The future is in the mind and is the target of every business owner. Today can be great but tomorrow can be better – will be better. The future is dependent on the past, the present, and itself. There are lessons to be learnt by analysing what has happened. You shouldn’t discount what could be gained from what other businesses or people have done – though, they should be adapted to an appropriate context. Following the lessons comes proposing solutions, taking note of what tools and ability you have at the moment but, also, bearing in mind what you want to achieve. The future works backwards and backwards. Everything, though, is designed to improve the future. Here are three tips for how to push for a better future.
Keep Up-to-Date with the Market
It is very difficult to be an effective business is you have blinkers on, only focussing on what you are achieving. What looks impressive on in-house data models or anecdotes could be dwarfed by the wider market. Context is important, though, as all success is relative and having the right people in place to recognise that is key.
The market can change rapidly. For instance, business which built head-mounted displays and specialised in creating VR software for educational and training purposes have adapted to increased demands from the b2b industry, as those involved look to utilise the new technology to hold conferences and meetings in their virtual environments as a means of saving on travel time and costs. HTC and Oculus have begun to focus on this growing market now that the standard of the technology and the cost has made it widely accessible and appealing. They see themselves becoming communications companies, more so than educational ones.
Freeing up workloads to prioritise other projects is often a pipedream, accomplished by putting in extra hours to get the chores done, before moving onto the ‘real’ work. There are alternatives, though: cloud-based computing. Businesses like SysAid develop IT support systems and service orchestration software which can automate processes like on-boarding new employees and email workflow, for instance. There are customer relations management software which can automatically create customer profiles once they make contact, holding their details and correspondences in one place, which can speed up reacquainting themselves with the customer, improving the service.
This relieves the employee from fulfilling these tasks which can be accomplished by software, allowing them to focus on value-creating projects which have a higher priority or significance for the future.
Uncoupling what the business is capable of from accomplished and expert employees is impossible. Employing the best ones can be difficult, especially if they are already at a job which they feel works for them. To keep the best employees involves having a pay scale which reflects their ability and, also, providing opportunities to progress and improve. It can be easy to see your best employee as the standard and to raise the standard around them, and, therefore, not invest in improving your best. This negligence could be costly – either because the employee sees green pastures elsewhere, which more chance of progression, or work standards slip to a minimum: it is, to steal terminology from basketball, a case of floor-raising and ceiling raising. Both have sense and logic at their respective moments, but, in business, it is best to improve both the floor and the ceiling at the same time through effective training programmes and keeping the knowledge in the business.