After the holiday rush, it’s still important for businesses to continue innovating.
To maintain longevity and keep an edge over their competitors, managers need to constantly think of ways to future-proof their companies. Although it can be difficult to know what exactly is coming next, a brand can take a few steps to ensure that a company’s] future is as promising as possible.
To future-proof a business effectively, leaders should consider their hiring practices, their business’s use of technology and think about how to evolve their marketing strategy.
Retailers who follow these guidelines will go a long way toward securing a long and prosperous future for their businesses:
Businesses need the right people
On one of most basic yet important levels, a company’s success is built on the people who comprise it. As the busy holiday season comes to a close and a new year approaches, it’s a great time for company leaders to reflect on what qualities they admire in current employees and also consider which skill sets they would like to add to the company moving forward.
With this in mind, brands can redesign their interview processes and onboarding routines to ensure they’re making the best hiring decisions and addressing pressing company issues. A more effective training program will also help pave the way for businesses to chart new territory as they acquire personnel who can help take them in a new direction with their skills. Additionally, hiring people who fit in well with the company’s goals and work atmosphere will be a huge benefit to productivity and the quality of the work employees are doing.
Business owners who would like to hire more staff but are unsure if it’s within their budgets should consider alternative business financing to get cash quickly so they can get they staff they need right away.
But most of business owners’ future-proofing concerns shouldn’t be focused on manpower; they should be focused on technology.
Learn to compete in a digital economy
In 2017, it’s going to be nearly impossible for retailers to compete without utilizing some form of technology. Whether it’s CRM technology, upgrading computer systems and cash registers or automating processes in a business’ supply chain, businesses need to think about what tools will help them succeed for years to come. It’s important to think ahead because some technological changes – such as automating product manufacturing for example – might take a while to implement.
One technological trend retailers can’t afford to miss out on is big data. Business owners need to be leveraging CRM technology to analyze customer data, identify trends in buying habits and head off any problems before they become big issues. Retailers who don’t integrate CRM into their workflows will be operating blindly compared to those who have a wealth of consumer data at their fingertips.
For example, in the IT industry, 73 percent of field representatives reported improved efficiency and 57 percent saw an increase in productivity after incorporating CRM technology into their day-to-day workflows, according to Martech Advisor. Businesses that don’t take advantage of new technology also open themselves up to security risks such as fraud and information hacking.
Tesco Bank in the U.K. saw a breach of 9,000 customer accounts where money was stolen and the company suffered a tremendous blow to its customer loyalty, according to IT Pro Portal. This demonstrates the need for businesses to keep their software and other technologies up to date to avoid similar occurrences within their companies.
Business owners who are proactive about digital solutions will remain ahead of their competitors and reduce the risk of disrupting workflow when incorporating larger technological changes.
To finance these digital upgrades, entrepreneurs should consider applying for a small business loan from an alternative lender. Unlike traditional banks that require applicants to jump through hoops to get approved, alternative lenders can approve loans for business owners in as little as 24 hours, minimizing the time it takes to obtain financing and get back to thinking about ways to improve.
Think about the next marketing strategy
What might have been a dynamite marketing ploy this year might bomb next year, so retailers always need to be thinking about how to keep consumers interested in their products.
To ensure a company’s marketing strategy remains relevant every year, business owners need to make sure the marketing team is set up in a way that helps further the company’s business objectives. To do this most effectively, businesses should analyze consumer data using CRM technology to determine which products and sales techniques customers responded to and what they didn’t like.
From there, retailers are able to personalize and customize marketing efforts such as email newsletters, personalized deals and mobile marketing messages to maximize the sales potential with every consumer a retailer deals with.
It’s critical to avoid lag time when revamping a business’s marketing strategy, and owners shouldn’t let financial concerns keep them from improving their business strategies. Alternative business financing is a quick and easy way for businesses to get the money they need quickly to stay competitive.