From breakthrough technology solutions, to a tighter labor market, to all sorts of surprising competition, our industry is experiencing a period of unprecedented change. Many of these changes have such a dramatic impact on familiar business practices and environments that they’re referred to as “disruptive.”
While it can be difficult for businesses like yours just to stay on top of these changes, it’s critical to be open to transformations if your long-term plan is to remain in business for your clients and your own compensation. Keeping up with innovation is not a one-shot effort. The businesses that thrive in coming years will be those embrace change and position themselves for constant adaptations. What are some of the ways in which your organization can prepare for disruption?
Staffing. As technology assumes more of the lower-level work, the staffing structure of organizations in our industry is likely to see a greater emphasis on what’s now seen as mid-level and professional roles. That emphasis on technology may also create a need for employees who are focused primarily on developing, managing, and leveraging technology resources for the business to better serve its clients, supporting the more traditional work of the company’s professionals.
As personal relationships become increasingly important in both landing and retaining clients, companies will increasingly look to add professionals and other staff members who are adept at networking in person and through social networks. If current staff members lack those skills, bringing in new people may provide an affordable approach.
Training. If your team is going to stay ahead of the factors that are disrupting the industry, they’ll need to acquire new knowledge and skills. That’s particularly true for professionals who are in the middle or twilight of their careers, and who may be apprehensive about changes to what they’ve done for years. In addition to sending staff to industry conferences and workshops, it may be advantageous to contract with trainers to provide instruction and support in your offices.
Technology. Given that so many of the potential disruptors involve technology, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that businesses will find themselves making substantial investments in the sector. The industry continues to move toward a cloud environment, which offers businesses notable advantages, including improved collaboration, scalability, and less in-house system maintenance. However, shifting operations from your own network to a cloud environment may carry costs. In addition, as your business becomes increasingly reliant on online operations, you’ll need to ensure that your internet security is robust enough to stand up to the newest threats.
Marketing. In the ever-more-competitive marketplace, promoting your business will become even more critical. Getting the word out in the most effective ways is likely to require additional investments in multiple marketing channels. Fortunately, the growth of digital marketing is making it easier to develop highly targeted and trackable approaches for building your business. Unfortunately, success with these tools requires additional knowledge and expertise that your internal team may not have, so you’ll need to invest in people and companies that can help you make the connections you need.
Adequate working capital? Many of the elements described here, from technology to training, will require at least some capital to support them. Having a strong base of working capital gives businesses a way to invest in those changes without having a negative impact on other aspects of operations.
If your business doesn’t already have excess working capital for investment, you may want to consider obtaining a working capital loan. Such a loan can be used for the specific needs facing your business, whether it’s to fund a new initiative, invest in a marketing strategy, upgrade technology, create training programs, add to your staff, update your current space, or any combination of those and other plans. A loan that’s structured to be funded from future cash flows can offer an affordable alternative to traditional funding sources.