Whether you believe that 2020 has been a year of struggle or a year of opportunity you are right! We create our own future. The impact on SMEs has been significant at best and catastrophic at worst.
The way we physically work has changed. In the last few years there has been a clear move towards open office space, unassigned desks and work areas and the advent of the gig economy but the pandemic and lockdown have demonstrate how precarious things can be and how situations do not always bring the benefits we expect.
The gig economy only works if you have a healthy hospitality and entertainment industry. Lockdown has forced business to look at technology to support remote working and some networking organisations have moved online completely. Many have found ways of continuing to trade and keep the wheels turning.
The optimism needed to achieve this will need to continue for the next 12 months into 2021. SMEs need to look into the future and prepare for the unknown. Being unprepared is what throws a business into a downward spiral. There is much to be positive about but being prepared is mission critical for businesses who want 2021 to be a year of sustainable growth.
Take a look into your future and what do you see? Answer 4 key questions to start the process of future proofing your business. We need to come out of lockdown fighting!
1. What are the global challenges that face your industry and how should you respond? We cannot ignore the climate crisis (whether you think it is real or perceived you have to understand how it might impact your industry) You may not be responsible for solving them but they may be targets for innovation and disruption that may give you an unexpected competitive edge!
2. How will changes in lifestyle and cultural values transform your market for the next generation? How will your products and services fit into future human lifestyles. You can get ahead of these trends by imagining who your future customers will be. How will they think, live, work and play? The rise in vegetarianism and veganism has transformed the beauty industry. You need to keep ahead of the cultural curve.
3. What are the trade-offs and benefits of investing in your current products vs. your future industry? With a clear vision and expectation of what lies ahead, every business owner needs to look at their company’s core revenue streams and ask if they will be at risk over the next 5-10 years. Even simple areas like packaging can have a massive impact on business growth if a trend is missed or ignored.
4. Who are your potential partners and collaborators going to be in the next few years? In the future, more companies will be partnering and competing with the same companies within a broader more integrated business environment. Business owners should think about how collaborating with “frenemies” can preemptively solve problems across their industry. Who could you imagine playing with to make your company bigger in the future?
These questions have nothing to do with the pandemic and everything to do with life after lockdown. Use this time wisely and be prepared to come out fighting.