How to future-proof your small business post-pandemic

Hand writing Future Proof with marker business concept

It’s almost impossible to pull your head up high enough to see beyond the masks and hysteria of COVID-19, let alone what the future holds for businesses in Australia.

Of course, things will get better. The ashes will rise and a new age of stronger organisations will emerge.

But if you’re a small-business owner like me, you’re likely asking yourself: what do I need to do today, to ensure my company stays ahead of the game?

As a future enthusiast, I’ve collated a list of things that I think all small businesses should be doing to ensure they are future-proofed post-pandemic.

1. Be on a first-name basis with your customers

You don’t need to know everything about your customers, but you need to know enough so that they’ll answer the call when you come.

In order to get on a first-name basis, you need to be extremely customer-centric. Everything you do must consider their values, motivations and desires. Their perspective must be considered in all decisions and everything you put out to market needs to provide value.

The pandemic has made it clear that businesses that think consumer-first and invest in purposeful products and services make it through adversity.

2. Think about you and your businesses adaptability in the worst-case scenario

Don’t treat your risk strategy as an afterthought. It’s not only flooding and theft that you need to worry about… global pandemics and cybercrime are becoming just as likely!

Since establishing Neon Treehouse, a useful exercise I like to do on a quarterly basis is brainstorm outlandish scenarios and assess them against our business strategy. It may sound ridiculous, but it keeps me on my toes and has had a positive influence on my crisis management abilities.

I also recommend paying attention to global economics, the news and current affairs. Sign up to a handful of reliable e-newsletters and read them during your lunch break.

Review your risk strategy regularly. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

3. People are everything, be ready to fight for your pack and stay true to your values

Whether your business is built around a service or a product, people are at the centre of what we do.

Future-proofing your organisation is not only about protecting your customer base and your income, it’s about shoring up your team. Hiring and nurturing specific personnel and establishing a healthy work culture that echoes your own values, will keep your business steady into the future.

If you don’t have a strong workplace foundation that includes these key elements, you may struggle to maintain what you’ve built.

You need to be privy to the changing needs and desires of your employees. Working from home is becoming the new normal and big-city offices are less desirable. Instead of putting money into a new on-site car park or contactless coffee machine, invest in the motivations and desires of your employees. How do they like to work? Do they feel supported? What are their career goals and aspirations? How can you help them get there?

Look out for your pack.