Today’s business landscape has ever-changing market conditions and rapidly emerging technologies. Businesses have to keep up with these trends not only to thrive but also to succeed in the market for the long term. The good news is that numerous proven strategies can pave the way for every company’s long-term success. This article will cover five things a company can do or implement to future-proof its business.
The voice of the customer (VoC) matters. Listening to it gives companies insight into customer preferences, problems, and complaints. With this information, they can improve their products and services to meet customers’ needs and expectations.
Conversely, focusing on sales and product development more than customers’ preferences and changing views will put a company at a disadvantage. It results in a decreased customer base, a bad reputation, missed marketing opportunities, and falling behind the competition.
One of the technological solutions to capture VoC is open innovation. In business, it’s the practice of sourcing ideas from external sources. This collaboration isn’t only exclusive to customers but also suppliers, partners, or any person outside a company.
Open innovation doesn’t only promote the involvement of customers and a broader audience and improve brand image. Access to these resources also helps companies lower costs, reduce innovation risk, and accelerate time-to-market (TTM).
All of these advantages help companies stay ahead of their competition. Moreover, the key driving force of open innovation is digital transformation. It makes this practice a good way to future-proof a business in this era of a tech revolution.
One method to encourage open innovation is through the minimum viable product (MVP). It’s a pared-down version of a product or service with enough features or specifications to attract early adopter customers.
The primary purpose of an MVP is to test the company’s ideas and get feedback from real users before committing to the product’s full development. In other words, companies can gather validated learning from users with the least resources, making it a good way to future-proof product developments.
Note that the planned MVP should align with the business objectives. It’s critical to keep in mind the V in MVP—the product must be strategically viable. It should meet the company’s goals and purpose it will serve. Otherwise, it’ll be a waste of resources.
Risk Prevention and Management
Preventing risks is one of the ways to future-proof a business. To do so, companies must have good risk management. There’s no one-size-fits-all plan for all companies since every business is unique, but there are a few similarities to note: identify risks and take action.
First is identifying points of gaps and failure in your business process. No business is perfect, and it will always come with risk. The thing is, they are sometimes hard to find. Even worse, they can easily progress to a huge risk once overlooked.
The good news is that these risks can be mitigated with employee-level open innovation. For one-man businesses, seeking help from a professional is highly recommended. Although they require upfront costs, they’re cheaper than the loss a business will likely experience due to overlooked risks.
Next is taking immediate measures smartly. Let’s take a financial risk as an example. If the economic news predicts a price hike next month, seek financing now. Note that the best time to borrow money is when it’s not yet needed. Loans become more expensive when lenders see a business is under undue financial pressure.
For struggling businesses and startups, alternative financing provides quick access to capital that might otherwise not be available from traditional lending resources. Many alternative lenders offer no credit check loans guaranteed approval, and even tailor loans based on a business’s financial capability and needs.
Despite the easing pandemic restrictions and economic headwinds, hybrid and remote work arrangements are here to stay. One of the main reasons for this is that they significantly reduce business operating costs by up to 40%.
Besides being cost-effective, both hybrid and remote jobs are labor-friendly. Research has shown that these models improve better work-life balance due to their flexibility. As a result, they increase employees’ productivity and satisfaction, helping companies to retain talent.
Getting remote-ready is also an effective way to future-proof companies. The COVID-19 pandemic restriction made businesses realize that work arrangements can make or break business operations.
Adapting to digitalization is deflationary. Automation reduces the demand for labor, helping companies run their operations more efficiently and eliminate a variety of non-value-added activities and errors.
With their ability to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs, digital solutions can slow or even counter the effects of inflation. That’s why, in a report, 78% of chief financial officers (CFOs) will keep or increase their digital investments even if inflation persists.
Future-proofing is a forward-thinking approach to today’s rapidly changing market. With this, businesses can ensure continuous operations and stay ahead of the curve in the face of new challenges and opportunities.
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