If business owners have learnt anything over the past 3-5 years, it’s that ensuring that your business is future-proof is absolutely essential to survive. All good business owners should have a future plan for the business spanning a number of years in terms of goals and what they wish to achieve, but taking action in ensuring that your business is ready to take on the future is a must, whether it’s getting the right insurance for your business or making a proper plan.
Predicting what can happen with your business is almost impossible to do, after all, no one knows what the future holds. But, there are ways in which you can anticipate the future of your business and create methods which combat the effects of any issues which could crop up. Whether it’s how to weather any financial storms or create set out plans for the future, there are many ways in which you can future proof your business. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which you can protect your business and ensure its longevity well into the future.
What Does Future Proofing Mean?
Future proofing is a method of strategic planning which considers the long term well-being of your business, plus the mission to promote success for many years to come. Many different companies will take unique steps and approaches to future proof your business and prepare for any future events. Future proofing can include things such as committing to a customer-centric statement, implementing new technologies, building new partnerships or seeking new shareholders.
Listen To What Your Audience Wants
No matter your business, you want to ensure that you are providing a unique and superior experience for your customers or clients. They know what they want and expect from you, but in order to find this information out, you first need to ask them. You may wish to consider investing in setting up some focus groups, creating surveys or conducting other research. This is how you can determine exactly what your customers or clients want/need and can honestly evaluate your business through the eyes of the consumer.
You can take this further by looking to track trends and evolving views and preferences from your customers and use these to anticipate what they may want or need in the future. Think about which points you can address now and how these could change or adapt in the future. Then, continue to track behaviour, patterns and trends to help find indications of what your business may need to provide in the future.
Find Out What The Next Generation Of The Workforce Wants
During the Covid pandemic, workforce trends were massively accelerated. Workers were craving more flexibility from their jobs and, after being forced to provide this during the pandemic, it has become the norm for most businesses that soon adapted to this change and praised the benefits it provided. It’s important that, to ensure the future success of your business, you look to adapt to what future generations both want and need. What Gen-Z want from their employment is hugely different from what past generations were looking for, so it is important that you look for ways to allow your business to adapt to these new needs.
A study recently found that diversity, mental health support and transparency in salary were at the top of what would drive them to work at a business. Around ¼ of those who took the study said that they would turn down a role at a job where women and marginalised groups weren’t represented in leadership roles. 84% of survey respondents also said that, to meet their expectations, businesses should be investing more in mental wellness resources.
Businesses move at a faster-than-ever pace these days, so it is important that your business is agile and can operate in both today’s climate, as well as the future. It has been found that businesses where there were agile practices implemented could outperform competitors’ business operating models. Agility tends to lead to better business performance, but it also contributes to increased employee engagement.
Make Your Business Desireable
Following on from the previous point, as well as finding out what the next generation of your workforce wants from the workplace, it’s important to also make your business desirable so that the next generation want to work there. One of the easiest ways to make your business desirable is to branch out and expand on what you think people will want from your business if they work there.
One of the first things you should do is take a look at your company culture. Company culture is important when it comes to the overall health and success of your business, as well as the team who work there and your customers or clients. It’s important, especially when you’re looking to branch out and grow your business, to spend time considering why your current company culture is the way that it is and whether it should stay the same, or there is room for change.
Your company culture is important as it defines both your company’s internal and external identify, so investigating further as to whether this is currently healthy for your team, or if there are improvements which can be made, is the absolute bare essential when looking at making your business desirable.
As well as your company culture, think about what benefits are currently offered to staff. Do you think that they’re a good thing to have, or could they be improved? There are so many different types of employee benefits which can be offered that you’re sure to find one that suits your business. It could be things such as private healthcare and pension contributions, or for key people within your business, you could offer business life insurance to give them extra peace of mind. From leisure passes and subsidised travel to discounted food and additional holiday days, tailor these benefits to suit your business.
Adapt With The Power Of Technology
Covid showed that almost every business could be a technology-focused business. It is highly likely that, since the pandemic, your business has increased its tech capabilities and completely updated its offerings and the way in which it operates. In order to ensure that your business continues to succeed well into the future, you need to ensure that you are constantly upgrading or even just reviewing your technology uses.
Find how you can leverage which technologies you already have in place and how you can invest in the right technology to ensure that you can not only improve the operational functionality of your business, but better serve your customers and clients too. Could you use more tech within your HR or hiring function to better recruit new talent, whilst also retaining your current workforce? How could you use AI and machine learning to help develop and support this talent? Technology possibilities are increasing all the time, so you should be looking to follow them more closely.