Businesses have weathered various storms through out the last year due to the instability and changing markets caused by COVID-19. With limited resources and budget constraints, companies have struggled to digitize their entire organization for remote work and keep business afloat during tough times. Various industries took colossal hits to their revenue. This includes hospitality, personal services, and wholesale/distribution. While companies start to return to the office, preparing for unforeseen futures is key to survival and growth in the future. In this article, we will share ways business can weather unpredictable business futures.
With better times ahead, businesses must avoid settling back to old ways and continue to plan and prepare for the unpredictable. While every business is unique, there are ways to encourage security and growth, no matter what the future holds.
Build a Flexible Workplace Plan
A myriad of work styles have emerged from the pandemic, and while some prefer remote work and others can’t wait to return to the office, it’s critical to implement flexibility across the board for both your employees and from a business perspective. While smaller businesses might not see the importance in creating a flexible workplace, the strategy lies in planning for future growth. As companies expand and acquire, the workplace must grow, too. So, consider opening smaller offices to save some cost while adding to in-person collaboration. This model will also appease employees who prefer to work remote for a couple days a week and can live closer to the office.
Invest in Technology
Businesses have had to digitize faster than ever, but selecting the right technology tools is key. So, take the time to fully understand business needs for today and for the future when shopping around. Even though a piece of software may fit your needs, making sure it works well with other applications will be critical. Seek out integrated tools that are built to work with other apps and integrate well with third party applications. Additionally, start small to fully understand your migration journey and select technology that is easy to grow with. Also, technology tools will help improve employee productivity and allow your business to keep up with changing customer demand.
Automate Where You Can
According to SMB Group’s survey, automating customer service and internal IT are seen as the top two areas businesses need to automate in order to grow. Next comes sales, marketing, and accounting. Automating these aspects of your business will not only save you critical time, it will save you a lot of money. Additionally, automation leads to fewer errors from manual entry and more happy customers thanks to SLAs being reached faster.
Use Cloud-based Technology Over On-premises Solutions
As the workplace shifts from in-person to remote, use cloud-based technology solutions that are flexible to fit changing work styles. This will help to prevent future hiccups. Unlike on-premises software, cloud-based tools are reliable and have stronger security. This is because updates are automatic instead of manual and users don’t need to maintain the system. Additionally, because cloud-based tools update in real time, it allows users to access more accurate data.
Take Security and Data Privacy Seriously
With businesses operating in flexible work environments, there has been a huge uptick in security vulnerabilities. So, ensure you have a security protocol in place to keep company data secure and safe. Additionally, closely examine the software your business uses and see if their data privacy practices align with your business values. Many software tools track and sell data to third parties, which could put your company data at risk, as well as your customer’s data. And with so many security breaches in the last year, it’s time for businesses take a more serious approach to security.
Unfortunately no one has a crystal ball to see what the future holds for businesses. But by putting plans into place, you will give your business a chance to stay afloat in unpredictable business times. It can seem overwhelming to adequately cover all the needs of your business. However. starting with the right technology and a strong business strategy can help you withstand future storms.
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