When it comes to your business, you must be wondering how to proceed in the face of COVID-19. The future is out there and we are stepping into it in a dramatic way in 2020. Most people are just crossing their fingers and hoping that 2021 will be better. They ultimately hope that things will go back to the way that they were. However, with the pandemic and a vaccine not in sight, it may take a while. The other day, I heard on the radio that even with a vaccine there would need to be social distancing for the next three years at least, maybe more.
Well, unfortunately, that’s a whole new world.
As a business person, you probably know that things cannot just wait for you. You need to make an action plan that takes into account the future as well as the present. This is why business people are looking for ways to make their business safe for whatever the future will hold. In this article, I will be discussing ways to make your business more future proof. Here we will explain how you can safeguard some ways of doing things to ensure that they are viable solutions for the present as well as the future.
Digital is the Way of Now
Some people used to predict that online shopping would be the wave of the future. When I heard these things ten years ago, I would simply scoff. I would tell my Dad who would say that nothing will ever replace physical stores. There’s a convenience in the tangible, this is true. But you can never fully predict the future. Now, Amazon is huge; Jeff Bezos has a fortune of $200 billion. People might have thought that Amazon would never make it to such heights, but he planned for world crisis.
Back in 1999, people were predicting Y2K. They were saying that the computers would not be able to process going into 2000 and that they would all crash. With it, the data from the Internet would be erased. Servers would fry and we would all be back to square one. The future kept turning and look where we are now.
This is exactly the point though. You have to look at the reality of the situation with businesses first. There’s no sense in making conspiracy theories about what will happen. You have to look at what is to be in line with the present. Digital is clearly going to be the way forward for now with business. If you have not gotten a website and an online ecommerce store, this should be your number one priority. This is where business is now. Even performers have started putting their work online. There are famous actresses like Madelaine Petsch that have thriving careers with TV shows like Riverdale and they still have YouTube channels. These performers recognize that YouTube is a business model that is thriving as people utilize the Internet more than ever.
While the Internet is important, it is not everything. There is the importance in establishing yourself as a brand too. Remember when Chaz Diaz put out the infamous WEN hair care products. These were a novel concept, but now there is a lawsuit out that is even involving the FDA.
It was a new brand so people thought they would give it a try. It had all the components of a successful business but with one exception- a bunk product. The actual WEN haircare was laden with unscientific additives. Some women had their hair fall out. It was a massive disaster.
This is why people have come to trust the name brand behind a product now more than ever. They want to have an established brand with feedback from real people. They also want to know that these aren’t just paid reviewers from Internet land to come and give a glowing review. You absolutely have to have a brand that people know is reliable if you want to get mass purchasing. To do this, you need a quality product or service. If you don’t have this, then it should be back to the drawing board for you.
Your company should be paying for real research about real reviews for consumers. They should be looking too to weed out a research firm that weeds out bad feedback. You want all the real data and you don’t want people to just flatter you for a review paycheck. You should ideally be looking to get unpaid feedback as well. This unpaid feedback will be less biased than that of those who get paid.
Send your products out to YouTubers and ask them if they are willing to do an unsponsored video. You need to tell them as well that you want real opinions and not just flattery. That you are looking for this and that this type of feedback would be welcome advertising. If you are confident in your company’s claims, then you should be willing to get the good, bad, and the ugly. If you are really confident, you will know that the truth will not necessarily be ugly at all. You can use the bad feedback to improve your formula or service.
The ultimate goal here is to make a product or service that is well known. It has a good reputation as a brand and is popular because people want it. It’s not a worthless gimmick that just sits on the shelf or gets donated to Good Will. People will buy the brand because they trust you to be fair and reasonable in your dealings. This is the sort of brand development that you should look for.
Interview People who are Professionals
You’ve seen what’s out there. You probably read the business section of the newspaper. You are getting a glimpse of what the analysts are predicting. Did you know that your acquaintances, friends, and associates will always be your best resource? You do get a lot from journalists, however the field is just underfunded. As good a job as a journalist does, their job is essentially interviewing market leaders. They are there to get the juicy bits. You might get a bit of a sensationalized perspective just reading the news.
To get a glimpse into the future and what people might want, you should interview the people in your life. Ask them their opinions. Have those coffees where you both start to think deeply. These perspectives are a gold mine to you. You should remember what these people say and practice active listening. You can really learn what they know about their fields and get an idea about what the consumer might want in the future. If you know people that know about the world climate, you might get a glimpse into the way things may go weather wise or politically speaking.
Once you’ve compiled your data, you can go about making your own forecasts for the future. You will start to be a data analyst who can also make predictions. Talking to the right people can make you smarter. In this day and age, you shouldn’t just rely on the Internet or a newspaper for all your information. You have the ability to connect with a network of people right at your fingertips. You can set up a call with that cousin of yours who’s making a lot of money helping businesses with their advertising. Ask him what his views are so that you can better design and implement your products and services.
Money Isn’t Everything
Money might talk, but it doesn’t always. We live in a world where you could have the best company or idea out there, and it might not take off. You can’t force the hands of people’s wallets. Most of the greatest thinkers of a generation only got credit for their ideas or their intellect after death. Even the great artists of the world were often poor during their entire lifetimes. We see the genius now and it is celebrated. But if they lived for the recognition instead of the art, they would have gone mad. In fact, some of them did.
You have to find a different motivator than to be the richest or the best. This type of attitude is going to make you miserable if you don’t get there. If you don’t become on Hollywood levels of success, then you need to find a way to deal with the disappointment. This is why a love of what you do is more important than money as a motivator. Money may or may not find your way into your pocket. Even the Bible says that there will always be poor people.
What matters in your life should be more than monetary. You may not live for work, but if you have good ethics and morals in your workplace arena, then you can sleep well at night. Your downtime will be better because you will find a place of peace. You don’t know how well people sleep at night with the stress of billions on their shoulders. This could be a life that is not meant for your particular product or niche.
You should instead endeavor to be good and fair. These two endeavors will bring you a lifetime of joy. At the very least, you can sleep well at night knowing that they aren’t coming to arrest you the next morning. There is something to be said for money not talking at all. You can silence it through instead just being ethical, reliable, honest, and following scientific research. If you do all this, you are less likely to be involved in a scam and more likely to just find a stride in business that works for you.
More People Should Look to Find their Stride
We don’t need more business people going into it all to make money. The world needs more professionals and people that are there because work is an extension of themselves. This will lead to a lifestyle of doing business, rather than a square peg trying to find itself into a round hole. You need to look for what suits you and where people see your strengths. Your mandate should be how to see what the future of business is saying to you. As you walk towards that future, look at how you can personally use your strengths to adapt. If you lead a team, you need to think for the entire unit. You should encourage your managers to help their employees find out what the future will mean for them as a person. These character developing and strength based initiatives are more important than analyzing what exactly is in the future. With the absence of a crystal ball, none of us really know what is out there. This is the honest response to when people say they can predict with glaring accuracy.
Your own health is as important as the health of the business. The business may even outlast you. You need to be looking for how your strengths and that of your team contribute to the product development. The product will have to evolve for the future, but it will need people to do it. That’s why the team needs to be ready to step into the future. You should get your team members to start exploring how they can step up to the plate in the future. Whether this is further education that you sponsor or just making sure people are happy in their current roles, it can be done.