Webster’s Dictionary defines the term “Future Proof” as, “unlikely to become obsolete.” Now, there are a lot of talented entrepreneurs out there creating unique and inventive enterprises. But that stable of bright and tenacious minds shrinks considerably when facing the daunting task of continuing to grow their companies in the face of an ever-changing marketplace. The most successful and enduring business owners know that to win, they have to not only prepare for today but must also anticipate and develop strategies for the future. They must future proof their organizations.
Why Should You Future Proof Your Business?
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Truer words were never spoken concerning starting a small business and continuing to grow it. As eluded to earlier, there’s nothing quite as bad as being Mr. or Mrs. Obsolete. Just ask the former stockholders of Blockbuster Video and Skype. Both were the respective leaders in their sectors before radical changes in the country and the marketplace saw them fall by the wayside. Had they attempted to future proof their positions we may never have known the names Netflix or Zoom. But, alas, due to that lack of vision and preparation, Blockbuster and Skype are now among the other former Belles of the Corporate Ball – See MySpace and the 8-Track. In other words, as Mr. Rodgers so eloquently warned, you must try and future proof your organization to the best of your ability or become just another cautionary tale of corporate “road kill”.
How to Future Proof – Identify and Manage Risks
“No one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition!!”
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
As the comedic geniuses behind the legendary BBC sketch comedy show so deftly illuminated in their timeless skit, there are just some future events no one could have foreseen. The COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect case study. Many companies were caught completely unprepared and their bottom line suffered mightily as a result. The key is to identify potential threats to your business and have future proof plans in place to face those attacks. Is your business flexible enough to shift from in-person to online seamlessly? The pandemic laid bare the painful fact that those organizations, ill-equipped to adjust their technology, could not survive the seismic evolution required to keep a business going without having a tactile connection with the customer. Even online dating apps made the dedicated, if not slightly awkward, effort to sell their users on Zoom dates. We can only hope this is not a portent of things to come. But if so, the company that figures out the best way to help humans date without actually dating will win the day and own the market – a sad and somewhat lonely relationship landscape for sure. Let’s hope face-to-face doesn’t disappear completely.
How to Future Proof – Talk to Your Customers
“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
Captain’s Speech, “Cool Hand Luke”
It may seem simple and trite but there is still no substitute for talking to your customers and finding out what they need from you. According to many studies, acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. Sometimes it’s just as simple as picking up the phone or sending an email to find out what your customers are thinking, and more importantly, what they need from you as a provider of goods and services. The COVID-19 pandemic has viscerally demonstrated, that those companies who future proof their business by better utilizing their technology to meet the needs of their clients tend to be the ones who win the retention game. And, if reality TV shows have taught us anything, it’s that those who over-communicate usually get to stretch out their fifteen minutes of fame a lot longer than the strong and silent types. So don’t be afraid to ask those uncomfortable questions like, “Is my face that big in real life?” Because no matter the answer, the customer is always right.
How to Future Proof – Plan for the Next Big Thing
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
As one of the most accomplished winners in the history of American Team Sports, Mr. Berra knew a thing or two about how to future proof a successful organization. In the case of the Yankees, they were able to balance the difficult tasks of playing to win now while still maintaining an eye toward the future in discovering and nurturing new talent. For a business trying to stay ahead of the competition in this new post-pandemic economy, much like the fantastic formula for success exhibited by the Bronx Bombers, a company will need to stay on top of the latest technology trends, such as Web 3, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning, as well as continuing to meet the needs and expectations of their customer base in the here and now. In doing so, those organizations willing to make the effort to future proof their business will ensure their ability to reach home plate more often and over a longer period of time than their less prepared and short-sighted competition. As Yogi also once famously quipped, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” You said it Yogi.
Protect your Investment
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
Henry David Thoreau
Being a business owner can be absolutely exhausting. There’s never a day off and you always seem to need to have one foot in the present and one in the future, all the while keeping track of the seemingly infinite amount of knowledge and decisions that got you to this point. It can sometimes be an overwhelming prospect for the small business owner trying to fight that uphill battle of winning the day while still maintaining an eye toward the future. Future proofing your business is the only way to ensure that all of your hard work pays off.
At Specter, we make future proofing the main priority in all of our projects. No more only building for “right now”, we work to anticipate your organization’s current and future needs. If you read something here that ignited a spark of inspiration and helped you decide that you would rather partner with a group of people who are excited to take on all that extra work alongside you and your team, click the button below and schedule a quick technology audit with one of our Project Captains. And if you read something that made you laugh in the process, tell our Project Captains to thank the hard-working, witty, and future-loving writer of this article. Much like Mr. Thoreau above he dreams of a time when some other aspiring, hungry, and diligent writer eagerly seeks to quote this article someday far into the future when relationships are mere algorithms and Yogi Berra is brought back to life via Artificial Intelligence to once again play for the Yankees and butcher the English language with quotes from not one, not two, but three centuries of America’s national pastime. And remember, future proofing is the future and the future is Specter, but not the evil global domination organization run by that weirdo with the white cat. We’re the good Specter. Project Captains are comfortably sitting by.