Businesses are facing both scary and exciting times all over the world. There is a constant emergence of many tools to facilitate functions like accounting, branding, marketing, etc. The other side offers raging competition as the internet opens up the market to international players through innovation and technology that is hard to keep up with. Many traditional businesses are succumbing to entities dominating web presence by implementing the latest technology.
Most small business entities are struggling with current tech trends like data analytic, AI, and cloud computing; though it is impossible to know the challenges ahead, risk management cushions your business against any negative impact from the changes.
Keep Tabs on the Tech Trends
There is always something coming up in the technological world. Smart entrepreneurs keep tabs on the new technologies and adopt favorable ones to scale their businesses to the next level. Before other players realize, you will be ahead of the pack. Do not dismiss an innovation, thinking it is too early for its implementation. As long as you can afford and will add value to the business, take it up.
Others appreciate the use of AI and use products like chatbots to improve their customer service, marketing tools, and branding. Internet of Things introduces smart supply chains, holds massive potential for small businesses, and allows the collection of real-time data through responsive system building. Consult your tech-savvy team and brainstorm on how to synchronize these technologies into your existing processes for future-visioning.
Through Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR), customer engagement is changing. You can implement AR technology and free customers to visualize products in real environments or train employees on difficult tasks through VR. Such an approach sets you steps ahead of your competitors when they become table stakes.
Educate yourself on developments around you, even if not related to your line of trade. Keep yourself informed. Kodak – filmmaker and camera was a million dollar company but failed to see the introduction of smartphones as a threat. The giant company that was in operation for 130 years came tumbling down in 2012. Other products like handy cams, PSP portable gaming consoles, GPs devices, and telephone directories died when users shifted to smartphones.
Both small and large business enterprises have, for example, adopted cloud solutions for downscaling or upscaling, allowing a seamless collaboration. Employees can work remotely, thanks to this technology, as they can access and use files from their location, anytime. Organizations provide more secure access and reduce cybersecurity threats and virus outbreaks. A security breach is a serious threat to most businesses as it can cripple a company. A robust system is one way of future-proofing a business.
Some businesses are reluctant to adopt cloud migration as they have invested in customized software and infrastructure or do not like cost models like “pay what you use.” Hybrid clouds will allow you to use your system while you move some data to the cloud. Hardware, licensing costs, and public servers can be costly. Hybrid offers a cost-effective storage solution for start-ups and small businesses at any stage.
Hybrid also provides scalability and flexibility that allows rollback and roll out services for your customers and team. Since you only pay for dedicated servers when there is demand, you will reduce overhead IT costs. Ample data storage and the ability to support the latest tech will not only give you an edge over your competitors but also impress your customers.
Always Play by the Book
Change in the game presents different rules. Jurisdictions are exploring, and grappling with smart cities concept have birthed the need for local and regional data regulations. Invest in reliable cybersecurity to always remain on the right side of the law even when regulations shift. Some companies providing secure access, offer API management tools that allow you to integrate third-party apps with no compromise on your security.
Playing fair and keeping on the right side of the law will shield you from lawsuits and penalties that can quickly bring your business down.
Pay Attention to Customers
Rife competition in business can keep you engaged in product development and pushing sales that you forget about the most crucial player – the customer. Paying closer attention to your clients and studying their behavior is one way proofing your business.
People shifted to online shopping for convenience, wide product range, discounts, among other benefits a few years ago. Entrepreneurs who anticipated the change acted fast and set up eCommerce stores alongside their physical ones. Their counterparts caught off guard stuck in traditional outlets closed down.
Set up systems to track your customer behavior, listen to their needs, and consider industry developments. Always try to predict changes in the buying pattern and consider accommodating the clients to stay ahead of the game.
Track Happenings in Developed Countries
One of the most straightforward strategies of staying ahead and future-proofing your business is to follow trends in the developed countries in your industry. Creating a Google Alert on your interested topics is an excellent place to start. India cab hiring businesses should have learned a few things from Uber’s entry in the US.
Create a Conducive Environment for Innovation
While following the leaders is good, but becoming one is better. Innovation is not for the faint-hearted, as you may fail many times. Keep trying, though. An invention will set you far apart from your competitors and keep you ahead for a while. Innovation needs a favorable environment. You will, therefore, need to trust your team more. Give your employees the freedom to explore and reward their efforts. Invest in them by sending them to tech conferences and events in your industry. Working as a team makes your employees loyal to your brand and embrace your vision. Once they own the concept, they are more likely to make it better as they offer different views.
No business can survive the fierce competition and dynamic technologies with inadequate preparation for the future. Entrepreneurs who employ the future-proofing strategies above will withstand the unpredictable tides in the business world.
FREE related content from StrategyDriven