But this isn’t anything new.
Yes, the pandemic has certainly sped things up, but this uptick has been occurring since the start of the dot-com era. As soon as the globe was connected and more accessible through the internet, we’ve been in an upward spiral of change and progress in countless ways.
Yes, there were some massive crises in 2020, from the pandemic, racial injustice, and a massive political divide, but the future, despite the challenges of 2020, still looks bright. And there’s certainly no sign of slowing progress and innovation, either.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article titled, “Why the U.S. Economy Will Take Off in 2021,” Julia Pollak shares why 2021 may turn out to be the start of a resilient and sustainable boom. She mentions the future of work creating new opportunities, the reallocation of commuting budgets, and the beginning of our new shop-from-home age.
So what does this mean for your business? How do you “future-proof” your business so that, no matter what comes next, you’re positioned to not just survive, but thrive?
In this post, I’m going to share five timeless strategies for future-proofing your business so you can take hold of the possibilities 2021 will bring and ride the wave long into the future.
Strategy #1: Play by the (new) rules.
To play the right game in business, you need to know the rules. And the rules have changed. Play by the new rules to future-proof your business and rise to the top, no matter the crisis or industry.
There are three main rules to live by now and into the future:
1.) Be solutions-based.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you are not your business. You are not what you sell. By focusing on sales, you become a commodity. Instead, focus on the solutions you provide and see your business as the solution to the problems your customers face.
2.) Focus on relationships.
Long-term success requires you to play the long game. And when your eyes are solely on transactions, you lose sight of the big picture. By focusing on relationships, you’ll have greater retention, customer loyalty, and increased revenue per customer, and they’ll be more likely to stick with and support you through any crisis.
3.) Communicate value.
People buy solutions. And when your value is made clear, your customers won’t simply judge the solution you have to offer on price. So, communicate your value so your customers see your solutions not for their cost, but for what they’re worth.
Strategy #2: Adapt and evolve.
If you’re using this time to hunker down, you’re in trouble. There’s never been a more critical time for action, adaptation, and evolution—and fast. Whether you like it or not, we’re going through a pivotal, transitional shift, and if you’re not on the bus you’ll be left behind.
In a recent interview, Harley Finkelstein, the President of Shopify, said that the pandemic sped up the shift to online shopping by a decade. That should give you an idea of how fast the bus is moving.
In business, long-term, sustainable success is the reward for those who are able to adapt to the times and evolve. Just look at all the businesses that didn’t make it through this crisis, the last one, the one before that, and the ones that will (inevitably) come in the future.
Build your resilience muscles now. You’ll always need them.
Strategy #3: Always look for ways to offer MORE.
This strategy relates to the rules of solutions and value I mentioned earlier. See, the more you can offer in the way of solutions and value, the better. Always. This has proven true in the realm of business since the beginning of time.
And don’t assume that offering more means your bottom line taking a hit.
By simultaneously becoming more efficient across all areas of your business, you can actually spend less while expanding your capability to offer more. To learn more about offering more while spending less, keep an eye out for my upcoming blog post.
Strategy #4: Pay attention to trends.
From social media to data, A.I. to robotics, trends in business are changing rapidly. Keep up!
See what trends can make your solutions, relationships, and value-add easier, faster, and more lucrative than ever.
Some of the latest trends I’ve got my eye on are drone deliveries, mass customization, and subscription models. More on big trends in a later post.
Strategy #5: Embrace Change.
With things changing so quickly and so many unknowns on the horizon, it’s easy to wish things could just go back to the way they were. Although that may seem like the more comfortable option, it’s simply not reality.
“Change is the only constant in life.” – Heraclitus
There will always be change, albeit in some seasons it’s certainly more drastic than others. Instead of freezing up and hanging on to the past, embrace the change. Acknowledge it, adapt, then execute accordingly. With this as a foundational commitment, you’ll evolve to any changes that come with ease.
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