful and/or innovative a business is, the more cash it will need.

Retrain and develop talent - I find it amazing the number of talented people is so small as a percentage of the total in the pool. A major part of the UK economy is driven by the service sector - and so people skills are paramount.

Be disruptive - We are operating in a change environment.  Businesses that are not disruptive will, in a short space of time, have a reduced or devalued offering to their market.

Mantra for 2016 - 'Change must be understood and embraced'.