The number of new businesses being set up in the UK continues to increase, brought on in part by a nationwide entrepreneurial spirit developed during the pandemic. However, the infant years of any business are some of the most challenging, and with the economic environment far from stable in the UK, 2023 presents a mix of challenges and opportunities.
To support new and established businesses, a panel of leaders from The University of Law (ULaw) Business School have shared their predictions and advice on the big opportunities to focus on this year, and how to make the most of them.
Embrace efficient and effective digital solutions
Kris Scendo-Kokot, Director, International at ULaw Business School says: “No single industry/sector has and will be immune to the advancements brought by the 4th industrial revolution. Each single industry/sector and locality may be exposed to possible, although varying, opportunities which these advancements bring along.
“Opportunities may arise when businesses embrace relevant, efficient and effective solutions that derive from digital, data, automation, AI, VR, etc., both on the consumer as well as employment market level.
“In both instances, an increased competitive advantage may come to the fore, considering both consumer and employment markets, and bring business growth and expansion, although it may also require adaptation or reinvention.”
Commenting on the increasing prominence of AI, Thor Ingvarsson, Director of Postgraduate Programmes at ULaw Business School, adds: “I think AI will become more prominent in a variety of sectors. The UK is under pressure, which may in some way speed up changes in areas where such change has direct links to costs (or rather cost-reduction).
“What might impact that though, is level of investment needed. I believe there will be some caution in level of investment in the coming months, but this may improve once confidence levels are up.”
Leadership and employability vs. specific disciplines
In an ever-evolving business landscape, the skills and disciplines in highest demand are also changing.
Elizabeth Moore, Head of Leadership at ULaw Business School, says: “Certain disciplines, such as Digital Transformation, Business Analytics, and Entrepreneurship will all see increasing demand.
“However, employability skills are increasingly viewed as more important to companies in making hiring choices than specific disciplines. Therefore, the more these skills are taught and integrated into all disciplines, the more attractive those courses will become, across disciplines.”
Kris Scendo-Kokot adds: “What really matters are transferable qualities, such as critical thinking, problem solving, personal and project management, collaboration or different types of intelligence beyond IQ among others. These and other skills are indeed sought after on the employment market but also at the core of academic communities.”
Where should businesses focus their efforts this year for success?
Andres Perez, Director at ULaw Business School, encourages businesses to step outside of their immediate sphere to adapt in a challenging environment: “A shrinking economy and household purchasing power, paired with the exponential development of the business possibilities opened by digital technologies, big data and artificial intelligence, will challenge some existing business models.
“It is true that nobody knows exactly how, but it is also easy to visualise the most likely possibilities by learning from what has happened in other industries or what other players in industry are preparing for. Do not just think around your board table, go outside, engage in the conversation and see what others are doing.”
Supporting this, Marco Mongiello, Pro Vice-Chancellor at ULaw Business School, adds: “Seek collaborations of ideas and expertise across sectors and disciplines. Does your old competitor have to remain just a competitor, or could they become a partner?
“Isn’t there really anything you can learn from your supplier or even your neighbouring company (which operates in a completely different sector)? When is last time you really elicited your customers to tell you what they are up to? By the way, don’t ask what they want, but tease from them what excites them and… truly listen to them!”
What is the best way to capitalise on new opportunities presented?
“Times of radical change are the perfect environment for entrepreneurs. And right now, the economy really needs them.” says Andres Perez.
Andres continues: “Think of sectors showing inefficiencies, and imagine a future where digital technologies can release them from artificial constraints coming from the past. There you have a business opportunity!”
Navdeep Chouhan, Director of Online Programmes at ULaw Business School, advises: “Use all the data and information you have to identify gaps and opportunities. Armed with a full understanding of where the opportunities are, then work closely with your teams to ensure you have the right level of knowledge, skills and competences to make full use of everything presented to you.”
To read more advice from The University of Law Business School, visit: https://www.law.ac.uk/study/business/