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Lack of short-term planning threatens entrepreneurial growth and innovation in the South East

29th September 2021
  • Three quarters of businesses lack confidence that their strategy is future-proof and able to withstand socioeconomic challenges
  • 70% of businesses are only planning nine months ahead, which could derail their growth and innovation ambitions
  • Two fifths are only planning six months in advance
  • More than three quarters shared that they’re likely to test out new business ideas or innovate in 2021-2022
  • Yet 21% of companies recognise a lack of strategic planning will mean they’re unable to develop and launch new products or services.

A new report, which looks at barriers to growth for entrepreneurial businesses, has revealed 70% of companies are only planning nine months ahead, despite ambitions to launch new products and services; three quarters are lacking confidence that their strategy is future-proof.

According to BDO’s The Ambitious Entrepreneur: Tackling Your Barriers to Growth Report, two fifths of the companies surveyed are only planning six months ahead, which means they only have visibility until March next year.

More than three quarters of companies shared that they are likely – to some degree – to test out new business ideas or innovate this year and next, but 21% recognise a lack of planning will prohibit this innovation.

Duncan Berry, partner at BDO LLP in the South East said: “Ambitious, entrepreneurial businesses underpin our regional economy across all sectors and will be key to the UK’s future economic prosperity, as well as a driver for levelling up. It’s concerning but not surprising to see so many struggling to strategically plan more than six months in advance.

“The last 20 months have demonstrated that plans need to be flexible. For this type of business, it is often their agility, which gives them a competitive advantage. However, creativity alone won’t sustain innovation and there needs to be a firm focus on planning and commercialising ideas if businesses are serious about growth and not losing ground to competitors.”

BDO’s research found that a third of respondents try to handle operations, growth, funding, talent and compliance internally with their existing team.

Duncan Berry concluded: “When speaking to these businesses in the South East, the ambition and talent is clear. The region’s dynamic businesses already face disproportionate challenges when it comes to issues like funding, talent and navigating red tape, but are consistently creative in overcoming these barriers.

“I’d urge entrepreneurial businesses in the region not to get in the way of their own potential by taking a short-term or inward view and seek the support they need to build a longer-term strategy that will allow them to innovate and maintain a competitive advantage.”

You can download a copy of the report here.