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What steps can you take to future proof your business?

 

1. Understand who your core customers are.

Businesses that fail, often lose touch with their customers. By understanding who they are you can ensure you are tailoring your communications to reach them. Always keep a close eye on your target audience as they rapidly change with trends, time and technology.  Constantly reviewing what your audience is interested in and purchasing, will ensure you are responding to their needs and keeping your offer relevant. Remember your UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION. What is setting you apart from the competition?

2. Upskill your workforce.

Every business should look to continually learn and develop their skill set. Consider what capabilities will be needed in the future, and invest in your current workforce. This will also keep your staff engaged and motivated, loving what they are doing and enjoying their progress.

3. Collaborate.

It is becoming more common for businesses to collaborate, merge or partner as the benefits of doing so can be far greater than going at it alone. Is this a consideration for your business? What benefits would it bring? What would the relationship be and how would you go about this?

4. Don’t be afraid of failure.

It is inevitable that you will make mistakes along the way. It comes as part of growing a business. At 21six we say “Do. Learn. Do”. It’s important to try new things, test the boundaries but make sure you learn from it and adapt accordingly.

5. Embrace technology.

Don’t be a dinosaur! With over 3.5 billion people now using the internet* it has never been more important to stay up to date with technology. In such a fast moving economy where online sales continue to grow, consumers are now more ‘connected’ than ever before with the average person spending more than 4 hours per day on a mobile device. It’s this constant connectivity that is driving the ‘always on’ purchasing or service uptake. Therefore, staying ahead of technology is paramount – whether it’s a product or a service, if it takes too much effort then you’ve lost your audience. There are so many resources out there, so find the best one that works for you.

6. Be planned and proactive.

Failure to plan could damage your business. Make sure you are not only planning for the short-term but just as importantly the long-term too. Focusing on being more proactive and not just reactive. So many business focus on the ‘now’ and forget to plan ahead, which can leave them behind in the long run. Ensure to include measureable goals that you can track.

7. Deal with the unexpected.

Identify the types of risk your business might be exposed to, your approach to these risks and how effectively you are able to respond to them. What is your contingency plan and what would you need in order to get back on track? Thinking differently is key. Where there is a risk there is also an opportunity so make sure you exploit the opportunities!

8. Provide great leadership

Clear direction and communication are absolutely key to providing good leadership. The ship won’t steer itself, as they say. If your ship isn’t moving then you can’t get it to change direction. It’s the same principle in business. Make sure your employees are well informed and on board with your plans. A good leader will profit from staff that are engaged, dependable, and competent, all of which will increase productivity and staff retention.

9. Stay true to your core values.

These are the fundamental beliefs that drive your business. They are your guiding principles. Make sure that you and all of your staff know them and live by them.

10. Stay tuned.

Monitor other companies and not just your own competitors. There are so many innovations happening across different industries that you can take inspiration and learnings from, to apply to your own business. Car manufacturer Tesla is a fantastic example of an organisation that is at the forefront of innovation and openly shout about it.

 

Sources:

*S&P 500 index Company lifespan has decreased from 61 years in 1958 to just 18 years.

**world internet usage and population statistics. June 30, 2017