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Adapting to global and external factors as an owner managed business

23rd April 2024

How can owner-managed businesses navigate global and external factors in an evolving landscape?

The fifth in our series dedicated to helping owner-managed businesses navigate their challenges in a changing landscape, focusses on navigating global and external factors.

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In the interconnected world of business, owner-managed enterprises in the UK are not immune to the far-reaching effects of global and external factors.

Bishop Fleming's recent survey among its clients has underscored several key concerns, including worries about world conflicts, fluctuations in energy prices, and the reverberating impacts of external events.

We take a look at these challenges and explore strategies for navigating them effectively:

Concerns about World Conflicts, Energy Prices, and External Events

Owner-managed businesses are acutely aware of the ripple effects of world conflicts, geopolitical tensions, and fluctuations in energy prices.

The spectre of uncertainty looms large, as businesses grapple with the implications of external events on supply chains, market dynamics, and consumer sentiment.

From trade wars and conflicts to natural disasters, unforeseen events can disrupt operations, strain resources, and pose existential threats to businesses of all sizes.

Around one third of UK businesses are planning to bring supply chains closer to home or move them to friendly nations due to geopolitical tensions, according to a recent survey by Santander. One in four companies with supply chain parts in China also intend to restructure their production network away from the country, according to the survey. Despite the likelihood of increased production costs as a result, the move is intended to reduce the risk of supply chain disruption caused by conflicts or trade wars. 

Diversification Efforts and Concerns about the Global Economy

In response to heightened uncertainty and volatility, owner-managed businesses are increasingly focusing on diversification efforts to mitigate risks and expand market reach.

Diversifying product lines, customer segments, and geographic markets can help buffer against the impact of economic downturns and geopolitical upheavals.

However, concerns about the state of the global economy persist, as businesses contend with sluggish growth, trade tensions, and shifting consumer preferences on a global scale.

Impact of Global Events on Investor Confidence and Stock Markets

Global events exert a profound influence on investor confidence and stock markets, shaping investment decisions and capital flows.

Owner-managed businesses need to be attuned to shifts in investor sentiment, as they navigate the complexities of fundraising, capital allocation, and strategic planning.

Whether it is Brexit-related uncertainties or geopolitical flashpoints, global events can trigger market volatility and fluctuations in asset prices, posing challenges for businesses seeking to access capital and fuel growth.

Strategies for Navigating Global and External Factors

Despite the formidable challenges posed by global and external factors, owner-managed businesses can implement various strategies to mitigate risks and capitalise on opportunities:

  • Scenario Planning and Risk Management: Conduct thorough scenario analyses to assess the potential impact of global events on your business operations, supply chain, and financial performance. Develop contingency plans and risk mitigation strategies to buffer against unforeseen disruptions and maintain business continuity.

  • Diversification and Market Expansion: Explore opportunities for diversification by expanding into new markets, products, or geographic regions. Invest in market research and strategic partnerships to identify growth opportunities and mitigate risks associated with exposure to specific industries or regions.

  • Strengthen Supply Chain Resilience: Enhance the resilience of your supply chain by diversifying suppliers, reducing dependencies on critical inputs, and implementing robust risk management practices. Establish clear communication channels and contingency plans to address supply chain disruptions and minimise operational disruptions.

  • Monitor Global Economic Trends: Stay abreast of global economic trends, geopolitical developments, and regulatory changes that may impact your business. Leverage market intelligence and industry insights to anticipate market shifts and proactively adjust your business strategies to capitalise on emerging opportunities and mitigate risks.

  • Build Strategic Partnerships: Cultivate strategic partnerships with suppliers, customers, industry associations, and government agencies to access resources, share best practices, and collaborate on collective solutions to common challenges. Collaborative approaches can enhance resilience and agility in navigating external uncertainties.


In conclusion, owner-managed businesses in the UK face a complex and interconnected web of global and external factors that shape their operating environment and strategic decision-making.

By using proactive risk management practices, diversifying market exposure, strengthening supply chain resilience, monitoring global economic trends, and fostering strategic partnerships, businesses can navigate the uncertainties of the global landscape and position themselves for sustainable growth and resilience in this evolving world.

Owner-managed business series

This is an ongoing series. Check out our other articles in the series:

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