As if they weren’t busy enough already, business owners need to work tirelessly to ensure the ongoing success of their companies. There isn’t a moment to spare when they need to identify trends, meet customer expectations, and improve their bottom line. To help business owners save time, we have identified four steps you need to take now to pave the way for continued success in your business.
One of the biggest business trends for 2017 is embracing Millennials. While Millennials may be getting a bad rap for not having a strong work ethic, the truth is that they work differently than Baby Boomers; business owners need to understand Millennials work differently in order to embrace their creativity and innovative ideas and take advantage of their new ideas and contributions to their teams. More Millennials will be entering and taking over the job force in 2017, and business owners need to be prepared to make room for them.
While you are making room for Millennials, you may identify other personnel areas that need to be restructured to make better use of people’s talents and remove unproductive people from leadership roles. Involve your HR team and utilize employee reviews when making personnel changes.
It’s also a good time to take a look at your executive board and consider applicants’ qualifications and the number of minorities you have in leadership roles. When you place people with varying perspectives in board rooms, you positively impact decision-making. Trends show that more women are being appointed to boards now than they were three years ago, and diversity in boardrooms is more than just a passing fad.
Another way to prepare your business for continued success is to plan for onboarding and training remote workers. Trends show that more than one-third of business leaders believe their company’s full-time workforce will be working remotely by 2020, and a quarter say more than 75% of their full-time workforce will not work in traditional offices by then. Remote work is another area of business being affected by Millennials, who value flexibility in the workplace.
Whether you’re the scrappy owner of a housecleaning business where you’re the boss and only employee or a vegan cupcake baker with a brick and mortar store, charging the right amount for the service you provide is vital. Say you’re that scrappy housecleaner. Have you taken into account your costs for cleaning supplies? Or when setting a price do you factor in the time you spend driving to your client’s home or business? If you’re that cupcake baker, are you including a small chunk of your space’s rent cost in each cupcake? Then, of course, you must consider what your specific market will bear. There are a few different means for pricing products. Research them to figure out which is the best to use when pricing the services or products you provide.
Companies that embrace technology gain a competitive edge, especially as consumers expect to be able to search, get help, and order using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Consumers also expect to interact with companies seamlessly as they move from their smartphone to their tablet to their laptop and so forth. You will need a plan for engaging with customers via social media and interacting with them using the latest technology. You’ll need to be prepared for an even larger boom in ecommerce and decide if you are going to get on board with the augmented reality trend that’s popped up recently. Meeting with your marketing and IT leaders to establish your short- and long-term technology goals should be among your top priorities if you haven’t already.
Oh, and one absolute must as far as technology? Make sure you have a solid point of sale system. Especially since most people choose to pay with a debit or credit card these days.
You don’t want to miss out on a transaction because you have a cash-only rule.
The Millennial generation now outnumbers the Baby Boomers, and that means that your customer service needs to be ready to serve the new generation in the way they want to be served. After all, customer satisfaction is the key to customer retention and, as a result, a healthy bottom line. Millennials are soon going to surpass the purchasing power of the Baby Boomers in terms of consumer dollars, and they are becoming the decision-makers at companies, so you will need to make sure that your B2B and B2C customer service is prepared to serve Millennials on both sides of the aisle.
To make sure you are meeting your Millennial customers’ needs, you’ll need to ensure that your customer-facing technology is intuitive and in working order, that you have accounted for a social experience when it comes to purchasing decisions, and that you offer self-service options. Meeting Millennials’ expectations regarding customer service is key, as they are much more likely to share a poor experience with a company on social media than they are to share a positive experience.
The best way to lay a foundation of success for your business is to identify trends that will affect your business and that your competitors are addressing so that you can gain a competitive edge, meet customer expectations, and maintain a healthy bottom line.