Ten years ago, my job didn’t exist, at least not how it exists today. Yeah, there were writers, but there weren’t SEO writers. SEO was just a number’s game.
That’s how fast industry changes. If you were a dialup company ten years ago, you were pretty soon bought out or rowed under by cable and satellite internet companies.
If you made buggies one hundred years ago, Mr. Ford either bought you out or destroyed your business. This game of change in the business world has been happening for a few hundred years at least. The only difference now is the rapidity of said change.
Technology moves at a pace never before seen. It’s like a nautilus shell winding faster and faster to some unseen central point. Maybe it will all come crashing down one day or maybe it’s a fractal moving endlessly faster until we’re blinded by our own brilliance as a species.
No matter what, if you want to reach that technological nirvana, your business needs to survive. How do you survive? By future-proofing your business. Keep reading to find out how to do that.
1. Ask Your Customers
At least a few of your customers of today will be your customers of tomorrow. The businesses that fold during a time of intense change fail to pay attention to their customers.
You main stakeholder is your customer. Without them, your business won’t survive.
Survey your customers. Find out where they think their needs will be in the future. What is their next step in life? How do they see their life evolving?
If you’re selling online, it’s easy to track customer behavior. View more here on how to future-proof your business by paying attention to customers.
2. Predict the Future
I already mentioned Henry Ford. A modern-day example? Elon Musk.
Now, these men are in the right place at the right time with the right amount of money. They have enough to gain perspective and make bets more easily than the rest of us.
That doesn’t mean we can’t make similar bets. We just don’t have the luxury of the money and connections that bought them perspective. We have to rely on information as it trickles down to us.
We now know that one of the richest men in the world is betting on self-driving electric cars for the future. He’s using his billions to push that future just like Henry Ford used his riches and know-how to push for “faster horses.”
The people who got rowed under in the early 20th-century were the people who did not pivot with the information basically handed to them. They were the buggy artisans who and parts manufacturers who did not start trying to sell to Ford instead of to the common man.
You need to learn from their mistakes. If you’re making gasoline engine parts, you might want to start making electric vehicle parts too. That’s the future whether you like it or not, better stop resisting and get on board or it will be a deadly ride for you.
To Predict the Future
To predict the future, see where the money is going. Where are the big fish? What are they gobbling up?
One industry that’s going to be luxury for a while but will eventually find traction in big cities world-wide are “flying cars” or “drone-taxies.” The biggest barrier right now is battery size and efficiency. Once they solve the battery problem, I guarantee drone-car-taxi-things will explode onto the scene. We’re on the cusp of a Jetson’s future.
How do I know this? Because the big guys are investing and competing to be the first to get their’s off the ground. Boeing, Ford, and a host of other big transportation and aviation companies are working on their own air-taxis. This isn’t just Google Glass hype, it’s real.
That’s how you predict the future. You have to pay attention to where the money is flowing in your niche. Don’t let yourself get behind when the money exposes itself and you didn’t see it.
3. Weed Out Failing Strategies
Future-proofing isn’t just about future trends. It’s about the past as well. Those who don’t heed the warning signs from the past will fail in the future.
If you’ve been tracking your marketing, then you might be able to see what strategies are working and what aren’t. What messages are landing and what aren’t.
Divest yourself of the marketing messages that aren’t bringing you leads.
One recent (past ten years) example of how brand should have pivoted is print media vs. online media. Yes, for local businesses print media marketing still has its place. Even local print media is going by the wayside.
Most people use mobile technology for their coupons and marketing promotions now. Even now, if you want to take advantage of those game tabs on fast food french-fry containers, you need to download an app and input a code.
If you haven’t transitioned to digital marketing by now, you likely aren’t gaining many customers. You should have weeded out that marketing strategy a while ago.
4. Pay Attention to Disruption
You might think disruption tech is just a nuisance. It isn’t. It’s a change agent.
Netflix disrupted the TV industry and the studios are still recovering. We now have Disney trying to compete with their own version of “Netflix” and Netflix is responding with recent aquisitions like Ghibli Studios.
Look for the disruptors that competitors aren’t taking seriously. If you see someone in your niche rising fast and changing things faster, beware. They’re the change agent.
Analyze what they’re doing and emulate it. Just because it breaks with tradition doesn’t mean it’s somehow wrong.
Focus on Customer Experience
If you are in-tune with your customers and focused on their experience, it will be difficult to go wrong. If you want to future-proof your business, all you need is awareness, information, and a desire to solve your customer’s problems.
This means don’t fret. It means staying positive and learning to change.