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FutureStarrHow to change with the times: A guide for businesses
The internet has sped everything up to lightning speeds that can feel impossible for businesses and their leaders to keep up with. The moment you feel like you might finally get a handle on the latest trends, they change again. Playing catchup is a way to keep your head afloat, but it isn't how you drive your business forward or make waves in your industry.
Both changing with the times and leading with the times require vision, research, and a great team that all work towards bringing the business forward. Adaptability is great, but you also need to be a changemaker. Learning how to identify key opportunities means having a greater understanding of the situation at hand.
One person cannot do it all on their own, but great leadership can make a massive difference in paving the way towards excellence. Business leaders and owners need to create a thriving culture that relies on research and data to make smarter, more informed decisions from today onwards.
To be a leader, you need more than simple delegation skills. You need to be an innovator, and one of the best ways to do that is to invest in your research skills. If you have a very specific, daunting project in mind that could help your business take off in a whole new direction but have no idea where or how to start, then one of the best moves forward may be to earn a doctor of business administration. Doctorates like these are designed for executives or future executives and work to help you design, research, and deliver impactful research that makes a difference. You will be taught how to investigate and research and then guided through that specific project with the help of a supervisor or supervisors, depending on how multi-disciplinary your project scope is.
Choosing a project that has immediate ramifications for your business can help you tackle two birds with one stone. You can build up the skills that will help you continuously push the envelope of what your business is and what is possible while also bringing a project to life.
Data collection will make a massive difference when it comes to driving your business forward. Unfortunately, many businesses are simply not prepared. They may not be collecting the right information, or they might not be using their data effectively. There are also privacy and legal issues that may complicate issues of data collection.
You need to know what your customers are doing, what they prefer, and what they need. If you cannot get that information from their activity alone, then reach out directly. You can do this with a quiz that offers a reward (for example, a 10% off coupon). You can even do it on social media and boost your engagement in the process. You can do polls, ask questions, and more on social media and get a huge response. Use those answers to help you make better decisions in the future.
The data you need doesn't just extend to your customer base. You need to really understand your market. The good news is that there are many companies out there that focus solely on research. Their reports can be expensive, yes, but they are more than worthwhile and can help you prepare for future trends and better serve your customers all at once.
Collecting data and organizing data doesn't mean anything unless you can also organize and understand the data at hand. The good news is that machine learning and artificial intelligence have now become the norm, to the point where even small businesses can use these tools to a certain extent.
The human brain cannot process and understand large, unorganized datasets. They are not wired that way. Having a program automatically sorts and even analyze the data can improve your business's ability to understand and react to the data accordingly.
Using programs can help you understand the nuance. It can be easy to see that a certain marketing campaign brought in a lot of sign-ups and even sales, but it can be harder to understand why. Understanding why is essential to help you recreate that magic in the future.
Social issues move forward faster than almost anything else and then explode. It is your job as a business leader to ensure that your company offers a safe and comfortable space to work and that you are doing your best to cater to your customers and their needs. Though it can always be difficult to create standards when every person is unique in their own way there are simple ways to ensure that your company continues to treat its employees and customers with the respect they deserve.
This is great for PR, and it is great when it comes to keeping your company at the forefront of your field.
The best news is that technology, machine learning, and even AI can do a lot to customize a unique approach for the individual customer and employee.
Staying on top of the latest social issues and the ever-evolving best practices can be daunting, but just know a great way to avoid issues is to offer personalization. This is great for data collection as well and can help you develop a deeper understanding of everyone who interacts with your company.
Offer personalization options like pronouns, titles, names, what newsletters and emails customers want, and more can improve your relationship with each customer while staying respectful.
A great example to follow is Etsy and its take on Mother's/Father's day email marketing. There are so many reasons why these emails may not be of interest to or appropriate to send. By offering the option to opt out in advance, Etsy is giving its customers the ability a choice. Choice is the best that you can do.