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It’s not easy staying relevant. As time moves on, so do advances in technology and customer behavior. The unwary business owner will soon be left behind if they don’t play catch-up, and as many have sadly found, they may be forced to close their doors as a consequence.
So, how is it possible to stay relevant in this ever-changing world? There are a number of ways to go about it, future-proofing your business to help you keep your doors open for longer.
- Research online. Particularly when it comes to new technologies, you can find out most of what you need to know online. By visiting popular technology websites, you will quickly get the heads up on the latest technologies you need to be looking out for. Not every tech will be relevant to your business, and there are times when you may choose to sit out what could be a passing fad, but it’s still worth knowing what is happening now and in the near future.
- Ditch old technologies. By using old technology, you are making the lives of your employees harder, and losing respect and recognition from industry peers. While you don’t need to get rid of everything, there are still those newer technologies that will help you remain current. We are thinking fax over voip in favour of your old (and expensive) fax machine gathering dust in the corner of your office. We are thinking of cloud technology, rather than traditional methods of storing data. And we are thinking ‘live chat’ options on your website as a better means of staying in touch with your customers. Not every technology is here to stay, but these are some of the modern trends that will better serve your staff and customers.
- Keep an eye on the competition. Particularly when you notice your sales drop, you do need to take notice of what your rivals are up to. Are their products better than yours? Are they using the latest payment methods to better serve the customer? Is their website in line with modern design and functionality? If they are getting more sales than you; if your customers are migrating over to the ‘enemy,’ you need to take note and make the effort to both match and beat them to give your customers what they want.
- Survey your customers. Don’t second guess customer trends. Find out ‘straight from the horse’s mouth,’ using popular services such as SurveyMonkey to formulate a survey that can be passed on to your customers through email or social media. This is an easy way to conduct market research, and when you have the relevant data to hand, you can take action and update your operation accordingly.
- Follow industry leaders. Who are the people influencing your industry? It may be a thought leader or a particular company that is spearheading change. Follow them on social media, read any literature they produce, attend industry events to speak and listen to them, and learn from their example. There are people in the business world that are here today and gone tomorrow, but for those who have been in the game a long time, it is worth taking notice of what they have to say.
To survive in business, you need to stay ahead of the curve. Use our advice as a springboard to help you stay relevant in business for many more years to come.
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