4 Ways to Future Proof Your Small Business

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With the quickly changing market, the best thing to do for your business is to future-proof it. As businesses and industries evolve over time, so do the buyers habits. This compels businesses to adapt to the changes, or risk falling behind.

In recent times there have been cases of popular companies failing to adapt to customer behavior. Nokia, for example, failed to recognize that the phone market was heading towards android and full touchscreen experience. The brand still exists, but it was bought by Microsoft. Once a giant in its market, because of a couple of wrong calls Nokia was forced out of the competition.

Another example is Kodak, once one of the most trusted companies in the photography industry. They also failed to adapt to the trends. Kodak considered moving away from film and going towards digital photography was a temporary trend and would go away. This was the decision that led to their downfall. Let’s go over some key points to prevent such a fate from happening to your business.

Feedback

It is important to get regular feedback on your products and services. All that you are offering need to constantly change and meet customer needs. Never be afraid of innovating. Nostalgia can instill a kind of fear from deranging the usual way of doing things. Send surveys to your loyal customers with questions on how to improve what you are offering.

This constant feedback that you will be getting is invaluable. Who better to give you tips than the people who are using your products and services? Also, be on the lookout for industry trendsetters blind sighting you. In order to prevent this, attend industry conferences and follow influencers to get the scoop on the latest trends. Do not remain stagnant, and always be on the forefront. Fail to adapt and you will miss on opportunities, and will eventually go under, as even the towering giants have done.

Investing in your staff

In order for your business to grow and adapt it is necessary to also invest in your staff. By doing that, you are constantly opening new possibilities for your company to reach new markets, and be more efficient. Invest in your employees and you will provide everyone with new opportunities, and can set revenue targets. Consider future proofing your operating efficiency and customer service skills. These are just some of the areas to invest in when talking about your workforce. What this also entails is automating wherever possible.

Automation is a big rage these days and for a good reason too. Workplaces that can be replaced with robots and artificial intelligence have the potential of being much more efficient. Automated workplaces do not call in sick, do not need a vacation, and are always at peak efficiency. Automation will not take over the entire job market anytime soon, so do not worry. There will always be good old-fashioned skilled labor in the midst. Automation is nothing to worry about and can improve the lives of everyone involved.

Technology

Technology in any enterprise is the fastest changing variable. So, in order to keep your company future-proof, you need to be frequently investing in it. Keep your IT infrastructure on par with the times, and business demands. A serious threat exists that has cost companies revenue and customer trust. Data breaches are a very bad thing to go through and is usually caused by obsolete equipment. If you are holding customer data, as companies often do, it is your obligation and responsibility to protect it.

Efficient capital management

It is a very fine line between having too much money, and not having enough. Counter-intuitively, having too many free-floating resources is a bad thing. Sure, a reserve of some kind should always be available in case of unforeseen circumstances. But what it means is that reserved money is not being used nor invested in future endeavors. It just sits in place, waiting for an unlikely situation to be used.

Also, over-borrowing can result in unnecessary interest that you have to eventually pay back. And not borrowing enough has its own obvious consequences of not having enough resources to continue doing business. Any future-oriented company has a strict record of past transactions. These are professionally managed by accountants and accounting firms. With these detailed reports, you can make forecasts for future investments and be as efficient as possible with your money. It is an edge you will need in a highly competitive market.

Future-proofing a business is not a one-time ordeal. It is a constant strive to meet the demands of both the customers and company needs. Every good leader is thinking about the future and the company’s role in it. Do not wait for the future to come, but be proactive and greet it prepared and with open arms.

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