Future First: 6 Ways Businesses Will Need to Evolve in the Next Decade

Business.com / Starting a Business / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Here are six of the major evolutions I foresee being necessary for modern businesses to remain efficient, competitive, and profitable.

We’re at an interesting point in the business community.

Resources are more plentiful than ever for entrepreneurs, including knowledge and information for how to start a business, social media, and content platforms to generate visibility from scratch, and even financial opportunities like crowdfunding to help any business get off the ground.

Existing businesses, too, are being forced to adapt to these new technologies, putting traditional businesses in uncomfortable straits and forcing major corporations to pivot faster than they’re used to.

Complicating matters is the Millennial generation, whose familiarity with technology, a penchant for job hopping, and starkly differentiated workplace values are forcing workplaces to change.

Between these new technologies and generational trends, businesses are going to have to evolve in a number of ways over the course of the next decade if they want to survive.

These are just six of the major evolutions I foresee being necessary for modern businesses to remain efficient, competitive, and profitable, appealing to workers and consumers alike:

Related Article:Internet of Things: Security, Compliance, Risks and Opportunities

1. Remote Offices

Not every business will be able to survive without some kind of office environment, but the vast majority of jobs will soon be capable of completion from employees in remote locations. Communications technologies have already developed to the point where face-to-face and group conversations are possible without physical proximity, and they’re only going to get more sophisticated from here.

There’s evidence to suggest that remote work leads to more productivity than office work, and opening up your hiring circle to beyond your geographic limits means finding better fits for your team. Combine that with your savings on rent and utilities, and it’s hard to find a reason to maintain old office structures.

2. Better Meetings

For decades, workers have felt the pain of unproductive, unnecessary and overlong meetings. They force interruptions to your work schedule, often go unplanned, and wind up solving few of the problems they were meant to. Modern technology means there’s no longer any excuse for these time-wasting drawbacks to continue to exist.

We have digital note-taking software and online calendars to make sure our meetings are planned properly, and a wide range of communication tools so that we always have the perfect option for conversation, whether that’s a text, a call, or a video chat. Our options are limitless, so let’s start tapping into them.

Related Article:Remote vs. In-Office Workers: Which Employee Is Actually Better?

3. More Data

People have been sensationalizing the concept of “big data” for years now, but it’s true that we’re in the middle of a data revolution. We’re able to gather, store, and analyze data in ways we couldn’t have even dreamed about just a few decades ago, and the emergence of more sophisticated data visualization platforms is going to make this even more accessible for modern businesses.

It’s going to be possible for businesses to survive without this data, as they have in the past until enough businesses catch on that it starts to become a competitive necessity. Get in early if you want to be on the right side of the competitive edge.

4. Higher Personalization

Everything in the tech world is on a path to become more personalized, from search results to news feeds. Soon, your business is going to have to adapt. For the most part, it’s going to come down to your marketing and advertising campaigns, delivering just the right content and just the right ads to the individuals within your audience, possibly by leveraging the power of big data at the same time.

But you’ll also need to adopt more personalized approaches in your customer service department if you want to keep up with the competition. 

5. Faster Integration of Technology

Technology develops at an exponential rate, which means the progression of technological development is actively increasing. For many businesses, this rate of acceleration is already too fast ask around, and you’ll probably find at least a few businesses in your area still using fax machines to transmit data.

If you want to survive and remain competitive while maximizing your team’s efficiency, you’re going to have to learn to adopt new technology at a faster rate. That might mean investing more in IT resources, or integrating new training programs for your staff, but make sure your entire workforce is ready and willing to adapt to the changes that are coming.

Related Article:Distractions Be Gone: 5 Ways to Make Working Remotely Work for You

6. Liquid Paths of Adaptation

All of these changes in technology are going to be reflected in the cultural and behavioral trends of consumers in the future. Faster tech developments and more diverse forms of communication means people will be living lives at a faster pace, with needs and wants that change at a similarly faster pace.

They’re going to keep your business on its toes, especially if you’re in a tech-related industry. Businesses, a decade from now, will need to prepare for these rapidly shifting consumer trends, and be ready to adapt their business plans at a moment’s notice.

These are broad paths of evolution, and they don’t need to happen overnight. Smaller businesses can start adopting these qualities quickly and immediately, and emerging startups can build these features into their businesses, but major corporations will have to be more gradual with their paths of adoption.

As technologies continue to evolve in sophistication and availability, these features will become increasingly necessary, but increasingly easier to incorporate. Just remember the bottom line for all these changes is efficiency increasing your public and internal appeal while maximizing your potential profits. 

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