Succeeding in business is all about foresight. Your company can’t ever hope to succeed without a plan, and a plan can’t succeed without some degree of consideration about potential likelihoods in your business’ future. Any industry comes with its challenges, but no matter how professional or determined you and your team may be, failing to prepare for any possible eventuality is no better than preparing to fail. If you want to create a successful company which makes decisions on a smart, educated basis, then here are four tips for achieving foresight in any business environment.
Be the shepherd.
It’s tempting to “play it safe” in the business world, but sometimes playing things safely can be the riskiest decision a company makes. If you don’t take a chance and plunge into the dark, your business can never get ahead. You’ll always be behind your competitors, and fewer customers will mean less profit, along with the death of your organisation.
You don’t have to make irrational decisions and strive for big projects which your company can ill-afford to fund in its early days, but having the initiative and guts to do things differently to every other business within your industry might just turn heads in your target market and put you well ahead of the game. To gain customers, your brand has to stand out, and that means being brave enough to take a risk in that you market yourself differently to other companies.
See problems before they happen.
The mark of a business with foresight is one which foresees every potential problem a business might face. Trying to predict the most viable routes to success is one element of intelligent foresight in business, but you also need to be predicting potential obstacles which might block that very path to success. For example, seeing that a marketing campaign isn’t engaging your audience might be a sign that a certain product or service isn’t going to work.
Most importantly, safety hazards in the workplace are something you need to prevent. This goes without saying, but noticing that aspects of your office or warehouse environment are potentially unsafe after one of your employees has been injured is leaving things too late. Once lawsuits have been filed and your reputation has been tarnished, the damage has already been done; to the company as well as the employee. In terms of safety issues out of your control, you could look into a system for providing a mass emergency notification in the event of natural disasters and other such threats; this is especially important if the company employs remote workers or operates through numerous branches, as it’s vital that you don’t wait for emergencies to reach your door before you put preemptive measures in place to protect employees and resources.
Outline clear financial projections.
This is a self-explanatory point, but your business needs to have clear financial projections in order to stand any chance of success. If you don’t consider the future balance between costs and income, bankruptcy will follow. The mistake of poor planning or simply a failure to update a financial plan as elements and operations change within a business over time is often the main cause of failure for so many organisations. Don’t fall into that trap.
You need to realise what customers want before they tell you. That’s the key. The market is changing constantly, and you need to be analysing your potential audience continuously if you want to use foresight to market goods that you believe they’ll want. For example, fashion businesses might plan upcoming trends before they’re even trends. It’s about that element of staying ahead of the industry, as mentioned earlier on in the article. You need to surprise your target market by offering them something before they even realised they wanted it.