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For companies everywhere, business certainty has moved to the back burner. Erratic circumstances seem to be the norm lately, and adaptability is necessary for survival.
While just getting by is better than failing, what if your company can create opportunities from uncertainty? Is it possible to thrive during an upheaval? In a word, yes — if business leadership harnesses the power of change.
How Does Uncertainty Create a Business Opportunity?
In traditional business models, handling risk means maintaining the status quo. Playing it safe equals protecting against hazards, lowering expenses and ensuring continuity. During times of high and rapid uncertainty, like the COVID-19 pandemic, companies often respond by hunkering down while attempting to plan for future certainty.
While this strategy protects businesses in the short term, it overlooks the opportunity the uncertainty presents. New circumstances can supply leadership with a chance to do things they’ve never done. Suddenly, they must make new kinds of decisions. Creative thinking can turn risks into rewards. At the same time, decision-makers and stakeholders alike develop resiliency in the face of decline, better positioning the company to handle future perils.
How Can I Use Uncertainty To Devise Opportunity?
As you prepare to turn ambiguous circumstances into a plan, take a moment to assess the situation and map your next steps:
- Identify the uncertainty. The Harvard Business Review’s “Strategy Under Uncertainty” distinguishes four kinds of business uncertainty: a clear enough future, alternate futures, a range of futures, and true ambiguity.
- Widen your perspective. Move away from the current mindset and reframe the future. Set a time frame to envision what circumstances could have the most impact. Within your time frame, what is the worst thing that could happen? What is the best thing? Imagine working in these situations. Then, prioritize them according to business impact.
- Design alternative strategies. Resist the temptation to rely on what worked under stable conditions. Start with action fields within your control and plan alternatives. Some businesses, for example, have increased their customer base during COVID-19 by growing their online presence — a financial statement shows Google Advertising revenue increased 69% between 2020-2021.
- Maintain flexibility. The very nature of uncertainty means you must retain a willingness to change your plan. However, if you’ve done your homework, you should have some alternatives on the back burner — though you may need to devise more.
Using the Certainty Index, Amnet has been helping clients deliver business certainty for more than two decades. You can rely on them to help you turn uncertainty into new opportunities for your business.