How to Future Proof Your Business
“Any company that can’t imagine the future, won’t be around to enjoy it.”
Decades ago, the pace of change was slow enough that the future seemed a distant prospect. The car people were driving would still be around next year. Technology lasted for years instead of weeks. Companies could feel safe and secure operating within rigid business models based on what worked before. More recently, the pace of change has accelerated rapidly. Many businesses have dramatically changed the way they do business since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some no longer exist. The ability to change and embrace evolving conditions have been proven to be vital skills as one confronts an uncertain future.
Tips to Future Proofing Your Organisation
- Become more customer-centric
- Digital Transformation
- Adapt & Innovate
- Anticipate future demands
- Identify your weaknesses
Few anticipated a global pandemic, but why then did some survive while others failed? The answer is that some had engaged in future proofing business strategies. How can you future proof your business? Here are a few suggestions.
Get close to your customers
The customer is King. Never before has business relied so heavily on customers' loyalty than during the pandemic. Transform your business to become more customer-centric. Make the customer the centre of your attention, and you will be rewarded with an audience that will stick with you through adversity and advocate for your brand more broadly. Everything you do must consider their perspective and must return value to them.
Transform your business digitally
Keep pace with emerging technologies. It’s time to digitally transform your business. Not only does this align with the behaviour of consumers but it provides you access to a massive amount of data which will ensure you can transform your business, your offer, your delivery channels and your messaging to better address a changing world.
Keep looking for a better way - Adapt and innovate
Simple changes in the way you operate can yield massive returns. Consider the way you are consuming resources. Is there a way you can reuse materials to appeal to new customers and meet society’s need for sustainability? What emerging business operating software may return more value to your business. Empower your team to look for a better way or identify innovations that return value to your customers. Promote a culture of change and innovation within your business.
Look forward all the time. Anticipate the future
Don’t look down - look forward. Don’t limit your business to matching your competitors today, but push to be at the front of the pack, delivering the products and services of the future. Look for solutions that meet tomorrow’s demands. Consider the longer-term impacts of the recent pandemic. Brainstorm it with others. How might it change buying habits? Clearly, work habits have changed. What opportunities exist to capitalise upon some of these changes. What’s next?
Identify and manage your weaknesses
When you future proof your business, you must objectively assess your risk profile – those weaknesses that may leave your business exposed. Those risks may relate to data security, legal compliance, business processes or any area within your company. Look at each in turn and develop a risk management strategy to avoid or mitigate those risks. It is also essential to be considering those risks in the future environment. While these factors may not represent a risk today, they may well be a significant risk tomorrow.
Future proofing business is an uncertain science
There is no correct way to transform your business. Every business is different, and much of your future proofing effort requires you to conclude where the future is headed. One thing is sure though, change is happening faster, and only those businesses that look forward and are committed to embracing the future will succeed.