What does the future mean to you? As entrepreneurs and business owners, the future should not be a complete unknown. It should be a source of focus, curiosity and intelligent speculation as you lead your business. We live in times of rapid change. Technological, social and economic developments have never been as rapid. Companies that don’t manage to keep pace soon become virtually obsolete, even the largest and best resourced. While this is a challenge, it also presents an opportunity, especially for small and medium sized enterprises, who are able to remain more responsive to customer feedback and pivot direction quickly. So how can you make sure that staying ahead of the curve is built into your strategy from the start?
Making Reading A Part Of Your Morning
Synthesising and sifting through large amounts of information is a skill in itself, but one that can be learned. Get into the habit of making your early mornings all about reading and digesting – from large news sources, industry bodies and trend makers as well as niche blogs and papers that are pertinent to what you do. News aggregation services that let you create a custom feed can be a godsend for this. Keeping up to date about your industry, the wider world and your marketplace can often fall by the wayside if you’re pressed for time, so treat it as a vital activity for building your business. Whether you need the latest clinical updates as a healthcare business, fashion trends for ecommerce or are keeping up to date with specific regions such as the Indonesian economic news, creating that time to digest the latest events is hugely important.
The saying ‘it's not what you know, it's who you know’ never applies more than when it comes to the business landscape. Our networks are integral to gathering valuable information about what is going on out in the world and how it's affecting the business landscape around us. So find local networking events that you can attend, join industry associations or trade bodies in your sector and participate in online business communities that can provide you with a lot of knowledge. Take advantage of the huge collective experience and synthesis of understanding that these organizations can provide.
Ask For Customer Feedback
Often our customers can give some of the most valuable insight, so focus on building customer feedback into every touchpoint you have. From setting up social listening to get a picture of the buying landscape, to setting up focus groups, adding polling to your webpages and feedback forms to your email, to creating online communities, gathering feedback will provide you with some unique insights. You also need to make sure that you act on the feedback you receive, make measurable changes, and demonstrate to your customers that you have taken action. This creates a culture of customer value at the heart of your marketing strategy, where people know they will be heard and that changes will be made where needed. Plus, it lets you know that all your strategic decisions are informed by the marketplace.