The business world has always faced an unpredictable future. Business have to be prepared for anything from sudden pandemics to the rise of ecommerce, new payment trends, or the growing service economy. How Prepared is Your Business for an Unpredictable Future? Here are a few areas of business preparedness to help you get started.
Preparing Your Business for an Unpredictable Future
In ancient times farmers had no idea how much the next harvest would yield. The industrial revolution led to a new period of innovation that came with labor strikes, supply chain fluctuations, and other worrisome instability. In recent decades the technological boom has created a churning sense of continual change. Perpetual improvement and modernization have led to an ever-evolving cycle of adaptation.
Now, with a global pandemic receding in the rearview mirror, the world has entered a new phase of volatility. The unpredictability of what has been dubbed the “new normal” has made traditional business preparation more essential than ever before. Here are a few areas of business preparedness that you should reevaluate as you lead your company into the precarious, insecure, and unknown future.
Traditional disaster management has revolved around things like fires, floods, and other natural calamities. However, in the modern world, the definition of “disaster” has been dramatically expanded to include things like:
- Cataclysmic events: An increase in wind storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural catastrophes has made this an important area to prepare for.
- Technological failures: Everything from hardware malfunctions to cybersecurity threats must be guarded against in an era driven by technology.
- Pandemics: After 2020, the concept of a global pandemic and the ensuing quarantines and economic turmoil get their own disaster preparedness category.
- Human threats: Everything from rioting mobs to burglary by night must be considered and guarded against.
Good Continuity Plans
On the one hand, it’s difficult to know which of these potential dangers your business is going to face. On the other hand, it’s equally challenging to thoroughly prepare for every one. This is why you must create a thorough continuity plan for your particular organization. A good continuity plan takes into account your unique circumstances and helps you guard against the most likely threats that you can face. At the same time, it also helps to generally keep your organization ready to respond to any kind of emergency, whether it was foreseen or not.
Build a Quality Continuity Plan
Create a business continuity plan with quality in mind shouldn’t be overwhelming. However, you must take the time to think things through thoroughly using these steps:
- Gather an emergency preparedness team of knowledgeable members of your staff to create and carry out your plan in the event of an emergency.
- Consider what threats are most likely for your organization and how you can contain them if they take place.
- Identify key areas of business that must be maintained even when a catastrophe strikes.
- Outline what activities must continue to function during an emergency and then take steps to prepare for each item.
- Review and update your plan regularly.
By having a continuity plan in place, you keep your staff mentally and physically equipped to handle a plethora of different dangers if they arise.
Of course, you want your business to do more than survive the future. It’s also wise to create an action plan to help it thrive. An action plan considers your company’s strategy and vision. It also identifies your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (something known as a SWOT analysis) to consider how you can achieve your vision.
Action plans are a critical part of healthy business process management (BPM). BPM tends to evolve. For instance, while it uses to focus heavily on things like efficiency and productivity, modern BPM has come to prioritize the customer experience as well. Regardless of your BPM focus, having an action plan can help you stay abreast of trends and industry evolution.
For example, traditional supply chain management has seen a dramatic shift during the rise of e-commerce. Classically, businesses maintained fairly stable quantities of stock as they fielded orders from brick-and-mortar retailers. Now, thanks to the rise of e-commerce, the science of supply chain management has become strained under a less predictable flow of online orders. Fortunately, innovative businesses have found ways to use apps and data sharing to track supply and demand and even create greater transparency. They have also utilized automation to reduce operational costs and help adapt to the shifting need of online shoppers.
Whether it’s supply chain management, marketing, back-office activity, or any other aspect of your organizational structure, these trends can be successfully introduced into your business through a flexible, updated action plan. Even though Covid has shifted Business Process Management, this can help you keep your BPM efforts fresh and capable of handling the latest changes, no matter how unpredictable they may be.
Preparing for an Uncertain Future
If the Covid-19 crisis has taught us one thing, it’s that the future is anything but certain. This has left businesses with two critical responsibilities if they want to succeed moving forward. First, they must create a thorough continuity plan as a protection against future catastrophe. Second, they must maintain a cutting-edge action plan that incorporates developing trends and industry evolutions into their business process management efforts.
The first is a survival activity focused on preservation and a healthy response to danger. The second is a thriving activity that helps you proactively improve to stay ahead of the tides of change. Taking this preventive action using a quality continuity plan and an updated action plan can help your organization remain healthy and whole no matter what the future has to offer.