Is your business #FutureFit?
With the economic landscape changing every day, managing a business has its challenges: as a business owner, you must ensure that your business is operational, profitable, and ready for the evolving environment. So how does one ensure that the business is better prepared for the future and implement the correct decisions, enabling it to last for decades?
Here is a list of 8 strategies that can help you to future proof your business.
1) Don’t depend on one part of your business for complete success
Most companies achieve success with just one great product. It could be for a niche market or a mass market audience. Even if it’s very popular and responsible for generating almost entire chunk of the total revenue, you must think about other ways to diversify your product portfolio.
2) Rethink your Past strategies that may fail to engage new customers
A lot of businesses depend on print advertisements to acquire customers. With the rise of social media and new avenues like ‘Search Engine Marketing’ and ‘Inbound Marketing’, things are going to change for sure. Your old strategies will no longer work and you might struggle to acquire new customers if you don’t adopt to new ways.
Real estate developers are now shifting to digital advertising platforms like YouTube and Google AdWords to promote their new businesses and relying less on newspaper ads.
3) Predict the future demands today
When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars people said, ‘Nah, what’s wrong with a horse?’ That was a huge bet he made, and it worked.
So, your customers can’t always tell you what they want, you have to anticipate it. This needs some imagination and experience with the trends of industry you work in.
4) Identify & start managing risks
You won’t be able to predict the problems that might occur in future but you can certainly take some steps to better prepare yourself. First, we need to find the risks or possible point of failures for our business. These risks could be in areas like people, system or business processes, legal compliance, data security, etc.
If you are depending too much on a single person, vendor or a small group of people for the success of your business, then you might face big problems in future when these people are not around. Similarly, you need to find out the gaps in your business process and address them before those turn into problems.
5) Listen to customers & observer their behaviour
Business owners are normally so busy with product development and sales that they completely forget their main stake holder – The Customer. In order to future proof your business, you should start focusing on the changes in customer behaviour that might happen in near future.
Shopkeepers didn’t anticipate the onslaught of e-commerce players that started couple of years back and most of them went out of their business.
Similarly, you need to setup a system to track customer behaviour, you need to listen to their needs and considering the developments in your industry, you should try to predict the change in buying pattern.
6) Follow the trends in developed countries
To stay ahead in the game, you must regularly track what’s happening in other developed countries related to your industry. There are numerous blogs are sites that can provide you this info. You can even create a Google Alert on the topic of your interest.
7) Watch for influencing factors surrounding your business
If you really want to future proof your start up, you need keep an eye on your surroundings. You must make yourself aware of the developments happening around you even if those are not related to your industry.
With faster internet, consumer habits changed dramatically and it affected lots of different businesses. You need to watch out for such influencing factors that can indirectly impact your business.
8) Create favourable environment for innovation
Predicting future is not possible but we can get close to it. You cannot always win by following the leaders, you have to innovate at one point to stay ahead in the game. Innovation is not easy and you might fail several times but once you hit the bull’s eye, you’ll leap ahead of your competition.
To foster the culture of innovation, you need to create a favourable environment for it. One way to do it is, give your employees freedom to experiment, send them to tech events and conferences in your industry and finally reward them for their work.
Things are changing fast in today’s business scenario and even a successful business cannot guarantee its survival if it’s not prepared for the future. Using above strategies, you can #futureproof your business to some extent and stay ahead of the competition.