11 May 2016

Be alert, agile and adapt quickly: how to future-proof your business

Companies survive and grow by tuning in to what customers need and want today, and anticipating what they’ll need and want tomorrow, says MRA Director Lucia di Stazio. If they fall behind, you get left behind.

Companies survive and grow by tuning in to what customers need and want today, and anticipating what they’ll need and want tomorrow. If they fall behind, you get left behind.

We all wish we could see into the future sometimes, but in our blog – Don’t let your business become a ‘Kodak moment’ – we warned that change is happening so fast that long-lasting business models are a thing of the past. From smart phones to smart homes, technology and our use of it is advancing at breakneck speed. Few people go looking for change. But customer expectations are changing in response to their customers’ expectations and the pressures put on them. They want more and better, and they need it now and they’re not prepared to wait. If you won’t or can’t give them what they want, someone else will. It’s a bit like walking up a down escalator. One slowdown or stumble and you have a lot of ground to make up. For businesses already on the back foot in fiercely competitive markets, getting ahead can seem an impossible challenge.

Martin Eberhard – computer engineer and co-founder of luxury electric car company Tesla – was once quoted as saying: “We’re not just juggling a lot of balls. We’re juggling knives and chainsaws and burning things. We have to catch every one of them, and we have to catch them by their handles.”

So how do you juggle, catch and stay ahead of the curve?

For some established brands it means rewriting the rule book. They are the game changers. Not only are they ahead of the curve, they’re creating it. They’re also showing that innovation doesn’t necessarily come from within the sector you’re known for.

Take Google. It has its fingers in many pies – robots, artificial intelligence and driverless cars. But when you consider that an estimated 60% of the value of an upmarket car will be in its software in the future then you can start to see why they’re doing this.

Rumour has it that Apple (with significantly more money than Tesla had at start-up) is also venturing into car production with plans to launch an electric driverless minivan by 2020.
Of course, they could all be barking up the wrong tree.

But, carmakers are worried. If we’re still buying cars as we know them in 20 years’ time, will car makers or software companies be in the driving seat? Who will be working for who?
They shouldn’t be the only ones. Construction is not immune. A high proportion of the value of tomorrow’s executive home is likely to be in its software too. This isn’t futurology or science fiction. A lot of it is here now.

Welcome home is taking on a new meaning as the oven starts cooking and the house and relevant rooms wake up with selected light, heat and music as they anticipate and recognise the arrival of each member of the returning family.

For those of us without the eye-watering R&D budgets of Apple and Google, or the genius of Eberhard, the key is to keep our eyes fixed firmly on what we can see and know. That means understanding who our customers are and what they want. We need to be in tune with their changing needs and adapt quickly to what our markets demand. Be alert, agile and adapt quickly to future proof your business in the 21st century.

Want to future-proof your business? Call Tom Rigby, Business Development Manager, on 01453 521621 or email tom@mra-marketing.com.

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