The last few years have seen businesses evolve further than they perhaps would have ever expected. It appears, now, that they have no intention of slowing down. In fact, it’s more than likely that future-proofing your business will evolve even further and change in technology.
As well as laws, society, and more will force businesses to continue to innovate in their industry. Otherwise, they will fade away into obscurity.
Is your business ready for what the future holds? In this article, we’ll explore four things you’ll need to consider and prepare for to ensure your future proof as we move into 2022 and beyond.
Recovery From COVID-19 for Future-Proofing Your Business
The impact of COVID-19 will be felt for at least a few more years to come. Take the hospitality industry, for example.
They had to find new ways to sell their goods, often through takeout-only methods of transaction. What we did see a lot of in regards to hospitality, is the rise of companies using other businesses to sell their goods.
Delivery services, such as Amazon, Doordash, and Deliveroo, saw their demand rise so much. However, they were one of the only industries actively looking to mass hire.
Many out-of-work people took to the Amazon warehouse or grabbed their bikes to deliver restaurant food for online delivery services like GrubHub, Instacart, or Deliveroo, as an example.
Unfortunately, many businesses didn’t have this growth luxury and instead have had to downsize for the short term. The next few years will be all about businesses looking to claw back to what they had before. Or at the least, learn from what happened and almost reset their business practice.
As the economy looks to recover, businesses will be in a position to work with the government through schemes. For example, as the recent Eat Out To Help Out scheme as we saw in the UK, in order to get back ahead.
More Automation Within The Workplace
Something that has always been a trend within businesses since the industrial era, is the constant search for automation methods.
Automation refers to when a task is done by itself, without the need for human input.
Modern technologies have automated many tasks in daily lives as well as businesses, and tech companies are constantly trying looking for ways to bring innovative solutions into the marketplace to solve both existing and emerging problems.
In the last few years, we’ve seen many customer service roles, especially due to the pandemic in 2020, become automated. As many staff was furloughed, businesses had to find ways to assist their clients on a minimal scale. That’s where automated phone lines and chatbots came into play.
This trend of automation will continue to grow in the next five years, with many businesses already looking to make their business practices more digital. Of course, a more digital workplace means less human interaction.
As a business owner or employee, you will need to be knowledgeable of new automation methods. Not only that but technologies, and techniques, in order to make effective change.
Business automation is essential for the successful growth of an organization, and you can take online courses to find out more from experts within your industry.
A Cashless Society – Part of Future-Proofing Your Business
Don’t be too surprised if, over the next few years or so, you start to see businesses refuse to accept cash. This has been largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It led to many businesses removing cash from their tills and only accepting contactless methods, such as cards.
Whilst many businesses start to return to cash methods of payment, there are many that weren’t as interested, declaring that they weren’t losing out on any business, and it led to fewer errors when it came to finances.
Before it was possible for employees to miscount change handed to them, leading to variances, and in rarer cases, it was possible for cash to be stolen out of a till easily. But with digital payments, there are no physical cash on-premises to miscount or steal. Digital payments are a way of future-proofing your business now.
It is likely that because of this reason, amongst others, the business will start to push cash aside in the next few years. It may be long until it’s fully gone, but for now, there are reasons for and against it staying. The elderly for example, mainly deal with cash, as do a lot of charities.Digital payments are a way of future-proofing your business now. #digitalpayments Click To Tweet
The Pressure To Be Sustainable
Many businesses have started overhauling their organization in order to be more environmentally friendly. They do this by cutting down on carbon emissions, adopting fewer fossil fuels, and looking for cleaner ways to power their buildings.
This has been a trend over the last twenty years, but the last few years, in particular, have started to ramp up these demands. Environmental groups have gained publicity from their protests outside businesses.
Businesses not only have started making promises of becoming more environmentally friendly in order to get good publicity. But some have realized that it can actually be cost-effective in order to adopt these methods.
Take electricity, for example, many businesses found that they can generate their own in house, from changing very little. There is a technology available that is built into a floor that generates a small amount of power when stepped on.
Workers on a production floor are constantly moving. They can generate their own power just by doing their job, saving a lot of money.
The Increasing Creep of AI
Artificial intelligence continues to creep further and further into every industry. Think about content creation, for example. The AI writing tool is helping bloggers, businesses, and others find ways to create enough content to fuel the needs of their audience without burning out their content team.
And it’s happening across all industries. Some workers fear the AI creeps while others welcome it. As a leader within your organization, it’s important to stay on top of the AI trend.
Then, reassure your workers that their jobs will not be replaced, but that AI will actually improve the workplace for them as well.
In my line of work, AI can help qualify leads helps improve sales targeting. I don’t look at it as a threat. I look at AI as a relief. And it’s a fabulous way to future-proofing your business!
Today, marketing is a super-complex field compared to what it was 10-20 years ago. I welcome any relief from the overwhelming number of things we need to focus on as marketers.
As our workloads increase, AI will help cut back on burnout. Not only that but help free workers up to focus on the more important tasks at hand.I don't look at it as a threat. I look at AI as a relief. #AI Click To Tweet
Wrapping It Up
As was evident when the pandemic hit, businesses that were prepared to leverage the power of digital thrived. The ones, for example, who were forward-thinking, focused on future-proofing, and had a work-from-home policy already in place didn’t skip a beat. Others, however, struggled to keep track of employees as productivity dropped.
It’s critical that your business has a plan for what’s to come. The four trends mentioned in this article are just a piece of the puzzle.
There’s so much more to the story! You need to prepare or you may find yourself struggling to keep your business above water.
What strategies to future proof your business are you making now?
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Digital payments really are the wave of the present and future Anthony. I do get a chuckle out of visiting some developing nations; cash still appears to be king for now, but more people have Paypal, or Payoneer, or Stripe, even in these developing lands. Cash is inefficient. Slows things down. Make sure that your business accepts various digital payment methods to change with the times.
Hi Ryan, indeed they are. I just started using Payoneer to pay one of my freelancers. I’ve also used Stripe for that too. It is amazing how many different ways people can be paid and money transferred throughout the world now. Thanks for coming by Ryan and Happy New Year!! 🙂
Lisa, you bring up another great point. There is not shortage of payment method. This can be tricky for business owners like you and I who leverage the resources of contractors and freelancers. I have a number of freelancers and contractors I work with, and I feel like across all of them, there are 5+ different payment preferences.
Hi Anthony, that’s for sure, right? I’m using 3 myself right now to pay freelancers. Actually 4. Everyone seems to have their preferences these days. I hope that’s as many as I’ll need as it can get complicated 🙂 Thanks for coming by and have a great day!
Definitely. Even businesses that operate locally and on a very small level should be actively seeking to sell online in cashless ways. It’s a different world, and if you’re only taking cash these days, that’s a problem.