Smart businesses know that change is where it’s at. It’s where the opportunities lie. If you can’t change, or you can’t adapt to rapidly changing circumstances, you are going to be left behind and so is your business. 2016 is going to be a year of decisions, debate and change. Small business owners are flexible, and ready to adapt. Even in the face of disasters like the floods in Cumbria, small business can be relied on to step up, and take adversity in their stride.
Some people see change as something to be resisted at all costs. But this is not an idea that FSB members have ever supported. Whether it’s better ways to manage your business banking, or finding completely new products and services not even conceived a decade ago – small businesses are always found at the forefront of innovation – often leaving big business scrambling to catch up.
This is also true of those of us who represent the small business community. Just before Christmas FSB updated our brand to reflect the UK’s dynamic and changing small business sector. More and more business is being conducted online and the entrepreneurs leading it are more diverse than ever before – as are the business models they rely on. More importantly, our members expect more from us. We can’t just be the voice of small business anymore – they want us to be experts in business too – offering more advice, further support and taking greater leadership on the issues which matter to them. This is the sort of ongoing change any successful business needs to take in its stride.
Last year we saw a change to the UK Government, and the first majority Government elected since 2005. 2016 will see major elections in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London, elections for local authorities and Police and Crime Commissioners across England. Each of these will set the political agenda for small business, putting in place Ministers, Parliamentarians, Mayors, Councillors and Commissioners who will all take decisions that impact on small firms and change the business landscape. We may even see the scheduling of a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. FSB in every nation, region and branch will be monitoring events closely, making sure small businesses are at the heart of the debate and our voice is heard, and challenging those standing for election to say #ibacksmallbusiness. We expect those standing to demonstrate they have solutions to the real problems small business face such as late payment or poor access to finance.