How does The Next Generation make businesses future-proof? You don’t know how to do it? From where should you begin? What is the value of future-proofing your business? How do you integrate the new generation and technology?
Three years ago, when I started BLACKBEAR® with my co-founder, we found ourselves questioning us all these questions and trying to understand how we could help companies to become future-proof by enabling The Next Generation. As the years passed, and having different conversations with different field companies, we have been discovering not only their needs but also, what leaders need to become future-proof.
In this blog, we will share 6 strategies to start future-proofing your business with the help of the next generation and the values and benefits that will bring to your company.
We are living in a world where everything is changing fast. Sometimes it’s very exciting to know what is coming, but at the same time is intriguing, as we don’t know how all these coming factors will affect our businesses.
What business implemented some months ago, might not work today. Businesses have to be flexible to embrace new opportunities and market offers. For example, technology and new tools that can help our business to improve and grow. These tools can help the marketing, sales, finance, HR and other departments. But at the same time, we find our business experiencing new challenges due to new global market developments and a new generation that is entering the workplace. Besides, the new generation, companies are changing their infrastructure to become digital or to implement gig economy practices. That’s why you start to think if you should also change methods and models. This brings us to this question:
Is there a way to future-proof your business?
The answer is yes! You can future-proof your business. Every business faces challenges and we hire leaders to solve them. We noticed that these business leaders are feeling frustrated when it comes to new technology implementations and the new generation. Businesses and leaders are happy to welcome and work with both technology and the new generation, but they don’t know how to do it to future-proof a business. Another case could be that it’s hard for them to change minds within the company. Therefore, the company’s models are stuck in the last century, and this keeps on being challenging, especially when the new generation is already part of the company.
If you genuinely want to future-proof your business, you need to encourage the practice of new innovative ways and diversity. One way to do it is by giving Generation Z the opportunity and freedom to explore, propose, develop and come with new, fresh ideas, and solutions to stay ahead of the changing world.
Here are 6 strategies to start future-proofing your business
1. Hire the new generation and adopt technology
This year, Gen Z will make up 36% of the global workforce. In 2019 employers have hired 10.7% more class of 2019 graduates than they did from the class of 2018, according to NACE® (National Association of Colleges and Employers). This means that companies need to start hiring and integrating new young talents. We referred to young talents as the new rising generation, Gen Z. Also, they need to start approaching and incorporating technology and innovation practices.
Hiring new young talents will promote the use of technology and AI (artificial intelligence) within the company. This will create a diverse team (formed by old and new employees) that will seek new experiences and adventures.
The combination of these factors will make teams realise persisting success with today’s new ways of solutions, services, business models, markets and value propositions, to re-invent and grow to become future-proof.
2. Failed decisions = Stronger Future
Every business leader makes decisions. Running a business is hard, and sometimes those decisions take us to either big or small failures. Take time to reflect on them, and learn from your business mistakes. This will help companies improve and make decisions that can minimise financial costs and organisational risks.
Great business relies on great communication. With this, we suggest you involve the new generation in your decision making. Gen Z’ers are an entrepreneurial generation. They believe that they will run their own business and come up with innovative ideas to change the world. They are hard workers. Therefore, they are self-starters, self-learners, and self-motivators, which will make them see other points of view for decision making.
3. Evaluate Risks
Big leaders said that failure is inevitable, and as long as you learn from your mistakes, you can take constructive steps to reach a greater and greater level of success. For example, Henry Ford once mentioned: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”.You can’t stop preventing risks, but you can prepare your business to minimise them. Allocating the right resources, employees, time, and budget will make a connection between the company’s needs.
To start preparing your business to be future-proof, allow the new generation to identify the business challenges or possible points of failure that the company might be facing. These challenges could be within your departments, branding identity, services, among other special projects. Gen Z has never been without the Internet and needs to know the “why” for everything. This is the reason why they will give a solution to your challenges. Just by doing some research and putting all their out of the box ideas to build strategies and execute them to future proof your company.
4. Keep fresh your brand identity
Gen Z’ers want to be working for companies with a global mission. They want to develop tasks that change the world and the way business operates. All this is part of your brand identity. Brand identity is the way in how the world perceives you. It’s what makes you different from your competitors and is what will keep you future-proof. The new generation wants to build brand identities that are focused on strong missions and commitment to social impact. If you allow them to build this for your company in return, they will be loyal, bring honesty, transparency, and value to the company as well as joy. With a unique brand identity, your company can be easily recognised in a global market. You can also ensure that no matter how the market changes, you have a strong position at all times.
5. Be open for new market offers
Listen to what is happening outside of your organisation, industry, and generation. Stop expecting quick results from your teams. Instead, start connecting the new generation within your company and extra practices that will empower your business. For example, explore the fresh and out of the box ideas that the new generation offers you in terms of tech tools and even new start-ups that have amazing projects.
Nowadays, startups are helping big companies to become future-proof, to find the right new talent to come with the necessary time and potential to create new ideas to execute and implement them to succeed over the long term.
6. Listen to your customers
As we mentioned before, The Next Generation is rising, and they are changing the world with new fresh and out of the box ideas. They are more interested in planet-friendly projects and less into brands. Because of this, you probably find your business again in the position where what old customers wanted is not what new customers want.
Start listening to The Next Generation and allow them to come with solutions and implementation of what your new customers want and need. And of course, don’t forget about your most loyal customers’ feedback. Medium and small companies need to start developing co-creation or crowdsourcing practises within their customers. This will make a business know more about their customers changing needs and preferences.
These practices are helping big companies such as Lego, McDonald’s, Heineken and more to come with new successful campaigns and projects that are generating a huge branding identity success. If you want to read more about crowdsourcing, we invite you to read our blog “The power of Crowdsourcing” or “Crowdsourcing, Open innovation, Co-creation“.
The world and markets are changing fast. A business that’s highly successful today may go bankrupt tomorrow. Why? Because they are not becoming future-proof. Owners or decision-making leaders are still afraid of reinventing their businesses or to change old methods. It’s time to adopt technology, implement the gig economy, crowdsourcing or other practices.
If you genuinely want to future proof your business, you need to encourage new innovative practices and diversity. You can start to implement diversity by hiring Gen Z. The mixture of these new young talents and loyal employees are key elements. Give them the opportunity and freedom to explore, propose and develop new fresh ideas and solutions. By giving them these opportunities, they will help your company to come with co-innovation and game-changing solutions, whether they’re autonomous delivery new ideas or something never before imagined. All these will make a company stay ahead of the changing world.
If you have more doubts or you would like to understand more about new practices, please leave your comments. I will be happy to wrap a cup of coffee with you. We will explore how we can tackle your business challenges as good as possible, and preferably as quickly as possible to become and stay future-proof.