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We all know that businesses benefit from stability because it allows us to plan for the future. But there seems little point in pushing for what seems to be an unlikely development over the next few years. So, instead, I am going to begin concentrating on ensuring that my short and medium-term plans for our business are as flexible as they can be – to allow for the unexpected.

While we have all been worrying about Trump, Brexit, independence, the election and the strength of the pound, there have been several other disruptive elements that we all need to contend with: we’ve been told by several esteemed writers of management theory that we will all be replaced by robots, and our jobs replaced by artificial intelligence.

While this might seem far-fetched, I think that the pace of change and the way we work will continue to speed up over the next few years, and this will lead to a whole new kind of ‘disruption’.

Time of change

Who would have thought, for instance, that black cabs would have suffered the industry disruption that Uber has caused? Or that Amazon, which changed many people’s shopping habits into a virtual experience, is now looking at opening ‘bricks and mortar’ stores?

And instead of going out to get a takeaway, who would have thought that your dinner would come to you, delivered by a Deliveroo cyclist? And, it’s not all down to high-tech and artificial intelligence – come on, these are people on bikes!

So, what equivalent examples are there in your industry? Have you even spent any time thinking about it? And do you have a culture of looking to the horizon to see what’s already out there?

If not, maybe you should reinvest some of the time you save when writing shorter, more flexible business plans, into looking at what’s going to disrupt your industry next.

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About the author

Andy Minifie

Andy’s an experienced business leader working within Haines Watts. His strategic development of the firm whilst in the role of Group Managing Partner, has seen the business grow from a £20m turnover accounting firm to a multi-disciplinary operation of business advisors with an £80m turnover. It’s this expertise, coupled with strong leadership and collaboration with other like-minded individuals that now sees the brand as the top 13th largest firm of its type in the UK.

Having originally qualified as an accountant with a large multi-national firm, Andy worked in the UK as well as in Hong Kong, China, and other parts of the Far East with a broad range of clients. It was during this period that he developed his desire to work with owner managed businesses, who needed forward thinking proactive advice rather than just the production of historic accounts. On returning to the UK some 30 years ago, Andy joined Haines Watts as a Manager in the Birmingham office. Having opened a further office in the Midlands, he became involved in establishing several other Haines Watts sites across the country. He then joined the National Board in 1998 and became National Managing Partner in 2004, a role he held for 16 years until recently, when he decided to take the title of Chairman and return to working in the field with teams of like-minded individuals, pushing the business forward.

Andy remains dedicated to leading the business from the front and is happiest when sharing his experience with younger, enthusiastic team members.

Whilst working with groups of offices in Scotland, Yorkshire, Humber and the West Midlands, Andy spends much of his time in the East Midlands. His personal value statement of “together we achieve more”, works both in his business and his personal life.

“Despite my Yorkshire upbringing, I live in the West Midlands with my wife Kathryn, and on the rare occasions when I’m not working, I’m an avid scuba diver.”

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