Futureproofing a business is the only way to ensure that you are in the strongest position to continue trading. This is especially important as markets, consumer demands, and technology change.
Small businesses can not afford to standstill. Customer expectations demand as much, so futureproofing really isn’t an option, but what does futureproofing actually look like for a small business.
What is futureproofing?
A relatively new term for an old concept, futureproofing, has become an essential planning requirement for a business to be ready for whatever is thrown at them. It isn’t about having it all now, but knowing what you may need, looking at trends, identifying what could happen and being ready. The pandemic caught many off-guard. Future proofing could see you more protected against challenges and more prepared to meet the future.
Futureproofing for small business
- Watch trends – look for patterns and follow industry trends to identify the next big thing. Consider either offering it or using its draw to help your marketing.
- Monitor talent – Labour shortages undoubtedly cause problems. If you can predict where and when, you will be in a stronger position to offset them.
- Watch costs – Consider outsourcing, remote working and other ways to keep an eye on spending. Evaluate your purchasing strategy and look at renting over buying to avoid sinking money into owned inventory.
- Online –No matter how in-person your business is, you can not afford to be without an online presence. Social media is a great way to get your name out there, get people talking, increase brand credibility and gauge markets and opinion. The pandemic pushed people online, you have to be there to meet them.
- Artificial Intelligence – Consider automating as many processes as possible to reduce space required and labour costs. Automation leaves you free to manage the more personal aspects of the business. It can also increase productivity and improve the consistency of service.
- The Cloud – Don’t over-invest in digital equipment, large back offices and huge IT commitments. Cyber security is a real risk, so consider using a cloud support system that will see you have access to a highly mobile cloud workspace, which can open up a wide range of remote working possibilities in a fast, safe and secure environment.
- Ethical and Organic – Customers are driving demand for sustainable operation. Move your business to meet their needs and use your moral commitment to increase your brand awareness.
Futureproofing doesn’t just involve having the latest technology or expanding to meet demand. No amount of future digital proofing will be needed if you don’t give customers want they want in terms of products, services and solutions. We don’t suggest you run out and break the bank or make swathes of sweeping changes in one go. However, it is undoubtedly an excellent idea to consider longer-term planning and have strategies to handle the expected and unexpected so you are ready for whatever may come next.