Future proofing for business survival

future proofing your businessWhat is normal for us today was the stuff of dreams in the past. The way we shop, how we get information, our expectations as a customer or client, right down to how we pay – everything has changed, and is still changing.

For businesses, it’s survival of the fittest and business survival depends on the ability to anticipate and respond to change. This is called future proofing. Markets change, customers change and technology changes. If your business doesn’t change, it will get left behind.

Here’s how you can future proof your business to increase the chances of business survival:

Look for lessons in the past – How have you responded to change in the past? What worked and what didn’t. Look to other businesses too. What worked for them?

Hedge your bets – If you business will be much less resilient if it relies on just one product or service.

Know your weaknesses – Knowing your weaknesses will help you to identify any risks and help you to mitigate them early too. In business, surprises are generally not a good thing.

Be open-minded – Good ideas can come from anywhere and from anyone. And don’t dismiss an idea even if it sounds outrageous – sometimes the best ideas come from the most ridiculous suggestions.

Listen to your customers – Customers are often the drivers of change. Listening to them and watching their behaviour can help keep you one step ahead of the game.

Most importantly, plan – Knowledge is useless without action.

Be future focused – There is loads of information out there about what’s around the corner. Some of it sounds pretty far-fetched but then self-driving cars sounded pretty far-fetched not that long ago.

Business Survival - so what factors today will influence small business tomorrow?

Here are our top five game changers (in no particular order) that small businesses need to consider in order to be future proof:

  • Technology: First digital technologies, then the Internet, then social media, now the cloud – next is AI or artificial intelligence, and it’s going to be huge.

  • Gen Z: They are the first true digital natives; they are entrepreneurial, smart, cynical, private, health conscious, accepting and kind. And there are a lot of them.

  • Ethical consumerism: People care – about other people and the planet.

  • Trust is paramount. The voice of authority is shifting – but it has a strong foundation in trust. We care what people think and are strongly influenced by others. ‘Social influencer’ is a job – it actually pays.

  • Speed and convenience: Our expectations have changed and we no longer have the same level of patience. If it’s quick and convenient, we will come.

Future proofing your business isn’t about star gazing, it’s about planning. It will help you to keep your customers, attract new customers and anticipate where the opportunities are no matter what the future holds. Future proofing will help your business to survive.

For more resources, tips to help you build your business, see our how to grow your business resources.

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