If there is one thing the past twelve months have taught us, the unexpected can and will find a way of happening regardless of how much we try to stop it.
The knee jerk reaction around the world to the covid pandemic has shifted peoples priorities, and as such, many have taken this time to reevaluate what they do, how they work and what this means for their business. With the death toll still rising and hundreds of thousands of businesses affected across the globe, now is the ideal time to look at ways you can make future proof of your business to make sure you are ready for the next catastrophic event that could take hold. Here are 6 ways to future-proof your business.
Many people have taken up distance learning from home to help them prepare for the career change or understand more about the world around them and how their business can be affected by different variables and economic factors. Choosing to engage the services of tutors at Preply online tutoring or enrolling in business degree courses are a great way to make sure you have all the technical knowledge you need to help you run your business properly and effectively.
Even mastering a new skill, learning a new trade or even adding to your skill set by doing courses such as bookkeeping will be beneficial when assessing what you and, by extension, your company is capable of achieving going forward.
One way of knowing how to adapt and expand is to keep close tabs on your competitors. How are they doing? Is business booming, diversifying in the current climate, and what are people saying about them? All questions you should have the answers for and be up to date on at all times.
Why? If you know what your competitors are doing, you can see how the market is changing and how you can adapt what you do and offer to meet changes in demand or client trends. Another good reason to know about the competition is to see what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. Being armed with this information can help you avoid making the same or similar mistakes, such as buying into a product that doesn't sell or there is no market.
What people want will always be changing. Gauging interest and inviting feedback on what you do can help you identify how the market is changing before the consumer does. Be aware of upcoming technological advances to help you keep one step ahead of the market, allowing you to get out in front of competitors when offering new technologies or services.
Constantly assess what you offer and evaluate how you can build on this core and diversify services or products to fill a gap in the market.
Mark out a “plan b”, so you have a backup plan should you encounter any difficulties and always look for options that could help you embrace and adapt to new trends to avoid falling behind the market and becoming obsolete. After all, the old adage, “the early bird gets the worm” is applicable when to comes to keeping on top of your game in business.
How do you process the data you hold on clients, suppliers, competition and observers? In fact, you probably hold more data than you realise, and if you aren't utilising it the best way possible, you will be doing yourself a disservice.
Put a comprehensive data analysis plan in place to help determine what the data is telling you. Besides focusing on sales data, combine it with all the other data you have, such as social media mentions, interaction and website activity. Analyse customer queries to identify what they are looking for and how you can translate that into sales and in what timeframe would it be possible.
Or rather, your past mistakes can be hugely impactful on your future. How? By determining past behavioural trends along with your successes and failures, you combine the knowledge you gain from this analysis to apply to plans to diversify your business.
You constantly need to adapt and evolve, so identifying what does work for you and why and what failed will give you the basis for a plan. Ask yourself what you could do better and how you could do it better. Pinpoint specific principles that impacted past decisions and combine this with your data analysis to help you build a better picture of what your present could look like.
Tying in nicely with the above point, identifying your strengths and weaknesses and building a plan for moving forward for the future will help you in risk assessing your company as a whole.
Depending on your company, this could be one of many different things, such as relying on rigid financing options that could cause issues if vendors demand early payment or clients are late processing invoices. It could be that you are relying on one specific vendor to supply the bulk of your products or even relying on specific staff members to take on the bulk of the work. What would happen if they could come into work for prolonged periods or if they left the company? What would happen if your vendor suddenly went bust? Where would you source products or materials?
Risk assessment is mostly about the what-ifs, but in business, to be fully future proof, you need to address the what-ifs and have contingency plans in place just in case. Don't forget to include your security options when undertaking risk assessments. Companies and individuals alike face hefty fines should sensitive information fall into the worn hands via a security breach due to your negligence.
Realistically, many business owners will find they are too busy to fully appreciate the what-ifs or the tomorrows that may never come. But in an unstable economic climate, the what-ifs could become the right now, failing to address, and weaknesses in your company could be your downfall.