We are a few days away from 2022, and this is a critical time for businesses to plan and close off the year. By now, we would assume you have already conducted your 2021 review or are in the process of doing so. Since the pandemic, businesses across all sectors have to deal with rapid transformation to remain resilient and relevant. If you are among the businesses that are still struggling to adapt to the current business environment, hang in there. Lessons have been learned on the need to adapt and quickly respond to market changes, and now is the time to drive the required changes.
Even if your business performed well this year, there are even more successes to be recorded in the coming year if you prepare adequately. Let’s dive into some of the things to consider as you prepare for business in 2022.
The world has become so fast-paced; there is always something new and better being created. You can’t afford to be left behind; be the trendsetter. However, it is imperative to note that your idea doesn’t have to be the next big thing. It is about developing ideas that help you create better products for customers, improve your business operations and help you stay relevant. An out-of-the-box thinking strategy sets you apart from other businesses and helps you develop products that keep delighting your customers. Above all, it keeps your business relevant and prepared for the future.
Read more: 5 reasons why innovation is critical for business growth.
As you think of innovation, have it in mind that attracting good talent and good work culture is essential in bringing your innovative ideas to life. We explain more in the second point.
Create an Innovative Workplace
For innovation to happen in a workplace, it has to be supported by your employees; they are the backbone of your success. They have different skills, knowledge and experience that you can tap into to create an innovative workplace. Your ability to innovate as an organisation is directly linked to your ability to grow, stay relevant and quickly adapt to the changing times. Whether you are looking to create new products and services, meet changing customer needs or improve business processes, instilling an innovative culture in your workplace works out the magic for you. Make innovation a core value and encourage employees to give recommendations and suggestions, they might just have the best solutions that can transform your business. Your employees are also your biggest fans, they are the first people you should ask the hard questions about your businesses.
Read more: How to achieve innovation in the workplace.
Employee development is fundamental to organisational growth. Employees are your greatest assets and to instil in them a sense of attachment and loyalty; you need to invest in their career development. Employees go far and beyond to meet organisational goals, they need to be appreciated by empowering them with skills beneficial for their current and future assignments as well as for their personal development. The major benefit of investing in your employees’ development is to create a competitive and efficient workforce to meet the demands of the fast-evolving market. Having a team that is well equipped with relevant industry skills is important for attracting and retaining top talent which is useful for surviving the fierce market competition. If you don’t have a training programme in place and you would like to develop it, read this article on how to design and deliver an employee training programme.
Update Existing Technology
Technology is a critical part of any business in this day and age. Technologies have paved the way for organisations to increase productivity and ultimately achieve their business goals. Technologies like cloud computing, business communication tools, project management software and many others, have created opportunities for organisations to streamline their workflow and drastically improve operations. However, you might need to review your technology needs, eliminate the ones that are not fit for your business, and upgrade the relevant ones.
Ensure that you have qualified people to help with the technological needs of your business such as upgrades, installation or troubleshooting. If you do not have an IT department, you can outsource the services of a Chief Technology Officer to handle such tasks for you. Most importantly, your staff should be able to use the tech confidently and for its intended purposes. Ensure that your staff are adequately trained on how to use a particular technology and create an environment where they can freely ask for extra training whenever a need arises.
Develop a Customer-Centric Strategy
Customers are the heart of your business. The first reason that you exist is that you want to provide a solution for customers that they will buy into, and as you provide the solutions, you want to create more customers and retain them. Now, do you ensure that you are building solutions that meet customer needs?
A book by Gibbert et al (Five Styles of Consumer Knowledge Management and How Smart Companies Use Them To Create Value) helps us to answer this question. “Nowadays, organizations change their strategy from innovating for customers and innovating with customers to innovating by customers.
A thesis by Katsiaryna Archakova Olga Mazur from Gotland University explains that the concept of customer-driven innovations means that customers are involved in the innovation process and their ideas, suggestions and even complaints are considered as a driving force for innovations. The main feature is that a customer is a provider of the innovation or idea, regardless of the initiator of the cooperation between customer and company.
Developing a customer-centric strategy also includes offering effective customer support. When a customer presents a query, they want it sorted out quickly and promptly. Make it possible for customers to reach you on several channels and ensure that there is unified communication on all the various touchpoints.
Reexamine Your Product Vision and Product Strategy
This is the right time to ask the hard question: “As an organization, do we still exist for the same reasons and can we still achieve our vision using the same means?”
To answer this question, you need to reexamine your product vision and strategy.
Over time, you might realise that your product is no longer serving the purpose for which it was created and it is not meeting customer needs. If this is your case, then now is the time to take a second look at your product vision and strategy.
Don’t be afraid to change direction, keep adapting your product vision as you learn and always remember to focus on value for customers.
Related reading: How can you become a better technical product manager?
These are some of the things you can consider as you plan for the upcoming year. While this list may not be exhaustive, we hope that you have picked up a few things to help you start the year right.
We are here to help you explore these opportunities, consult with us.