In order to thrive in the long run, it is imperative to try and predict future changes. Now, this does not mean you need to be able to literally see the future! Instead, it means gathering data so that you can see trends – and, using these trends to anticipate and plan for likely changes – allowing your business to be adaptable to what the future brings.
Here are just a few key elements to consider to help you to plan for the long-term future of your business.
One of the most impactful factors to be aware of is, of course, the economic climate.
Businesses can be mindful of the economy, and how it might impact their business, by utilising the economic calendar. The economic calendar shows global events, currency trends, exchange rates, and other updates of this nature.
The simple layout of the economic calendar allows users to filter the data by importance, country, or time, to name a few, which can help business owners to make more informed decisions by tracking forecasts and staying up to date with trading news.
The way that you personally use the economic calendar depends on your needs and requirements. For example, for immediate decisions you can look at the economic calendar this week – or, for long-term decisions, you might look at forecasts for the financial year.
You can also keep track of the economies of other countries that you trade with, or the market for valuable materials like gold and oil. This is particularly important for businesses with international consumers, traders, and investors.
In addition to this, the economic calendar can also provide useful insight into consumer trends – and, there are several other ways you might anticipate changes in consumer demand.
Changes to consumer demand
The ways in which consumers make purchasing decisions are ever changing – especially in the fast-paced and ever-fluctuating modern day. With many events that have changed consumer priorities and perspectives forever, modern consumers are entirely unique to consumers of the past.
So, what is it that consumers actually want from a brand?
Due to the context in which we live, Forbes reports that 82% of consumers want a brand whose values align with their own, to the extent that 55% would pay more for products that are sustainable.
In addition, 57% of consumers would be more loyal to brands that are committed to – and evidence through action – addressing inequities and inequalities in society.
How consumers interact with a business
In the age of technology, it might go without saying that the way consumers interact with a business is shifting. This goes for both how and where consumers make their purchases, and how consumers get in touch with a business.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 25% of all retail sales are completed online in 2023, compared with just 2.8% in 2006.
By looking at this trend, businesses can predict that it is likely online shopping will continue to increase in popularity, gradually grasping more of a ratio of total retail sales in the future.
Insights like this show that shifting towards e-commerce – or, at least offering some kind of online solution – will help to future-proof a brand, and allow it more of a chance to thrive in the long-term.
But, this is not the only area in which businesses need to be more online-friendly. Statistics from Statista highlight that, although 42% of consumers prefer to contact customer services on the phone, digital channels are very close behind with 38% of the votes.
With this in mind, businesses might consider moving some of their customer service offerings online, investing in their social media presence, live chat services, or even WhatsApp messaging.
In addition, with the looming PSTN switch off in 2025, even a business’ telephony can become more digital. In order to not get caught out by the traditional phone lines becoming defunct, switching to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) can help to future-proof your customer service offerings.
Not to mention, many VoIP provisions are hosted in the cloud, meaning they can be accessed from anywhere, on any device. So, when technology inevitably becomes more innovative, you merely have to replace your hardware, as opposed to physical infrastructure.
With these things in mind, you’ll hopefully be able to make more informed and impactful decisions to help boost the chances of the long-term success of your business.