It’s time to look ahead: 2022 is almost upon us. 2021 has been another brutal year with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, sadly, there’s no end in sight — but that surely means we must fight even harder to pursue our goals and thrive despite challenging conditions. That means doing what we can to hit the ground running when January arrives.
And if you’re running a business, your top priority should be plotting a 12-month path to success that will incrementally yield results as you advance towards 2023. To do this, you need to pay close attention to the trends that have emerged in recent months and years. Changes in the business world herald what’s coming, and identifying them will empower you to bolster your company with some degree of future-proofing.
In this post, we’re going to cover some tips for discerning notable trends and make some key suggestions for making your business ready for the coming years. Let’s get started.
Carry out in-depth competitor research
The best way to gauge industry commonalities is to look closely at what your competitors are doing (and have been doing). How are they marketing their wares? How are they tweaking their value propositions? How are they changing their corporate structures (by going green, perhaps)? By considering these things as you gauge success, you can see which tactics are working and which are falling flat.
You should research everything from their product prices to their business partnerships. If you find any moves that seem extremely strange, put additional effort into figuring them out: such moves often stem from early observations of significant trends. If you can pick through the actions to determine what prompted them, you can act accordingly.
Pay close attention to social media activity
Social media trends are often ephemeral, but that’s at the top level. Once you look below the surface, you start to see the underlying trends that give rise to the hashtags and memes — and those trends move slowly, gathering up momentum until they suddenly break out. Spending time on social media (provided you focus on observing rather than contributing) can be fruitful.
Take note of what influential figures in relevant industries are saying. Check for recurring themes in their posts. Are there certain pieces of advice they keep stressing? You can take a handful of comments with a pinch of salt, but if numerous experts known for doing work in your industry start making the same recommendations, you should listen to them.
Optimize your everyday processes
Efficiency is essential for long-term business success, so a big part of future-proofing involves trimming the fat (so to speak). You should look at everything you do on a daily/weekly basis and think about how you can make it better. What admin tasks do you need to cover? The more time you free up, the more capable you’ll be of keeping up with trends.
Software will likely be the key to making big improvements, whether you’re investing in recurring invoice tools to make receiving payments easier or allowing your employees to manage their experiences without needing you to get personally involved by deploying an HR portal. And if you spot any obvious roadblocks, clear them. Functional minimalism is the way to go.
Commit time and effort to experimentation
Lastly, it’s vital to remember that simply following trends will never allow you to future-proof your business. You also need to get ahead of trends, and to do that you need to take creative and operational risks. Try new things. Roll out unproven tools to see if they’re worthwhile. Zig where everyone is zagging. Do what you can to stand out.
When your tactics work, they’ll give you an edge over the competition. When they don’t, they’ll give you valuable learning experiences — and something isn’t a true mistake if you manage to learn from it. Do these things and you’ll have a great start to 2022.
We’ve given you four great ways to identify trends and future-proof your business. Now it’s over to you to put our advice into action.