How to prepare for the future
What if you could predict the future? You’d have an unbelievable advantage over your competition, especially in today’s quickly changing market. It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur or small business owner. Artificial intelligence is becoming more accessible and its ability to streamline our work is creating new efficiencies every day. Technology is disrupting all aspects of business, from products and sales to the way people work.
All business owners want to be the disruptor, not the disrupted. It may seem difficult to prepare for the future, but there’s no reason to feel anxious or stressed. You can’t predict the future, but you can anticipate changes, improve your resilience and work on the best skills to learn for the future.
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How to prepare for the future
To be prepared for the future, invest the time and effort now into anticipating changes in your business, your industry and the wider culture.
Don’t write off your competition.
Keeping an eye on emerging businesses is always a must. You can’t prepare for the future if you don’t know what is coming.
Keep an eye on trends.
The latest technology changes don’t just come out of nowhere – and they are inevitable. Stay at the forefront of your industry and learn from others.
From sales and customer service to finance, artificial intelligence helps businesses sort information and streamline processes. You must adopt any technologies that allow you to find new efficiencies – because your competitors already are.
Learning how to think creatively will help you establish a culture of constant strategic innovation in your business. Creativity will help you overcome problems, differentiate your company and leave your competition in the dust.
Build an agile and collaborative company.
Ensuring you can respond quickly to change is a vital part of how to prepare for the future. Flat business structures and blended structures have less hierarchy and are much more agile – and encouraging collaboration between teams ensures long-term success.
Have an exit strategy.
Only 55% of CEOs have an exit strategy in place, yet it’s the most important part of your business. As Tony says, “If you don’t have an exit strategy, you just have a big job.” Prepare for the future by creating one now.
The best skills to learn for the future
Soft skills never go out of style for small business owners: communication, delegation and leadership are just a few. But with today’s changing markets and technology, there are also hard skills you can learn to prepare for the future.
It’s no secret that Google and social media changed everything. Today’s small business owner must be familiar with search engine optimization, Facebook ads and promotions, posting on social media and email marketing.
HTML and Python are two of the easiest programming languages for beginners. HTML will allow you to make changes to your website, marketing emails and more. Python is useful for data analysis and building apps.
In today’s business world, being proficient in Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint isn’t enough. You need to be up-to-date with the latest software in order to really be prepared for the future.
Nearly every business deals with data of some sort – and it can be overwhelming. Learn the basics of data analysis, such as statistics, Structured Query Language (SQL) and platforms like Quick Data or Treasure Data.
Financial management. Skills like reading financial statements and chunking down your projects to determine your ROI are essential to prepare for the future. You cannot predict where you’re going without knowing where you are.
How to improve your resilience
Even with all the latest skills, sometimes life happens. The economy operates in cycles, and there’s nothing you can do about that. So when it comes to how to prepare for the future that you cannot control, the one thing you can do is ensure that you and your company are resilient.
Don’t be afraid of failure.
“Failure is a stepping stone to success,” as Tony says. Once you overcome your fear of failure, your possibilities to succeed are endless.
The power of positive thinking cannot be overstated. Practice gratitude and mindfulness. Recognize that while you sometimes can’t control life, you can control your emotions. Use goal visualization to instill a sense of certainty in yourself. Positive thinking can manifest your goals.
Ensure your business has a strong foundation. Run your operations like a well-oiled machine. Diversify your client base so that you don’t depend too much on one customer or supplier. Have your finances in order so that you always know how much you have – and what you’ll need to do to survive.
Create long-lasting relationships. Everyone needs friends – especially when your business is in trouble. Make yourself available and useful to others in your field, and when you need help, you’ll find they return the favor.
To prepare for the future, you must be aware of the present. Never stop learning – about yourself, your business, your industry and the world. With a little preparation and a lot of awareness, you can bring your company into the future.
Ready to prepare for the future?
Learn the tactics and tools necessary to prepare your business for the future with Tony’s Seven Forces Content Series.