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How to Future-Proof Your Business

How to Future-Proof Your Business
  • Opening Intro -

    No one can predict the future. Gifted business people, however, can make informed guesses and are willing to take calculated risks.

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Learning how to future-proof your business requires insight, innovation, and anticipation.

Understand Customer Needs

Brilliant business people can predict their customers’ needs before the customer even recognizes they have them. Steve Jobs famously said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean you regard yourself as a solitary genius; it may mean that people can’t articulate what they need, but they recognize it when they see it. Coming up with something to show them, however, requires intense listening and observation. What your customers say and do will show you the way to what they need.

Embrace Flexible Technology

The only thing business leaders can predict for certain is uncertainty. Disruptive technology can change the way businesses operate overnight.

Select technical tools that meet your business needs and provide flexibility to expand, upgrade, or switch out equipment.

Maintaining an expandable network for your midsize or larger business requires professionally installed structured cabling that anticipates future needs.

The rapid addition of mobile devices, the development of the Internet of Things with the layer of artificial intelligence that manages connected systems, required businesses to quickly provide more bandwidth and develop edge or “fog” computing.

Distribute Risk

Providing one product or service requires a business to go big or go home. If all your eggs are truly in one basket, you should offer something that everybody wants—and also wants from your brand specifically. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting outrun by the next cheaper, faster, better, or prettier product that a competitor introduces.

Risk also comes through over reliance on individuals and rigid processes. Build rational redundancy with your staff, vendors, and operations to equip your business to pivot quickly under rapidly changing conditions.

Businesses that provide open lines of communication for their staff, and that permit small teams move quickly to implement good ideas, can get out in front of the competition. Hierarchical structures are flattening. Horizontal, cross-functional teams can act nimbly to provide improved experiences to your clients and customers.

If we’ve all learned anything from the coronavirus pandemic, it is that disasters can strike rapidly and unpredictably. In the middle of a roaring economy, things suddenly ground to a halt. Maintain a disaster plan that addresses not only physical disasters like fires, floods, and severe weather, but also potential financial disasters.

other valuable tips:

Essential businesses that accommodated social distancing requirements have survived. But many aren’t going to make it back. Nonessential businesses that were forced to close faced ruin if they didn’t have enough emergency funding or savings available to weather the sudden closure.

Ensure your disaster plan not only covers how you’ll protect and recover data but also how you’ll carry on financially through a prolonged closure.

Future-proofing your business doesn’t require clairvoyance. However, it does require flexibility, adaptability, and forethought. Learning from experience and trying not to repeat mistakes is an important aspect of keeping your business running in good times and bad.

Businesses that thrive through innovation build on insights gained from listening to and observing customers, clients, and employees.

Image Credit: future proof your business by envato.com

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CFOne Business Management Reference:

GUIDE: prep your business before the sale

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