2021 is set to bring some big and unexpected changes to the world of business. Here’s how your business can adapt rapidly and sustainably to these changes.
“The only constant in life is change.”—Heraclitus
It is an understatement to say that the business game has changed in the era of COVID-19.
Some companies who reacted quickly when the pandemic struck in early 2020 were able to stay afloat. Others didn’t enjoy the same fortunate fate. Data from Yelp showed that by Q3 in 2020, 97,966 of their listed US businesses had closed their doors.
Businesses across the globe have had to implement rapid and drastic changes to adapt to the proverbial ‘new normal’ the coronavirus has brought about.
The traditional way of conducting business is officially outdated as uncertainties multiply and enterprises vie for their share of an increasingly unpredictable marketplace.
Homes are now the new offices, with millions of workers around the world now working remotely. Freelance work is becoming increasingly commonplace, and eCommerce is quickly taking over from traditional land-based commercial operations.
Throw in new data networks, the advent of automation, and the evolving needs of customers, and you have a business environment that is set to change drastically in 2021 and beyond. Your business needs to adapt to these changes rapidly and efficiently to survive.
Here’s how to adapt your enterprise to these changes, and why it’s vitally important.
Why Your Business Must Adapt in 2021
The level of competition in the business world is stiff, to say the least. This dynamic, constantly changing environment will always favor companies who’ll do what it takes to remain competitive, relevant, and fresh in the eyes of their target markets.
Your business needs to adapt to industry changes to:
- Remain competitive. You might already have noticed that Fortune-500 listed companies have one key factor in common. They respond proactively to change. Adapting to changes will allow your business to keep up to date with the latest industry developments and accurately predict the future needs and demands of your customers.
- Meet customers’ needs. Your customers likely have ever-changing needs, and the pandemic will have added even more complexity to the matter. You need to understand the needs of your target audience to produce a product that consistently meets their expectations. If you fail to do so, they might well take their business elsewhere.
- Weather harsh economic tides. The global economy is set to experience a record-breaking recession in 2021, and your customers will likely have tight budgets and limited spending power. Adapting to economic changes will ensure that you can capture your share of the market, offer your customers products they want and need, and ensure that your pricing is in line with their budgets to preserve your bottom lines.
- Capitalize on new opportunities. Changes bring opportunities—but if your business fails to adapt, its ability to take advantage of them becomes limited.
- Expand and grow. Innovation is the key to adapting creatively to unexpected changes. Your customers will always appreciate your innovative and smart adaptations to new issues, and this approach may well see you rewarded with more business and new customers too.
How to Adapt to Rapid Market Changes
Adapting to major changes in your market or industry is never easy, but it’s crucial for your business’s survival, especially right now.
Here are some actionable steps you can take to adapt your enterprise seamlessly to the changes and challenges that lie ahead.
- Guide and Support Your Employees
Uncertainty and switching from old processes to new ones can leave your employees feeling uncomfortable and hesitant in their positions.
You can assist them to step out of their comfort zones and embrace organizational changes by guiding them and explaining exactly why the changes are necessary. Create an environment that motivates them for adapting quickly and efficiently, and reward them for positive steps in the right direction.
- Embrace New Technologies
New technology can save your company time, money, and hassle. Adopting futuristic technologies is also crucial to stay abreast of changing trends in your industry.
Whether it’s VoIP, SEO, social media, no-contact online payment systems or anything in between, tech can give you the edge you’ve been looking for.
- Maintain a Steady Pace
Major business changes cannot be put into action within a slow, stagnant work environment. Your company needs to pick up the pace if it wants to stay ahead and react proactively to changes in the industry.
Encourage your employees to increase their productivity and collaboration, and reward them accordingly. You can also use automated, cloud-based technologies to streamline your operations and supply chain processes to enhance your business’s overall efficiency and output.
- Train Your Staff Properly
Each of your employees has different needs when it comes to training, and when you are implementing changes, you will need to take this into account. You can opt for in-house training, or you can enlist a PEO or other third party company to assist in this area.
All employees within your organization need training when major changes occur.
This will ensure that they can adapt to changes as quickly as possible and work efficiently post-training while minimizing their own margins of error. If you are adding new technology to your operations, remember to train your staff on how to use it and to provide continuous support after training, should they require it.
- Expect the Unexpected
Uncertainty is a fact of business. The economy, sector, or demand for your product can change at any time. Your only real course of action in these scenarios is to enact adaptive changes as quickly as possible.
Entrepreneurs should always have a plan of action in case of unfavorable and unexpected developments. You need to be able to get the job done and continue operations to the best of your ability, come rain or shine.
- Learn From Your Failings
Enacting widespread changes within your business may not always go according to plan, despite your best intentions. Sometimes, things will go wrong, and in this case, your best course of action is to welcome your failures as opportunities to learn.
If you can perfect this approach, you can use these valuable lessons as a future guide to making more sustainable, educated changes.
- Encourage Accountability
Your ultimate goal when making changes within your business is to enact positive developments and avoid negative outcomes. You need to track your changes and their outcomes to ensure that your actions are having the intended effect.
Ensure that your staff members are clear on their responsibilities and foster an ethos of accountability. If your changes are not having the desired effects, revise your strategy regularly until you find the unique adaptations that will help your business to succeed.
Flexibility is the key to maintaining profitable business operations in 2021.
There are plenty of changes on the horizon—some expected and others unpredictable—that you and your employees will need to adapt innovatively to in order to stay afloat.
You can help to ensure the survival of your enterprise by adopting new technology, providing sufficient training for your staff, and being willing to think out of the box when new challenges raise their heads.
Kelly Lowe is a passionate writer and editor with a penchant for topics covering business and entrepreneurship. When she’s not tapping away at her keyboard writing articles, she spends her free time either trying out different no-bake recipes or immersing herself in a good book.