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Resilience in an uncertain world

If 2020 taught us anything about running a business, it’s that we need to be better at planning for those “rainy days”. But what can operating through a global pandemic teach us about how to plan and bounce back stronger and quicker in the future?

In 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the UK seemed to temporarily grind to a halt as businesses tried to work out what the health crisis meant for them. With little initially understood about the virus, businesses had to embrace uncertainty in a way few had done before. Trying new ways of working and making both fundamental and incremental changes, almost daily, to overcome new challenges as they arose.

While some businesses sadly did not survive the initial shock, for those that did the emerging data paints a more encouraging picture than expected. This is particularly true in the small business sector, with a recent survey by Small Business Britain showing that 79% of small businesses are confident that their businesses will survive the next 12 months and 45% are confident that their businesses will grow in the next 12 months despite the challenges.

So why have smaller businesses shown resilience in this time of global uncertainty and what can we all learn from their journey?

Firstly, this environment has resulted in a huge amount of innovation and development taking place as businesses battle the changing landscape caused by the crisis. Innovation changed from being something to invest in for the future, to a day-to-day survival tool. With SMEs having a greater capacity to mobilise quickly, the agility to take on the complex challenges which change brings, along with more flexible decision making and processes which make the ability to collaborate simpler and quicker – they met the challenge the pandemic posed head on

Like many businesses, at TSG Marine we paused, and we listened. But then we had to just get going. As industries across the world grappled with a rapidly changing crisis we pivoted, we used the opportunity as a catalyst for change and realigned our strategy to life on the other side – without losing sight of our ambition.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Resilience isn’t just about having a healthy balance sheet; it’s about understanding your finances and thinking in advance about those “what if” scenarios.
  • The need to understand the value you bring to your clients – if you understand why your clients buy from you then the delivery method can be adapted quickly to suit external circumstances.
  • Understanding and exploring your options during the planning phases means you can pivot and react quickly to change – stress testing is a crucial but often overlooked element of planning.
  • Greater awareness of your teams’ individual strengths means you pull together to overcome challenges.
  • Diversifying to spread the risk only works if that diversification is true to your businesses vision and direction – otherwise it’s just a temporary distraction

Like any business we’re aware that there are still some big challenges ahead. Our Managing Director Erika Leadbeater gives an insight into the watch word of the pandemic – PIVOT!

“Before the pandemic there was already a plan to diversify our portfolio and utilise the expertise we have to problem-solve across the wider energy sector. Because, as a business, we’ve been immersed in the more traditional areas of the energy sector we’re widening our knowledge and experience in renewables and those technologies that will support the transition to Net Zero. The pandemic has forced us to expedite that process and take a much more collaborative approach with others in the industry.

For us it’s all about delivering consistently. That way you maintain your reputation and people come back to you, relying on you as a team to meet their needs


Ultimately, we know that more resilient businesses are less likely to fail. Their strength is in eliminating the grey areas; understanding the “what if” scenarios and planning to overcome them before others have even realised they’re a possibility. Remembering the “what if” and building it into our planning, strategy and risk management is something we’ll do even more moving forwards.”

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