SEVEN WAYS TO FUTURE PROOF YOUR BUSINESS
It can be hard to focus on the future when the demands of the present day are so insistent. You’ve got work to do, bills to pay, products to ship. Exactly when do any of us have time to crystal ball gaze?
Well, the bad news is that business people who don’t stop to consider what’s around the corner are as vulnerable as an ice-cream in a heatwave.
And while it’s not possible to ‘future proof’ a business or a person – the future’s going to happen anyway and it’s beyond our control – what you can do is think about innovating, adapting, collaborating and building influence.
Your aim should not be to hide from the future. It should be to have the capacity to deal with it or, better still, actively create it.
Because here’s the good news. You can avoid being disrupted by the waves of change by becoming part of the wave.
So where to begin? Here are seven ways you can get started on planning for the future.
1. LOVE MORE
Relationships with your consumers are key and, at a time when trust is at an all-time low, there is a serendipitous opportunity to restate your love for any existing or even potential customers.
Take time to consider how you can deepen that relationship, improve on your customer intimacy rating and – without getting too creepy – become slightly obsessed with their every move in order to better understand their behaviours and needs.
2. LOSE WEIGHT
It’s time to think about what areas of the business could benefit from shedding old habits and behaviours.
So many organisations are stuck in the past and holding on to archaic business strategies and mantras. It may also be the case that there are ‘fat’ layers within the organisation that slow down decision-making processes and the ability to respond to market pressures. It’s time to start spring training and replace the fat with muscle if you’re going to survive.
3. CARE MORE
Many people are experiencing a shift in mindset and becoming acutely aware of the big, connected world that we all share. Due to this feeling of ‘oneness’ people are starting to show that they care about more than just themselves.
The reality is that caring for the planet is now very much expected and demanded by consumers and accountability is becoming unavoidable. Of more immediate interest is the care that employers show to employees – with the global talent shortage, it is imperative that organisations start to treat their staff as they would their consumers. Good employees have a considerable amount of influence in terms of how your business is perceived.
4. BE TECH FIT
It has been universally acknowledged that growth invariably comes from innovation. With so much pressure on business, there needs to be a different approach to all things IT-related so that it is possible to keep up with the flood of new developments whether IoT, automation, AR, VR, software platforms or the cloud.
5. GET ORGANISED
Much like a spring-clean, this is the perfect time to reflect on what is and isn’t working. Similar to our personal lives, this is about addressing internal processes and procedures that impact all staff, from operating systems, paperwork, office protocols, meeting etiquette and leadership styles, right through to how staff communicate with one another and how progress is tracked and evaluated.
6. KEEP LEARNING
There has been an explosion in the online learning sector and we continue to see notable shifts in market dynamics and consumer behaviours.
With the vast technological changes that are underway, coupled with the ongoing evolution of technology in our lives, it would seem we are moving towards an era where greater value is placed on learning (and the learned) and the future will ultimately belong to those who take it upon themselves (in and outside of work) to become a lifelong learner.
7. TRAVEL OFTEN
Travel is about getting out into new and different places, broadening your horizons and soaking up different kinds of people, cuisine, cultures, music, landscapes, climates and so on. In order to future proof your business and stay relevant, you have to have an open mindset, look beyond the local community and, whenever/wherever possible, get out into the real world and experience brands just as consumers do.
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AND WHILE YOU’RE HERE DON’T FORGET
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