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5 Things SMEs Have to Implement in 2022 to Thrive

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Many small businesses have been hit hard over the last couple of years, and they must be resilient if they are to compete and thrive in the post pandemic world. Here Alison Watson, Head of the School of Leadership and Management at Arden University, explores how SMEs can thrive in 2022.

The drop in economic activity in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic hit many businesses hard, but SMEs were particularly likely to suffer as a result of the downturn – and, in fact, Bank of England figures suggest that the average UK SME witnessed a 30-percentage point drop in turnover growth between April and December 2020.

As the country hopefully begins to put the distresses of the pandemic behind us, businesses will be hoping to look forward to a brighter, more certain future. But if the last two years have taught us anything, it’s reaffirmed the need for all businesses, and particularly SMEs, to be able to demonstrate a high degree of business resilience, so they can continue to operate effectively in times of great change and uncertainty.

By doing this, businesses can safeguard against unforeseen circumstances and ensure their long-term security – while ensuring they have all the pieces in place to survive and thrive in more challenging times.

We may or may not see another pandemic in our lifetimes, but businesses will undoubtedly face challenges of numerous types in the coming years. With this in mind, here are five key things that businesses can do to boost their business resilience in 2022.


Acting quickly and decisively is vitally important as it enable the business to adapt quickly and minimise any disruptions, while also capitalising on new opportunities.

To enable this to happen, it is essential that management teams work collaboratively and efficiently as a unit. They must also be upskilled in decision making processes to enable them to react quickly and autonomously in the event of a challenge to the business.


Stakeholder engagement is key for businesses for a number of reasons – not only does it enable leaders to maintain networks and identify any potential issues ahead of time, but it can also lead to further opportunities for new leads and business development.

For this reason, communicating effectively with business stakeholders will continue to be a key component of any successful business strategy in 2022.


Risk management process and crisis planning will enable businesses to make data-driven business decisions and contingency planning in the face of another crisis.

This directly supports the requirement to act quickly and decisively in the face of a crisis, by providing a plan of action driven by real world insights and data which leaders can trust.


Workforce empowerment and engagement is key to ensuring that key members of the team are on side in times of difficulty and that the workforce trusts and believes in the leadership team.

To achieve this, business leaders should encourage transparency in communication and ensure that they embrace employee participation. By doing this, businesses can harness shared ideas and diversity, while capitalising on the wider skills of their workforce.


Staff need to be adaptable and have the mindset of embracing change, so they are ready for any challenge that the business may meet.

Equally fundamental, is ensuring that the business itself promotes a change culture and helps employees to navigate any transitions that may be needed to keep the organisation on track against its objectives.


For more information on Arden University, visit



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