12 Tips to Future-Proof Your Business in Today’s Uncertain World

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone’s editors or publishers.

In business, often the only thing that is certain is uncertainty. You never know if your product will sell or if you will make enough money to last another year or if being an entrepreneur is really your true calling.

While no one can predict what tomorrow will bring, there are ways to ensure that your business will remain successful no matter what tomorrow brings. Below, a panel of Rolling Stone Culture Council members offer their top tips for “futureproofing” your business and how those tips will help keep your business safe.

Establish an agile organizational design

“SurThrival” requires adaptation and transformation. There are opportunities in the crisis. One of the keys is to establish an agile organizational design to better withstand inevitable disruptions. Don’t wait for a crisis to arise – or end – to figure out how to pivot and move a business forward. Develop anticipatory action strategies to deal with new challenges to emerge from the disruption stronger than before. – Merilee Kern, The Luxury List

Study beyond your industry

I study industry news and participate in discussions that seem to have nothing to do with my job. I’m often amazed at the nuggets of useful information I extract to apply to my business or work plans. The world is so interconnected that security, technology, supply chain issues, and consumer sentiment reflected in a completely different industry will tell you how to maneuver in yours. Look outward. – Dale Sky Jones, University of Oaksterdam

Leverage Scenario Planning

I use scenario planning, which is a business exercise in which you imagine several possible futures at the macro level, then strategize how your business will look and function in each given scenario. By strategizing about possible macro trends before they happen, you will have action plans in place to prepare for success in potential scenarios. Entrepreneurs should prepare for all possible outcomes. –Jessica Billingsley, Akerna

Focus on cash flow

Limit reliance on debt and focus on cash flow. There’s only ever been one reason companies went out of business, and that’s because they ran out of cash. All other problems can be reduced to “lack of money”. So know your burnout rate, build as much reserve as you can, and make contingency plans for when things don’t go your way, because they never do. –Kevin McGee, Anderson Valley Brewing Company

The Rolling Stone Culture Council is an invitation-only community for influencers, innovators and creatives. Am I eligible?

Listen to your customers

Stay tuned to your customers and their feedback. They help you compose your “secret sauce” and with their feedback you can continue to improve your products, services and business and retain them as lifelong customers as well as gain new ones. – Vanessa Gabriel, direct delivery

Foster a flexible mindset

Prophesying about the strength and durability of your business is a lost art. However, one factor to consider is maintaining an agile stance, allowing you to adjust your strategies and tactics as the terrain or environment changes. One aspect of this is fostering a flexible mindset for your team. They have to take in new information, apply it, let it go, and then let in new ideas. – Jahan Marcu, Marcu & Arora

Hire the best team possible

I think the only real way to “sustain” is to hire and retain the best team possible. When the unexpected happens, when a business needs to pivot, when things seem doomed, your team must come together and overcome the impossible. If you get the right team together and build trust in the face of adversity, you can solve any crisis. – Danny Gold, ZolTrain

Build your brand online

You need to build your brand online. There are several ways to do this, but the most important is to grow your Google search results with organic articles and build awareness of your brand online. It’s a must if you want to do it in the next era. – Christian Anderson (Trust’N), Lost Boy Entertainment LLC

Bend without breaking

Be careful when future-proofing your business because it’s easy to get stuck in the past. Time, technology and trends will always change; to be a competitor you have to do the same. The secret to durability is to be adaptable and flexible, and to bend, but never break. Don’t be afraid to change your methods, approaches or processes and pay attention to the factors that influence your environment. – David Castain, David Castain & Associates

Prioritize diversity

Make sure you have a diverse team from different generations and backgrounds and that your team feels comfortable addressing leadership. Each will have a unique pulse on trends in their community, allowing your organization to better anticipate what may happen, for better or for worse. It also builds trust when team members at all levels feel they can contribute to these conversations. – Lisa Buffo, Cannabis Marketing Association

Stay informed of trends

The best way to “future” a business is to stay ahead of the competition by staying informed of current and upcoming trends. By doing so, you will always have your finger on what is going on in society and be able to predict the direction things will take. – Thomas Bresadola, Entertainment Simplified

Always invest in your brands

Understand the changing needs of your customers. Stay on top of the latest trends, listen to customer pain points, and deliver quality products and services that meet their needs. Finally, and above all, never stop investing in your brands! Price will always be a key purchase criterion, but after that there is trust and familiarity, which are the building blocks of brands. – Brad Canario, Auxly

About Dianne Stinson

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