What do we Mean When we say Horizon Scanning?

January 23, 2023

With great risk comes great reward. However, when that risk involves cash flow, regulatory hurdles, the launch of new products, the creation of new intellectual property, and a sprawl of commercial matters - it’s easy to wish for a crystal ball to predict the future. While no such thing exists - yet - horizon scanning is a remarkably useful tool when planning the future of a company. 

For CFOs, horizon scanning can open the floodgates for intelligent financial planning, for GCs, horizon scanning can avoid unnecessary risk, and for CEOs, horizon scanning can offer a clearer picture of the future, and what’s needed to thrive within it. 

In this article, we tackle horizon scanning, from its pitfalls to its powers, and outline how you can protect your business with a bit of expert foresight.

Why is horizon scanning important?

Despite its uses, horizon scanning isn’t simple. Firstly, horizon scanning is a lot more than “guesswork”, and requires in-depth expertise and a commitment to keeping up to date on market trends, upcoming legislation, looming legal deadlines, and regulatory evolutions. Put simply, it’s a time-consuming process that very few individuals have the resource for. 

And yet, without it, businesses are ill-equipped to intelligently plan for the future. Worse yet, a company can very quickly fall foul of its obligations if it’s not keeping an eye on upcoming changes. The importance of horizon scanning can’t be understated. It doesn’t just provide a runway for business growth - it also clearly marks where trouble might lie ahead.

Keeping up with horizon scanning

While horizon scanning is important, it’s not easy to do. Particularly when horizon scanning can span across regulatory issues, right across to intellectual property matters and changes within the data privacy world. For example, as a CFO with enough on your plate, how do you keep up with the day job and monitor changes outside of your field? As a CEO you’re expected to keep abreast of industry trends, but can the same be said for legal issues set to impact your business? And, as an HR professional, employment matters will rest within your remit - but do you reasonably have time to pore over reams of “potential” legislation? 

The answer? No. 

So how can you keep up with horizon scanning?

Outsourcing your horizon scanning

Today’s teams have enough on their plates, without scanning the horizon for potential pitfalls or opportunities. Ultimately, businesses need a partner that can take on the burden of horizon scanning, returning much-needed time and resource back to businesses so they can focus on scaling. So, what’s the solution?

For some, that solution comes in the form of a trusted legal partner, that takes on the burden of the legal nitty gritty, in addition to keeping a close eye on the periphery for potential changes that might impact the business. 

We’re on a mission to support fast-growth businesses on their scaleup journey, and, to do so, we not only equip companies with day-to-day legal expertise - we scan the horizon, spot threats, and clear the way for opportunities. As part of our Flamingo Subscription, companies can enjoy legal protection, in addition to expert horizon scanning. So, what are some of the ways we can support?

Commercial updates

Whether you’re launching a new product in the market or entering into valuable commercial agreements, you need a lawyer who can negotiate terms, protect your interests, and uphold compliance. And yet, it’s tricky to understand just how quickly the market is moving, and what you need to do to keep up with it. Our commercial law experts don’t just get you the best terms, they also intimately understand the commercial landscape you’re operating in. 

By supporting countless other fast-growth scaleups, your lawyer will be exposed to numerous industries, insider insights, and looming legislation. The result? Your commercial projects can flourish with cutting-edge legal support that has an eye on the horizon.

Corporate updates

Whether you’re diving into shares or preparing to seek investment, there is a lot involved in corporate matters. And, without an expert on the ground, you may just miss out on tax relief schemes, equity avenues, or due diligence tips and tricks, simply due to the fact that you don’t have the time or resources to scan the horizon. 

Our corporate law experts ensure you make the most of the options available to you, from SEIS updates to maximising your value as a business.

Employment matters

People are often a crucial part of a company's success, whether that’s founders, full-time hires, or contractors. However, where there are people, there’s unpredictability. From evolving employment rights - such as the recent right to request flexible working - to looming changes set to impact the working world, it can be a challenge to keep up with legislation. However - get it wrong and you could be in big legal trouble. 

Our employment experts work alongside HR professionals, operations whiz-kids, and ambitious executive teams to do right by the business and its people. Better yet, as employment experts, our lawyers ensure you’re prepared for any change in the working world. 

employment lawyers

Data protection updates

Phew. Data protection. Where do we start? In recent years we’ve watched the rise of the GPDR, the growing powers of the ICO, and the risks and fines that come with breaching data protection laws. As a business liable to process data - which is almost all companies - it’s paramount that you keep up with your data protection obligations.

But how are you supposed to do that when those obligations are constantly evolving?

Fortunately, our Flamingo Subscription equips you with data protection fanatics who read the fine print so you don’t have to. Nifty. 

data protection lawyers

Regulatory hurdles

Another biggie here - regulatory horizon scanning. For many businesses, notably in the financial services sector, regulations are the be-all and end-all. Scaling them can be a mammoth challenge, and keeping updated on changes can be an even more difficult task. 

In fact, updates in the regulatory world keep on coming, from updates to the FCA Consumer Duty Principle, to evolving opportunities for Neobanks. However, without a regulatory expert on your side, it can be difficult to know what opportunities are out there, and which deadlines are looming ahead. 

Intellectual property issues

Intellectual property is valuable - simple stuff, right? However, understanding what constitutes intellectual property, how it can be protected, and how it can be monitored, is a much more complex story. Many companies possess intellectual property with the power to bring in revenue for the business. What many don’t realise, however, is that intellectual property protection is easy to get wrong. 

Don’t believe us? Prolific creator of intellectual property, Banksy, even got it wrong, losing the ability to appropriately protect his material in the process. Yikes. 

So, what’s to be done? The harsh reality is that you don’t have the time to monitor your IP - and the hands it falls into. Furthermore, you don’t have the resource to scan the horizons of the intellectual property world and understand how best to leverage your assets.

legal subscription

Industry news

Aside from horizon scanning of the legal nitty gritty, our legal team have a unique perk up their sleeve. As the legal partner for fast-growth companies such as Truelayer, Multiverse, and Onfido, our team are witness to evolutions within countless industries. They don’t just understand legal matters, they are also intimately aware of investor appetites, shifts in financial markets, changes to product delivery - you name it. 

In many respects, our team can scan the horizon quite simply because they operate at the edge of it, day by day. 

Need support with horizon scanning?

Contact us now for a free, no-obligation discovery call.

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