How to future proof your small business

We don’t need to look very far to see just how much we have come to depend on our connected devices – not just in the way we do business, but how we act as consumers too. Even if the way you shop, compare different options, and communicate with your peers hasn’t changed much, you will certainly have noticed the change in your kids or younger associates!

We know that moving with the times is crucial for every business, but how you put this into practice is another matter entirely. Here are some pointers to get you to future proof your small business.

Get ready to market your service differently

Just as businesses were getting used to the idea (and importance) of search engine optimization and social media marketing, the playing field is starting to shift again. With more and more users consuming the majority of their content through smartphones and tablets, it might be time to have a rethink of your digital marketing strategies. Depending on the product or service you’re offering, it might be more appropriate to direct a greater portion of your efforts towards an image-heavy platform like Instagram. Facebook Recommendations and Amazon product reviews are also becoming an increasingly important resource for consumers looking to purchase – so it can pay dividends in the long run to start establishing a presence outside of the “traditional” online content platforms like blogs and website content.

Use your employees better

With such a rapidly changing environment, it’s impossible to stay on top of all the trends – but you don’t have to try and take it on alone. Encouraging and incentivizing your employees to upskill themselves, make suggestions, and get involved with new ways of marketing can take a lot of pressure off of you, and help them improve their skill set at the same time. Put it out there that you’d be willing to cover the costs of online courses that would enable your employees to assist you with newer technologies and marketing strategies. You could even offer a percentage of sales made on a new social media or purchasing platform to employees willing to tackle the role of managing your presence there, so there’s a real incentive to do an excellent job.

Protect your data, and that of your customers

In the light of several data leak scandals, it’s hardly surprising that consumers are becoming a bit more paranoid about the security of their personal information. If you’ve been hesitant about getting the security of your own website or platform assessed, stop procrastinating and get it done now.

The same goes for protecting your own valuable client and business information against loss, either through human error or a disaster such as fire or flood. Make sure your data backup solutions are up to the current best standard, and make sure you have a reliable partner on board for more complex issues like off-site backups, disaster and Raid Data Recovery.

Become an early adopter

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for new technologies that could help carry your business into the future. Not all of them are going to be appropriate or have value for you, but finding the ones that can – and getting onboard before your competitors do – can give you a massive advantage when the technology becomes mainstream. It might be an entirely new technology, or perhaps something more common like creating your own app to reward or interact with your customers.

Pay real attention to what your customers want

Another immensely valuable asset you might not be making use of is your existing customer base. Keep clear channels of communication open, and encourage them to share suggestions on how your service could be improved. More importantly, take those suggestions seriously and act on everything you can. Social media platforms are a great place to host this kind of communication, so potential customers can also see that you take your clients seriously.

Use technology to reduce your overheads

The biggest concern for any small business, of course, is cashflow. Luckily, many technologies allow you to cut costs that just wouldn’t have been possible in a traditional environment. Why spend a fortune on renting premises each month if half your employees could actually be working from home? Why fork out a large salary for a graduate with a degree when you could train and up-skill a junior employee to perform the same duties at a fraction of the cost? Why pay for printers and expensive ink cartridges when you could go green and encourage a paperless work environment? The opportunities to save costs through clever use of technology are endless.

Be willing to change

The biggest factor of all in undergoing a digital transformation that really works in your favor is whether you’re actually willing to open your mind to new ways of doing business. Those who are will see potentially massive rewards – but those who don’t risk stagnation and irrelevance. Get on board now!