Business leaders beware: failure to keep an eye on the future will prove detrimental to your business. We live in an ever-evolving society, one in which technology and customer demands are always changing. Failure to keep up to change is the first step towards business failure.
Look at how many businesses are closing their doors. According to Business Insider, over 8000 stores closed down in the US during 2017! That’s a shocking statistic and surely a wake-up call to all business leaders and entrepreneurs. Why have so many shut down? The biggest reason is the rise in online shopping. Retailers struggle to compete. However, the warning extends to any business, let alone retail, as there is a need to future-proof industrial and manufacturing businesses to stay afloat when dealing with the competition.
This is where the power of future thinking has to come into play. By keeping one eye on current and future trends, businesses owners are one step nearer to success rather than closure.
Focus your thinking on the following areas:
Think about marketing – In the past, business owners relied on traditional methods, such as newspaper ads, leaflet drops, and other forms of print marketing. Times have changed. How many of us actually buy a newspaper anymore? How many of us regard leaflets through the door as junk mail? We get the information we need online, and that is why business owners should focus their efforts on digital marketing, with Google AdWords and the like, strategies that are future-proof, at least for the next few years.
Think about your industry – How is your industry changing? What are the current trends that specifically affect your business? Sticking with old methods won’t help you, so check out your competitors, keep up-to-date with reports in the media, and speak to the people who may be better educated than you. Research is key, so explore your business niche to stay relevant to all of your product and service users.
Think about technology – This goes beyond replacing your 2008 Apple Mac with the latest model, although you really should upgrade all of your equipment too. We are talking about cloud software, including the use of hybrid cloud implementation. We are talking about augmented reality, the latest in artificial intelligence, and unified communication technology. We are talking about the technological advances that are game-changing in business, and you need to take advantage of the latest software and equipment to take you into the future. They will improve the way you do business, enhance your productivity, support your customer demands, and give you the means to do things you never thought possible. The competition are probably already doing it, so you need to stay ahead of the curve to succeed.
Think about the wider picture – Don’t only keep an eye on trends within your business, as what is happening elsewhere might also affect your operations. Remember when smartphones came into play? Not only did they cause a problem for landline phone companies, but they also affected print newspapers and magazines, pushed camera company Kodak into bankruptcy, and ate their way into the video game market. Learn from that lesson. What is happening elsewhere might impinge on what you are doing, directly or indirectly, so think about the wider picture and take steps to protect your interests.
Yesterday has gone, and so are most of the methods and strategies that business owners used to rely on. Instead, think about tomorrow and the next big thing. If it’s relevant to your business, take timely steps into the future to ensure your ongoing survival.