You often hear discussion or see an article pop up online about the possibility of things that could happen in terms of governmental and societal changes, such as the single-use plastic bag ban (which we’ve already witnessed become law), or road user charges and living wage increases. You probably don’t give these things too much thought, you carry on and you may think they’re too far in the future to worry about or take seriously – but before you know it, changes seem to have been implemented over night and you find yourself facing media and public criticism as to why you haven’t made appropriate changes to your business.

We all know that running a business, particularly a small to medium sized business is hard work and can get stressful, so to do yourself a favour: Look ahead, predict change, and prepare now. Make life easier for yourself by forecasting changes regarding environmental compliance, health and safety regulations, and social compliance, and if you don’t think your business can survive and thrive under business conditions that will only ever increase, you may need to re-think your path.

As you have no control over decisions that the government make, here are three things you should consider as a SME owner to navigate inevitable changes:

1. Valuate all your business decisions now

By examining all aspects of your business and the way it operates, you should be able to gauge where you’re at in terms of official requirements, whether you currently comply or not, and whether your business is equipped to deal with and succeed under future law.

2. Continue, close, or change?

Once you’re clear on how your business matches up with government standards and social expectations, consider and decide on whether it’s worth continuing to run your business, whether you should shut up shop or whether you should change the model. With the living wage increase, for example, which is set to increase by more than 27 per cent over the next few years, deciding whether it is feasible in terms of paying your employees, will be a crucial aspect to consider.

3. Anticipate

Forward thinking, as we’ve discussed, can save you the added stress come D-Day. While some things may not be law yet, start thinking like it is law to stay on top of compliance, and out of the New Zealand Herald.