9 Useful Steps to Prepare You for the Future of Business

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 26, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Business environments change rapidly due to disruptions such as economic events or technological innovations. As these evolutions occur, it's important for businesses to change with them if they want to remain relevant. Understanding important elements of future business environments can help you identify trends that may help you preserve businesses for sustainability and future profitability. In this article, we outline some steps you can take to prepare a company for the future of business.

How to prepare for the future of business

Here's a list of steps you can take as a business manager to prepare the company for the future of business:

1. Define the business purpose

The business purpose is an aspect of the company that differentiates it from others as it embodies its identity. It signals the company's point of view while highlighting its history. A company's purpose helps it attract like-minded employees and customers and retain them. It also attracts investors as they think of the company's purpose as the business vision that motivates its operations and strategies. While it's advisable to define a company's purpose, it's more important that employees and customers can feel connected to it.

For instance, you may integrate the business' purpose into business policies and core operations. The purpose is important as it guides the company in making difficult decisions and exploring challenging business environments. A company can also inspire commitment and loyalty when they clearly define what they stand for in the community. When a company defines its purpose, it can uncover and explore new markets.

Read more: How Companies Can Prepare for the Future of Work (With Tips)

2. Refine your value agenda

A value agenda details the value that a company aims to create and the strategies it wishes to implement in achieving it. This document distills the company's targets and ambitions into tangible and realistic elements, such as product lines, service offerings, business units, key capabilities, and business regions. It can then use these elements to define where and how to create value and differentiate the company from competitors. In addition, companies use their value plan to reiterate their focus on employees and important stakeholders.

For instance, a product-based company may define its value agenda's focus as providing the best user experience for customers. It can focus its resources and business operations on this value proposition. A strong and clear value plan helps a company set its priorities and directs them on how to use its resources to get the best output. It also ensures long-term growth and helps them establish a niche in the industry.

Related: 15 Best Future Jobs (With Primary Duties and Salaries)

3. Emphasize company culture

A company can differentiate itself through its culture. Culture is a combination of values, belief systems, symbols, behaviours, experiences, and rituals that guide a company's operations. It functions as the guide for organizational health and improves performance over long periods. When a company has a strong culture, the managers and top executives consistently enforce the values in every aspect of the business, including the day-to-day activities. For instance, a company that prioritizes the culture of teamwork may enforce a working system with more than one individual working on a task or project.

While company purpose and value determine what the company does, culture defines why they do it. The first step to enforce strong company culture is to define it. Then ensure that this culture is tangible in the company's actions and approaches to solving issues. While different businesses may share similar values, it's important that a company has a unique culture that's clear to everyone. Instead of broad, vague themes, you may outline specific, observable beliefs for employees to adhere to while executing their duties. Company culture can help you hire the best talent.

4. Reorganize company structure

Companies can review organizational structures to reflect these changes. Business environments become more complex and connected, requiring more nimble business structures. Because of this, companies adopt flatter, fitter, and faster operational structures that allow them to adapt quickly while still creating value. The structure for companies is a simple profit-and-loss structure with a less visible hierarchy while reiterating strong performance management and clear business objectives.

The two different operational structures you can adopt for a company include:

  • Micro-enterprise structure: Instead of rigid systems with lengthy hierarchies, you may develop various independent microenterprises or flexible teams that collaborate to achieve company goals. The three types of microenterprises are the incubating units that create new products, the transforming units that focus on reinventing old products, and the node units that support others.

  • Helix organization model: This model adopts a structure where you divide the reporting process into two accountability groups that focus individually on speed and stability. While a market-facing value manager focuses on the former and sets priorities, a function-oriented capabilities manager focuses on the latter and monitors skills development and career paths.

Related: 15 Most Future Proof Jobs in Canada

5. Enhance strategic decision-making

You can prepare the company for the future by enabling a fast and accurate decision-making process. The process requires a structured delegation system that assigns decisions to the appropriate managers, teams, employees, or algorithms. Top management can focus on core business decisions central to the business purpose and value agenda. You may also create a second-tier body that focuses on making decisions concerning talent and resource allocation for the business initiatives.

By defining responsibilities and properly allocating resources, the company can increase the quality and speed of its decisions. It can also delegate the decision-making process to the lowest level possible and encourage accountability. The company may also limit the number of decision-makers and levels of review required in a decision-making process. The goal is to balance the number of decision-makers required to make meaningful decisions based on experience and perspective and less on mere participation.

6. Prioritize talent acquisition and retention

At the core of a company's performance in the future is the strength of its workforce. The introduction of automation systems is encouraging more companies to re-evaluate their talent strategy and focus on scarce talents. As a manager, you may focus the talent strategy on three major questions:

  • What talents does the company require?

  • How do we attract such talent?

  • How best can we use the talent to get the best output?

You can answer the first question by defining the company's purpose and value agenda. You can retain talent by building a culture of inclusivity and charting an attractive career destination for top talents. It's important that talents see themselves as part of the company's current operations and future plans.

7. Consider an ecosystem perspective

An ecosystem-oriented business strategy involves collaborating with other companies participating in the industry and including them in the company's operating model. For instance, a company may open its intellectual property and assets to other companies for use. Here, those companies may fill in other aspects of the business that the company requires to thrive. By adopting this business model, the company positions itself at the centre of thriving ecosystems with partners that enable its growth.

The goal is to move past traditional definitions of organizational boundaries while gaining enough leverage to control the supply chain in the ecosystem. This network of companies in the ecosystem provides mutual value as they share skills, data, or codes. These partnerships, if maintained long-term, can provide anti-fragility that helps individual businesses scale through business challenges. Prioritize fluidity over rigid plans and adopt a systemic rather than a mechanistic view.

Related: Interview Question: What Are Your Plans for the Future?

8. Set up data-rich systems

Future-inclined companies prioritize data as it forms the basis of decision-making and remains at the core of the business. You may adopt a data-driven system to prepare the company for the future of business. This system involves inputting user data into algorithms to provide business recommendations. It also includes redefining the value agenda with changing client data.

The first step to leveraging data for the company is designing practical approaches toward data governance. Next, you may redesign necessary processes while accessing and leveraging cloud-based technology's benefits. Finally, you may create dynamic budgets to support these systems. By adopting a data-driven decision-making model, the company can create new products, scale existing ones, and upgrade cycles.

Related: Data Governance: Definition, Benefits, and Best Practices

9. Accelerate organizational learning

For a company to adopt data-driven approaches to business models, it's imperative to develop DevOps skills. As a manager or human resource professional, you can prioritize a structured and targeted learning process where employees focus on increasing capabilities in their core responsibilities. You may also prioritize a continuous learning system that allows employees to adjust to the changing needs in their roles. This system requires a growth mindset, openness to experimentation, adaptability, and curiosity. It also involves an experiment work environment that promotes employees' accelerated personal improvement and growth.

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