Every day, your small business is at risk of falling behind. To be successful, you must be prepared to take on emerging challenges, consider investing in and utilizing new technologies, and keep your present and future customers and competitors in mind. In short, you must be future-ready. Successful businesses not only have a plan for the present but the future as well.
What does a future-ready business look like?
Here are five characteristics of every business that is ready to take on the future:
- Positive attitude to change.
- Open to new technology.
- Clearly defined steps in place for business transformation.
- Up to date with trends and uncertainties.
If your company lacks any of the above five characteristics, it is not ready to take on the future. If your business is unequipped to survive, you don’t have to lose hope. It’s never too late to begin. You can still get your business from where it is today to being a future-ready company. Here are seven tested strategies to help you get started.
1. Conduct market research
Have a thorough understanding of your industry. Understand the changes occurring within your industry and what your competitors are doing to keep up with the changes. Keep an eye out for changes in what customers within your industry are demanding.
It’s also critical that you keep an eye out for large-scale trends like government policy changes and changes in raw material prices that might impact your industry.
2. Keep an eye on your competitors
While you are busy concentrating on the future, you might forget to see what’s happening around you. Without your knowledge, you could be paving the way for new competitors who silently make their way behind you. You might have had the privilege of getting the first pick of leads until now. But with more competitors right at your heel, you might have to fight tooth and nail for your share in the future.
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Don’t take your eye off your competitors. Ensure that you maintain your position or even move a rung or two higher up the ladder – but never slip.
3. Follow a structured process
That means doing away with awkward, one-off attempts to fix problems quickly. To create a structured process, you need to understand:
- The current reality of your business.
- Where you would like your business to be at different timelines (for example, at five years and 10 years).
- How you want to get to each of those goals.
With the above information, you have a clear vision for your business and can use that information to create a reliable and structured process to get there.
4. Implement your processes and plans
Having structured processes and plans in place is one thing, but implementing them is an entirely different ballgame. It’s easy to get caught up with your daily operations. As a result, all the well-structured plans and processes don’t get implemented. Meet with all the relevant teams every month to ensure any new processes, strategies, or plans are implemented.
5. Stay financially sound
Every industry experiences periods of peaks and falls. If you want to get your company ready for the future, you must ensure your business is profitable and has a solid and free cash flow. That way, if you were to lose a couple of customers in the future, you would still be able to survive and pull through. So instead of putting back all your free cash flow into the business, save up a percentage of it every month.
6. Understand your pricing proposition
Prices of your products and services fluctuate over time. That trend will continue as well. To future-proof your business, it’s necessary to understand how your competitors price their products and price your products accordingly. However, keep in mind that pricing your products more expensive than your competitors could backfire. Similarly, if you offer your products at a much more affordable value – cheaper than your competitors, your customers are going to wonder what’s wrong with your products.
While you must align your prices with the market prices, you should be prepared to explain the rise or dip in any costs.
7. Have a fantastic team in place
Your team is going to carry your business into the future. Hiring the right people on your team is time-consuming, but failing to do so could lead to very costly mistakes. Training is another critical aspect that cannot be ignored. A well-trained team is a team that is ready to take on future challenges.
If you have not future-proofed your business yet, it’s not too late to start the process today. It takes time, patience, and dedication. However, once you get the ball rolling, your business will sail through the future without minimal unanticipated hiccups and glitches.
Finally, successful small business owners also invest in small business insurance to protect their business. So, if you want to protect your assets, reputation, and company today and in the future, consider investing in insurance for small businesses.