The only certain thing about future is “Uncertainty”. If your eyes are not fixated on future competitiveness, you may very well be placing your business’ longevity at risk.
Major upheavals brought about by AI, Machine learning, and other automation technologies are giving rise to infinite number of disruptions in the business world. Some of these can pose a serious threat to your business in future if it is not secured. While predicting and preparing for each potential threat is out of the question, it is imperative to stay abreast of the shift in tide, to keep your business competitive as well as sustainable.
In all my years as a Business Consultant, I have helped clients respond to disruptions and acknowledge the need to address changing scenario & challenges in technology. Here I bring you some tested ways, that have helped my customers navigate successfully through the challenging phases of transitions:
1. Be Adaptive:
Like all life forms out there, businesses need to be adaptive in order to survive the sands of time. Even years of successful track record is no guarantee that the future will work out. “Change or Die” may sound rough; there however does seem to be a necessity to constantly progress and adapt to new market opportunities. The only way to secure your business against the catastrophes is through quickly acting on signals of change. Building an adaptable business is not only about surviving but also capitalizing on opportunities thrown up by today’s frequent and disruptive changes.
2. Go Mobile:
There is no reason why your business shouldn’t embrace mobile. If you have not acknowledged the importance of this paradigm already, you better do it now. A study by TechCrunch says there will be 6.1 billion smartphone users in 2020, up from 2.6 billion in 2015. With people increasingly switching to Smartphones, the clients and employees of future are more likely to recommend and trust companies that offer a better mobile experience.
You need to adopt a mobile integration strategy for your organization in order to leverage this technology. Providing clients & employees with a cloud-based app. for your business that runs across all platforms is a great idea to begin with. In addition, IoT and Augmented reality are two important technologies you want to look out for in mobile industry. Especially if you are in the manufacturing domain and have the scope to introduce state of the art upgrades to your facilities.
3. Invest in Artificial Intelligence:
AI has become a buzzword that seems to be popping up everywhere when it comes to creating new business intelligence services. With AI tools being increasingly available, several new opportunities have sprung up for small and medium sized businesses. And as always, the early adopters are going to have the driver’s seat. The good news for your business is, most of the industries are still in the initial phase of incorporating AI into their business. Into the bargain, AI is an affordable technology, so if you are a small company looking to adopt this technology, you may become the big business of next generation.
4. Enhance CRM (Customer Relationship Management):
With the rapid increase in communications technologies, the breadth of customer interaction is going to be wide open. Once limited to in-person interactions and telephonic & email communications, the customer interactions of future will be carried out on a wide range of platforms.
Technology, specifically automation including auto responders are continually enabling broader and more effective systems to provide automated intelligent customer service. This will lead to customers becoming increasingly involved with the values and scope of the brand in future. Additionally, Mobile CRM, social media integration and customer analytics are some of the prominent future trends in CRM, your business needs to keep tabs on.
5. Automate Marketing:
Marketing automation is an established practice now and together with AI, it is going to transform the marketing landscape in future. However, it is still in the early phase of its evolution cycle as marketers mature and adopt it in more business cases. This means most of the businesses have just scratched the surface of what’s possible in marketing automation. This is an opportunity your business can cash in on, and have the capability to outdo the big players.
6. Go Green:
Go Green has been around for sometime now but the business world has already narrowed down the scope of this initiative. Many business leaders tend to think of Go green as engaging in environmental activities and sacrificing a share from profits. Reality, however, is far from this assumption.
Go green is a holistic approach for building sustainable businesses that can survive future energy crisis and count on alternative energy sources. This helps businesses to control costs in the long term and save energy through making efficient upgrades to their equipments. As much time and investment are employed in Go green initiatives, they are returned in the form of sustainable business environment and a shield against approaching risks and disasters.
7. Stay Transparent:
Needless to say, businesses of future are going to be customer-focused with a transparent approach. Whereas those lacking transparency will suffer setbacks. Scandals like “Volkswagen emission case” are prompting other companies to reconsider their business practices.
Some business leaders don’t realize the benefits of having a transparent and fair business strategy over unjust means to make quick profits. Historical data says transparent companies have always had lower financing costs. They attract and retain talented employees, and are more successful in the long term. It is no secret that accountable and transparent practices are the cornerstones of every sustainable and enduring business with a future.
8. Emphasize Innovation:
Given the ever-evolving customer demands and fierce competition, the innovative capacity of your business has never been more important. It is naive of you to think your existing business model is going to provide lasting revenues, without you having to spend on innovation/modernization.
It is through perpetual innovation that organizations develop new business models to keep their revenue stream running. Focusing on innovation as a part of business culture ensures your solutions keep meeting the customer demands. Thus, you should actively experiment new ideas in your niche before competition slips in. It will help you get a sense of whether those ideas have any chance of succeeding if they are pushed from beta to the nitty-gritty of live competitive environment.
9. Transform the Workforce:
Mere listing innovation as a part of your company culture won’t suffice. You need highly qualified and engaged employees, who are able to drive innovation. Now, when it comes to the workforce of future, two important trends are to be considered; aging employees and millennials.
On one hand, aging workforce will cause a decline in number of experienced employees in future. On the other, you need to develop new and improved strategies to attract and retain millennials. Digital transformation, automation, and new algorithms have already changed the metrics of human talent. Thus, you need to carry out a smooth generational transition at your organization. You need to have a strategy in place to facilitate knowledge transfer residing in the hands of experienced and skilled aging workforce to the millennial employees with energy and enthusiasm.
To sum up, seminal innovations like IoT & Blockchain, etc. are always met with cynicism in the beginning. However, these innovations will change the business environment in the days to come. Successful businesses lead and never follow the herd. They know the art of predicting the market needs, before the competition arises. So stop having nightmares over the idea of instituting changes. Look at them as another opportunity to create better solutions for consumers and society as a whole.