6 tips to future-proof the right way
Once a formidable giant in the business world, Eastman Kodak has now become a shadow of its former self. Other film manufacturers like Agfa and Fuji, however, have managed to remain afloat in sharp contrast to Kodak. The lack of foresight on Kodak’s part - and resistance to take measures to future-proof their products – have resulted in the company’s unfortunate decline. They assumed that their sphere of influence could remain uncontested - but this policy proved a costly one.
Future proofing is an important aspect of business continuity – but often overlooked. As new technologies emerge, older ones begin to wane. It is therefore imperative to future-proof your business as the threat of obsolescence is very real in ever-changing business climates.
Below are 6 tips on how to future proof your business.
Brand value hinges on great customer service
Your product should be of the highest quality and matched with customer service of the highest standards that results in a brand name that is known for its service excellence. Listen to your customers and staff on how to improve. Make the user experience memorable for the right reasons. Remember, bad after-sales service can be a major cause of customer churn.
Stamp out complacency and motivate your staff
Staff sometimes go through the motions and become complacent and unproductive. Encourage contribution and reward people for their efforts and ideas. Companies like Virgin have great staff participation and team building initiatives. They also get involved in charity and humanitarian efforts which instils a sense of purpose and creates a positive association with their brand.
Research and development prepares you for tomorrow
Never underestimate the need for research and development. To make a quality product at a good price, you need to do adequate research and development, including market research and investigating new technologies. This is key to gaining the edge over the competition.
BIA and RA the right way
Business Impact Analysis and Risk Analysis are crucial parts of continuity. Part of your RA, BIA and R&D would be how the introduction of new products, technologies and market trends would affect your growth strategy and how you can use these to your advantage.
Improve operational efficiency
If you can't meet market demands, then customers may look elsewhere, however good your product or service offerings may be. Operational efficiency will avoid bad-quality products from ending up on the shelf, so take an iterative approach to improving operations.
Training and upskilling
Money and resources spent on training personnel is a worthwhile investment. Skilled and competent personnel are an asset to any company. I can speak from experience that when a company is willing to back an employee and get involved in his or her development, the results can be great for both parties.
Lessons from the Kodak story
Many companies think that they have an immovable position in the market and that their products will always sell. That is sheer folly because times do change, markets evolve and technology advances. Crucial to remaining relevant in these uncertain times is actively seeking out ways to improve your competitive edge. Balancing the tightrope between an adoptive stance and remaining fiscally sensible might be difficult, but sticking to the same recipe might lead to your market taking its business elsewhere.