Updated: Jan 26
You’re only as successful as your current business allows you to be. Another year has passed and your business is no closer to reaching its full potential. You’ve looked at the market, reviewed your costs, and thought about new revenue streams but you can’t seem to crack it. There’s not enough time in the day and not enough money in the bank to reach that elusive full potential. So how can you reach that level of success beyond where you are today? How can you future-proof your business? By taking a step back, reviewing what’s working and what isn’t, and then proactively planning for the next five years.
Take A Step Back
It’s always important to take a step back and review your business strategy. Why? Firstly, to determine if your current business model still works. Secondly, to determine what to do next, if it doesn’t. This is often a challenge for businesses when they are getting started. They don’t have the business experience to know what to look out for, so they can’t determine what’s working and what isn’t for their business.
Review What’s Working
One of the first things you want to do is take an inventory of what’s working in your business. What is bringing money in, and what is keeping money out? You want to identify your top revenue and top expense drivers, and then prioritize how you want to approach and plan for the future. Once you identify what’s working in your business, you want to proactively think about how you can scale them.
Establish front-leading metrics
Now that you’ve reviewed what’s working in your business, it’s time to turn your attention to what’s ahead. In order to stay ahead of the curve and future-proof your business, you have to look forward. Determine what metrics will be important to your company five years from now. For example, if you are in construction, the metric of cost per square foot and revenue per labor hour might be something you want to measure. If you are in the landscaping business, you might want to benchmark rates of competitors near you, or what among your services are more in demand and the profitability of each service. Once you’ve established what metrics you want to watch, you can proactively plan how to collect and analyze data around them.
Clean up operations
Operational issues can really bring down your business. Look at your expenses and start cutting any excess bloat. Start by cutting out any non-essential expenses and start working with the bare bones of your operation. Really prioritize the pieces of your operation that add value to your business, and that you need to succeed in the long run. You don’t want to hedge your business too far one way or another. You want to keep a balanced approach because you never know what’s going to happen in the future.
Focus on Core business competencies
Once you’ve cleaned up operations, and prioritized what is most important, focus on building core competencies in your business. These are the areas of your operation that you will want to double down on. They are the areas that are working, and where your company will be able to scale up quickly. For example, if you are in construction business and you’re sourcing materials from China or from any local suppliers, you might want to think about building a long-term partnership with a manufacturer that will allow you to scale your business.
Stay updated with trends and technology
One of the best ways to future-proof your business is to stay updated with trends and technology. You can do this by keeping up to date with industry news, staying connected with key influencers in the industry, and learning from the examples of other companies. By keeping an eye on what’s trending, where your industry is headed, and what technologies are expected to be adopted, you can anticipate the needs of your business, and prepare for what’s ahead.
Network and Collaborate With Key Partnerships
Another way to future-proof your business is to network and collaborate with key partnerships. Identify key partners in the industry that will benefit your business. Using earlier example, if you are in construction and you are sourcing materials and supplies, you might want to find a manufacturer that is producing better quality products for construction companies in your industry. You might want to start a mutually beneficial relationship with them, and even consider forming an equity partnership and purchasing a small percentage of their business.
Futuristic as it might sound, the best way to future-proof your business is by anticipating the needs of your company five years from now. By taking a step back, reviewing what’s working, and then proactively planning for the future, you can keep your business on the path to success.
About the Author
Seth Lewis is a blue-collar business owner, speaker and business advisor. Seth has developed a simple scoreboard to keep score for business owners with front-leading metrics. His system reduces the weight of the business on owners' shoulders while aligning your team to drive organizational growth. It helps break through revenue ceilings, cash flow challenges, stress and other common challenges that businesses face. Seth is a published author and has global support for his teaching. Seth has an Executive MBA from Villanova University and a 20-year degree from the school of Hard Knocks.
Learn more at www.bluecollarbusinesscoach.net