UK borrowing is at the highest level since records began and increasing numbers of high street brands succumbing to administration.

However, it is through these periods of hardship that we grow most as business owners and entrepreneurs. Therefore, as we draw to the end of the year, it's important to reflect, take stock and understand how you can drive positive change from the lessons that have been learnt:

The importance of Agility

One of the main reasons that large organisations fail is because they remain too rigid in their approach to business, with the mantra of ‘but we've always done it this way' restricting any meaningful changes and resulting growth.

When the first national lockdown was imposed in March 2020, all businesses were either forced to close their doors or implement new tech solutions that enabled them to operate remotely and on mass. With limited notice, this change was implemented swiftly meaning business owners had to act fast with little time to agonise over the right decision.

Being flexible, agile and open to change is imperative in business, as only through evolution do you have the opportunity to try new tactics, to diversify your approach and to find more efficient ways of working that support growth. Therefore, if there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught business leaders, it is the importance of agility.

Digital presence

With millions of businesses forced to close their doors multiple times during 2020, the value of a strong and consistent digital presence has never been so high. For years, retail brands like Primark have revelled in their low-cost, high volume approach, but have since suffered extensive losses during both lockdown periods as a result of having no eCommerce channel for consumers to purchase goods.

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the true value of maintaining a strong brand presence, which comes hand in hand with digital marketing spend. When the pandemic first hit, millions of businesses reviewed their P&L and cut as many costs as possible in order to reduce overheads and survive the coming months. Although this exercise would have proved vital, millions of businesses took this one step too far in the removal of marketing budgets, losing their brand presence and providing the opportunity for competitors to dominate and increase market share as a result.

History has shown us time and time again that the businesses who continue to invest in advertising and marketing during periods of economic hardship are the ones who will inevitably come out on top.

Although Q3 stats have demonstrated just how quickly the economy can bounce back, we still have a long way to go and one of the key things all business leaders should take into account for 2021 is the strength of their brand. To truly dominate and disrupt, your customers need to know who you are, what your business offers and why you're better than market competitors.

Mindset is Key

To work through any challenge in business, you need to have the right mindset and strength of character to persevere and just keep pushing. 2020 has been a true test of mindset, where the business leaders who have got this right are those who have worked through every single challenge, diversified their approach to market and even pivoted their product or service offering to appeal to their target audience and maintain revenue.

Your mindset is one of the most critical things you have in business and just as the right, growth mindset can enable you to achieve your greatest ambitions, a limited mindset can prevent you from propelling the business forwards and achieving growth.

To finish with the famous words of Napoleon Hill, "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve".

By Reece Mennie,  serial investor and entrepreneur, renowned for his unrivalled expertise in the alternative property investment sector.