Many times, good business ideas are brought crashing down by new trends, disruptive technologies or lack of a strategic plan. Leaders looking to survive and even get out ahead of future technology-driven industry disruption must plot a course beyond today’s trends. Here are five tactics for shoring up your business against what the future holds.
Change your business structure
The traditional leadership hierarchy won’t work as well as it has in years past. Research shows that smaller teams and those staffers will need to feel engaged and focused on the end result. Consider a horizontal structure that keeps more of your team connected to your goals and to each other.
Plan for millennials
In 2016 millennials became the largest generation in the labor workforce. The internet generation might be maligned as entitled and lacking in personal resilience, but research shows that they’re also inclined to be highly ethical, naturally innovative and fond of feedback. Provide your millennial employees with frequent lateral training and give them enough autonomy to contribute to the success of your company.
Tighten your cybersecurity
Cybercrime is a thriving industry, as we hear too often on the news. As these crimes continue to grow, and small businesses are repeatedly the prime targets for attacks, it has never been more urgent to protect your company and your sensitive data. By developing a strong security policy, training your employees, locking your network, installing anti-malware protection, encrypting your data, and hiring cybersecurity experts, you are ensuring that you’re doing everything you can to future proof your small business.
Update your technology
“If it isn’t broken don’t fix it” is a tempting philosophy to live by, but it’s not always the best practice. Sure, legacy systems are sometimes worth keeping, but they can also be inefficient and unproductive, which will affect your bottom line. By staying with an old operating system, for instance, you might lock yourself out of the next iteration of a critical software program, or the vendor may drop support, exposing your systems to greater security risk. Whatever the situation, maintaining the balance of old and new must be thought through strategically.
Leave room for growth
Being future-proof often relies on a business’s ability to innovate. Create a favorable environment for innovation. Make sure your business is a place that encourages forward thinking and thinking outside the box. Micromanagement, bored employees, and overly strict policies can all serve to reduce communication and discourage your employees from taking the next creative step in innovation for your company.
Future proofing your company isn’t something that can be achieved overnight. It’s a never-ending process of continuous improvement, based on long-term thinking and fueled by learning and innovating. It can be exhausting, but the reward is a nimbler, more resilient business that will stand up to what the future holds.